3 Tips For Improving Visibility In Senior Housing

The average 60-year-old person needs roughly twice the amount of lighting that is required by the average 30 year old. According to Terry McGowan of the American Lighting Association, the following changes that occur in those over 60 significantly affect their individual household lighting needs:

  • Heightened sensitivity to glare
  • Reduced ability to discern between colors
  • Reduced ability to discern between light and dark surfaces
  • Reduced ability to notice details
  • Increased amount of time required to adjust to changes in brightness levels

Following are three tips for making lighting in senior housing as safe as possible.

Reduce Glare

Because glare is caused by the reflection of light off of surfaces, one of the most effective ways to minimize it in home interiors is to reduce the amount of light, shiny surfaces. For instance, instead of painting interior walls white, use neutral tones such as beige, cream, or tan that absorb light rather than reflect it. Using flat paint rather than glossy enamel will reduce glare as well. In places where the summer sun is intense, tinted windows can also serve to cut down on interior glare. The bathroom can be a dangerous place for seniors, so make certain that flooring is made of materials with a matte finish rather than highly reflective tiles and that the ambient lighting in the bathroom is bright and even in order to eliminate shadows.

Install Bright Task Lighting

Hobbies, reading, eating, and meal preparation are just four activities that require a sufficiently illuminated work space, so make sure that thee areas all have ample lighting. Overhead lighting is the best, and using exposed-bulb lighting should be avoided. Task lamps should always have an adjustable head. This can cause unnecessary glare, and this type of lighting often flickers. This can create serious visual discomfort for many seniors and cause significant distress to those with dementia.

Use LED Light Fixtures and Lamps

Using LED bulbs will help minimize burns caused by coming into contact with bulbs. People often lose dexterity as they age, which means that adjusting or turning a light fixture on or off may result in the bulb coming into contact with the skin. LED lights put out much less heat than their traditional counterparts. As an added benefit, using them may result in lower utility bills because they don't require as much energy as incandescent or halogen bulbs.

Check the lighting in your loved one's living space often for burned out bulbs and other possible issues, as this is another factor in keeping senior housing safe and comfortable.