A well lit room, hallways or front step can be a big factor in reducing the risk of falls. Being able to see clearly allows a senior to keep their balance and avoid problem areas. As people and their homes age, lighting often remains the same and the result can be a dark, unsteady area, to move around in.
In Canada, the fall and winter months can be extremely dark which not only increases the risk of falling, but can result in SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) or quite frankly, as a Canadian, it just gets depressing in general! Brightening up the home is the first step in reducing fall risk and improving mental health!
There are lots of wireless, motion-sensing lights on the market and they can be used to automatically light up dim areas like stairs, long hallways, or deep closets. They could also be used as a night light on a bedside table; or, a light near the bedroom door to guide people towards the washroom in the night. Of course, putting one of these in the washroom as well as in some of the outlets on the way will ensure the house stays dark for good sleep, while also lighting the way when required.
Quite a bit of work has been done on the use of wide spectrum lighting for minimizing SAD. You can use any type of grow light bulb to provide some level of daylight in the house and it doesn’t require any large expenditure of cash. The science on the effectiveness for these low intensity bulbs is limited but I figure they provide something and that’s better than nothing! They are LED, last forever, and cast a lovely light. I’m sitting under one that I recently bought from Home Depot right now! For under $20 you get a little bit of the sun in your room!
Arthritis and loss of finger flexibility and strength can make it difficult to turn regular lamp knobs. Seniors are more likely to use proper lighting if it’s easier for them to turn lamps on. There are a number of touch lights on the market that come on with a quick tap. There are even switches that convert existing lamps to touch lights. Of course, there are also clapper lights that go on and off with a clap of your hands, making it easy to get proper lighting in a room.
Another option to consider is rope lighting along hallways that can guide people to key rooms (i.e. washroom) when required. This rope lighting can be affixed to the baseboards and can be made automatic as well, so that it only comes on at night or with movement
More concrete examples of specific lighting situations to come in upcoming posts. In the meantime, light up that house, avoid falls and improve everyone’s happiness level!