We are pleased to present this guest post from Daniel Frank, a blogger for Stannah Stairlifts, about the unique lighting needs for everyone as we age.
Lighting is vital for our health and well-being, and it becomes particularly important the older we get. As we age, two things happen to our eyes. The ability of our pupils to dilate decreases, which effectively makes them smaller, and our lenses become thicker. This means our retinas receive less light, and more of the light that gets through our pupils is absorbed or refracted before it gets to the retina, making an image softer.
This poses some serious safety risks as tripping hazards and other obstacles may not be as obvious as they would be to a younger person. The effects of glare on bright surfaces are also worsened as we get older, making detailed tasks such as drawing or sewing harder. However, there are some fairly simple lighting solutions to this “age old” problem.
Ambient, or general, lighting should be as bright as possible, without being glaring. Choose light bulbs with a large number of lumens and combine them with light colored wall paints and lampshades to help prevent glare. Sheer, or net curtains, can be used to let sunlight in, but prevent it from causing glare on bright days. Where sunlight doesn’t cause glare, you should always try to let in as much daylight as possible. Not only does it save you money, but having a nice view has significant health benefits too. Finally, areas such as the kitchen, bathroom, and stairs should always be well lit, since these are the areas with the greatest risk of accidents.
For tasks such as reading or writing, well positioned light fixtures are essential. Ideally, task lights should be as close as possible to the work being done to reduce the number of shadows. If you are writing or drawing, then positioning a light on the opposite side to your writing hand, and slightly forward of the work, will get the least number of shadows. If you can, the light fixture should never be directly in front of you, as that will increase the amount of glare.
Night Time Lighting
The walk from bedroom to bathroom in the middle of the night is particularly challenging. Bright lights will be hard to deal with since your eyes will be adapted to the dark. A nice solution is to arrange night lights to illuminate the way to the bathroom. They are much simpler and safer.
Daniel Frank is a blogger and online marketer who is currently working on behalf of Stannah Stairlifts. He writes on a variety of issues including senior health topics such as renting stair lifts.