Guest Blog by Kent Elliot
Aging in place is gaining in popularity among baby boomers, many of whom prefer the comforts of home to assisted-living facilities. However, this requires a number of modifications to prevent accidents and ensure their dwelling is safe. Among the most important is improved lighting, which can not only prevent accidents related to poor vision but also gives a boost to mobility and overall quality of life. If you’re planning to enjoy your golden years where you’ve always lived, here are a few things to do.
Study Your Options
Lumens, watts, CFLs, LEDs, ambient and task lighting. That seems like a lot of technical mumbo-jumbo, but you need to know what it means if you’re going to provide the right illumination throughout your home. To get started on the basics, lumens refers to the amount of light that a bulb sheds, and the higher the number, the brighter it is. Watts, meanwhile, is the amount of energy that the bulb uses.
Get Enough Ambient Light
This is general background lighting coming from a fixture on the ceiling. You’re looking for evenness in rooms and hallways as older eyes tend to be less responsive to changes in level. According to Luvozo, which provides services to senior living communities, 30 lumens per square foot is the right amount for ease of mobility and preventing falls.
Maximize Task Lighting
Small lamps on tables and desks provide the light you need for reading without squinting your eyes to see the fine print. Consider ones with LED bulbs that don’t need to be changed as often, which reduces the risk that you’ll burn yourself in the process. There are even models available that allow you to alter the color temperature and avoid frequencies that disturb your sleep.
Brighten Up the Bathroom
Roughly 80 percent of older adults experience a fall because of the slippery surfaces. However, several accidents can be reduced by making sure the bathroom is well lit. First off, keep the switch on the exterior to avoid having to enter and feel around for it in the dark. As for the interior, an expert tells Professional Remodeler magazine that 75 to 100 watts of illumination should do the trick.
Cut Risks in the Kitchen
This is another area that requires special attention as not seeing whether the oven is on or off can have disastrous consequences. The folks at Progress Lighting recommend layered lighting to compensate for any decreases in vision as well as cabinet task lights to keep your eyes focused clearly on the chopping board while you’re slicing and dicing.
Pay Attention to Stairways
Around 12,000 people die each year falling down stairs, which are particularly dangerous for the elderly. Besides, brightening them up makes it easier to get up and down late at night and early in the morning without any undue strain on your eyes. The easiest solution is having an electrician install bright lights at the bottom as well as the top to reach each and every step.
Add Style to Your Living Room
You should consider your overall comfort while you’re reading, watching TV and entertaining guests. Add a source of ambient light like a chandelier or pendant in addition to a few accent lamps in your living room, which can draw attention to your favorite decorations.
Explore High-Tech Solutions
The smart home revolution makes it easier for seniors to stay at home in comfort and convenience. Imagine motion sensors that turn lights on automatically in the hallway when you head to the bathroom late at night. That can be yours as well as full control over all the lighting throughout the home via smartphone so you’re not fumbling for a switch when you walk in.
Making these adjustments to your home might take some time and energy, but it’s the bright thing to do for your own safety and comfort as well as that of the rest of your family.
For assistance with an aging in place remodel for your home, please contact Fort Rock Construction at 541-767-1611. We're certified aging in place experts and serve homeowners throughout the Eugene-Springfield area.
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