Lighting for The Elderly
As our eyesight deteriorates with age the lighting we have been used to
in our homes for the last 20 years is rendered ineffective. It is with this
in mind that we need to choose lighting for the elderly very carefully.
As we get older the lenses in our eyes thicken and our pupils’ ability to
dilate decreases because our pupils decrease in size as we age – meaning that
our retinas receive less light, so the images we see are less sharp and colour
rendition levels are lower. Glare on bright surfaces also has adverse effects
on older eyes. Most people at the age of 60 require 3 times more light than a
LED Wall Light
Low vision has been found to have adverse effects on the general health and
well-being of older adults, for example a greater risk of depression. Being
unable to view things clearly poses safety risks. Trips in the middle of the
night to the bathroom is an example of this – if we turn on a bright light our
eyes struggle as they have become used to the dark. Night lights are an
excellent solution to illuminate the way between bedroom and bathroom. An
excellent solution is a low-wattage LED light such as the image to the left.
According to new research from Age UK, 1 in 3 over-65s suffer a fall each
year, costing the NHS an estimated £4.6 million a day. Lack of strength and
balance account for a vast number of these falls, but by improving lighting
in our homes we can assist in reducing these levels.
A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) publication explains; “Falls
affect a third of those aged 65 years and over, rising to over 40% in those
aged 80 years and above. A fall may be a result of a simple trip in which
case the environment needs to be looked at in order to reduce hazards such
as slippery floors, loose rugs and poor lighting“.
I previously wrote an article about lighting solutions for lighting our
kitchens – similar solutions are applicable here – see below.
Ambient or General Lighting
Fluorescent Luminaire Suitable for Bathroom & Kitchen
By combining light bulbs with a high lumen value and light-coloured
lampshades good general illumination can be achieved without causing
glare. It is important that kitchens, bathrooms and stairs are always well-lit
as these are the main areas of risk of accident, especially to the elderly.
Ambient light is generally provided from ceiling or wall lights or of course
One single ceiling light is considered poor lighting practice and using a
variety of light fittings will achieve better illumination. Fitting a ceiling
fixture with a light-coloured shade or diffuser is a good option. A clear glass
shade, particularly when used with clear light bulbs will cause glare and cast
shadows. A spherical pendant with an opaque diffuser, such as the one to the
right, will prevent glare. Used with wall uplighters and table lamps to
illuminate the spaces not illuminated with the central ceiling fixture will
create good lighting.
It is important to remember that the size and shape of a light fitting, shade or
diffuser can affect the amount and direction of light provided.
Strip lights seem to be used much less these days, particularly due to the
aesthetic appeal of more modern light fittings. Fitted with low energy,
fluorescent tubes and providing high levels of even light, fluorescent lights
are available in modern designs – providing us with an evenly distributed
ambient lighting solution whilst still looking attractive.
Under-cabinet Diffused Luminaire
Well positioned suitable light fixtures are essential for tasks such as reading,
sewing and cooking. A task light is a suitable light that is positioned closely
to the area we are working in.
Positioned just above you reduces any shadows that would be created if the
task light was positioned behind you. Beware of placing a light fixture too
close and directly in front of you as this will increase the glare.
Luminaries such as under cupboard lights for the kitchen, and flexible armed
table lamps or floor lamps are ideal examples of task lighting. Floor lamps
can be positioned over you when sat reading in the living room.
Spotlights are great at providing a directional light source, but are not
suitable as a general lighting option. They can be problematic used in the
wrong area for the elderly so due attention to their position is required.
If you require further help and advice on lighting for yourself or an elderly
relative or friend feel free to call us or drop us a line at
firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be more than happy to help.
Here the Author Peter says about Table lamps and Lighting. For more
information visit: - http://www.directlight.co.uk/