Best lighting for elderly
Many lighting standards do not consider the needs of the elderly and are based on younger people in the 20 to 30 year age group. Increasing light is a safety measure toward safeguarding the independence of the elderly in their later years at their houses. Something which should be passionately done. Establishing good consultative relationships with the experienced science sector and frequent collaboration with the healthcare sector enable us to make better choices when we go for lookout to facilitate installation of lighting systems for our loved ones as they age. Scientific evaluations support our decisions.
Eyesight power reduction resulting from aging has consequences that far reach independence. The victims of eyesight tend to be very quick in becoming anxious and have increased insecurity feeling about moving around. Light cannot correct weakening eyesight, but when available ;compensates and helps restore self-confidence. Proper lighting helps prevent visual missteps and prevent falls. Sophisticated lighting design helps to strengthen the feeling of security and increases confidence of the people living in the house when moving about. Elderly people are free and enthusiastically manage to enjoy a more active involvement in their living environment. Below are some tips showing the better ways of designing lighting in house of the seniors. With a few adjustments, seniors are in good position to see better, afford a safe indoor and more independent lives.
How Seniors Eyes Change as They Age
Medical science has done a lot of research about the changes to that occur to the vision ability as people get older:
Colors distort – Anyone’s eye lenses begin to yellow and absorbs a higher amount of blue wavelength light, creating distorted colors. As people grow older, it becomes a great task for them to differentiate between Green and Blue and blues start to look gray?
Harder to focus – senior eye lenses will also harden and become more rigid, so the senior eyes don’t focus as quickly or accurately as they used to before and at younger age.
Less light gets in -senior eyes pupils get smaller and allows in less light. The older they are getting the more serious this problem becomes. By the time they reach 80, they need 6 times more light than as they were in their youth ages.
Light scatters – The eye corneas become more opaque and very minimal light is allowed in. This raises concern for better lighting in their residential areas. Fat deposits scatter the light, making it harder to recognize familiar objects.
Slower to adjust – eyes’ ciliary muscles weaken and an increased rigidity and hardening of the lens reduce their ability to focus and to adjust to different levels of light with ease.
How Much More Light do Elderly Eyes Need?
Elderly people need more light and are much more sensitive to glare. They therefore need plenty of lighting and as well shielded so as to manage the cases of glare.
17 Proven Lighting Improvements For Seniors
1. Seniors Need More cooler Lights
Using the incandescent lights in the house of the elderly, makes them uncomfortable because they are warmer lights. Cooler lights tend to be more bright. Installing the cooler light will help the elderly be In a position to read and differentiate different colors.
2. Use light with less contrast.
Eyes of an aging person have very low ability to manage a contrasting light and are very slow in detecting and adapting to changes in lighting. Ambient lighting is more safer when installed on areas such as stairways and hallway. Objects fixed within the living environment, causing contrast to the lighting may cause destruction and attract possibilities of accidents to the elderly. Lighting from outside might outdo the lighting inside the house in terms of brightness and this should be managed by installation of higher level illumination to reduce the struggle of the elderly to cope with light changes.
3. Elderly Need More Task Light
Dimmable pendants or chandeliers in the dining room are suitable for a delightful illumination to ease eating and other activities. Reading light controls should be fixed within areas where this seniors can afford to reach without struggling. Good lighting in areas such as kitchen helps easy preparation of meals.
4. Make Task Lighting as Adjustable as Possible
Availability of light intensity, location and direction adjustment options, to the elderly is an added advantage because they are able to perform their activities with ease. Installation of multiple bulbs can be more safer than using only a single bulb with high level of illumination.
5. Use Indoor Lighting That Mimics Nature’s Patterns
Considering installing a lighting devices that are auto in their functioning, That is, their brightness will always match the nature. Brighter during the day and deem and slight warm light in the evening. That pattern will help aid the Natural circadian rhythm.
6. Use Dimming Controls
Dimmers are nice for controlling the level of illumination depending on the time of the day following the high sensitivity of older people’s eyes to lighting.
7. Use scene controls
The automation of lighting control, whereby multiple bulbs can be controlled by a single object such as smart phone has been improvised and is there in the technology. Installing this modern lighting technology to the house of the elderly can be so comfortable for their stay. Availability of LED lights and LED dimmer lights makes it possible to adjust the color of lighting too. It might seem so expensive and time consuming to consider this option but once the environment is well lit, the comfort of living in there becomes something to admire.
8. Seniors Benefit From More Light
Due to the reduced power of the eyes of the aging people, there is need for increased lighting in their residence. This is to allow and help them maintain the range of view they used to have . They also spend more time at home and therefore, their houses need to have lights to enable them see.
9. Indoor Lighting Contributes to Safety and Independent Living
Availing the ambient light which is a nice lighting for aiding navigation in the house is a cool idea regarding the elderly. While in their rooms, th6 elderly sometimes engage themselves to certain activities which need aid in lighting. This therefore calls for consideration of installing bright task light.
10. Make Lighting Switches Accessible
Consider making accessible light switches where they can be easily reached by the elderly in case of emergency.
11. Bathroom lighting
Provision of light in the bathrooms is more safer to avoid accidents and falls. Most bathrooms are covered with shiny surfaces. For the aged, this is not such favorable and you should consider establishing vanities which are set pointing upside to avoid direct light. Abundant and sufficient lighting in the bathrooms if more advisable to improve the vision of the seniors.
12. Opaque shade fixtures
This helps disperse the light to aid reduce glare. Fabric and glass are best suit for glare free shades. Which are in good position to conceal direct line of light from the bulb.
13. Installation of lampshade
Fitting lampshades helps in reducing the direct line of sight to the lighting bulb. Should always be on the lookout to facilitate installation of lampshades to safeguard the seniors from direct lights from the bulb to their eyes.
14. Avoid over-using recessed
Recessed are cool and more appealing in the house as they are more technical out of their layer lighting in rooms. This is only when they are the only option for the illumination in the house. For the seniors, they cause shadows which can make activities seem hard and more dangerous to be undertaken.
15. Consider lighting up the walls
Dark walls are known to absorb light compared to the white walls. It’s therefore advisable to improve the wall painting and repaint it white to avoid glare. Also the ceiling should have a reflecting painting of approximately 80-90 reflective value. This will improve the brightness of the lighting inside the house.
16. Prominent switch boards
The switchboard always get out of our attention but they are quite important for superb lighting. Make sure the switchboards are accessible to older people, especially if they are crippled or disabled walking using wheelchairs .You don’t want them stumbling in the dark looking for switches and getting hurt in the process. The switchboards must be in their areas of reach so that they can easily reach them.
17. Increased sunlight
The best source of lighting is natural light that is sunlight. Make sure you open all the curtains and blinds during the day, especially in the senior’s room. This natural lighting is better than artificially installed lights. To increase the amount of lighting, you can increase the number of windows. Make them larger and install screen doors.
Emergency lighting for the elderly mounted close to the floor would better direct residents to safety. The same is true for night time lighting the path to the bathroom.
Visual comfort being so essential, large diffused sources are more preferable rather than point sources.
Since it is difficult to increase light levels to a certain degree of satisfaction from single lighting source, you should consider installation of many layers of light up to maximum of your ability. Think of wall sconces, light valences, recessed lights, ceiling lights and portables. It’s very difficult to get satisfactory lighting only from lamps alone, it’s therefore a very encouraging act to accommodate this other lighting sources.
Check the wattage limits
Confirm whether it’s possible to increase the wattage of your fixtures . In case of possibilities , look for a new bulbs, being careful not to exceed the maximum wattage of the fixtures in the house. Assuming your fixture maximum is 60 watts and you already have 60w incandescent bulbs installed. It’s advisable to use 2 Compact Fluorescent (CFL) or Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs because a 15 watt CFL or a 10 watt LED will give you the same light as a 60 watt incandescent bulb. Although they are not suited for every situation, using them you can get up to 4 times more light by switching to CFL and 6 times more light by changing to LED.
Make sure quality task lighting is sufficient in the seniors working area . In cold climate consider using LED only if you frequently visit your garage or incandescent may be more favorable in case the visits to the garage are common. For elderly secure footing, the outdoor lighting is very essential for their eyes. Enough light should be enhanced by the entrances and exits for the safety of the elderly.
Kitchens require a combination of ambient and task lighting with a control installed at the kitchen door place. The control should be made in such a way it can facilitate general control of the lighting in the kitchen. They should have a specialized low level of light during the night.
Every area should have additional ambient illumination to the task lighting. This helps improve the transmittance of the seniors’ eyes.
The elderly tend to lose their flexibility of movement and strength. This makes it difficult to adjust and operate regular lamp knobs which are either fitted on the wall. It will be therefore easy for the seniors to use lights which are operated simply by touching. Improving the lamps for the seniors is more favorable for their easy and comfortable stay.
Human eye ability declines from 100% at 25 to 25% at age 70 therefore elderly people need much more light to be able to see clearly to perform basic tasks. The aging have to be given the best quality of life that good designing of their living environment has to offer. This includes lighting with favorable features to recommended practice. Good lighting for senior facilities alleviate vision issues that can occur with aging, supporting visual accuracy as well improving their ability to manage brightness and color contrast. I hope the above points have helped you to understand how sensitive proper lighting is for seniors. Houses installed with proper lighting and spaces will enable them to perform their tasks with ease and also reduces their chance of falling and getting injured. You can get even re-consider getting different types of lighting from your local store.