Ageing and your changing lighting needs

As Time Goes On

Parts of the Eye

Lots of things change as we get older, and the way our eyes work is no exception. Lights which were perfectly suitable for reading ten years ago might not be bright enough now. When you’re preparing a meal in your kitchen, you might find yourself thinking, ‘I need to get some brighter light globes’. This is because parts of our eyes, like the retina and nucleus, start to degenerate a little as we age. In addition, our pupils get smaller as we get older, so less light reaches the back of the eye. Research shows that older people need as much as three times more light than younger people in order to see well.

Keeping It Bright

As a general rule, when you increase the lighting levels in your home, you’ll find it easier to get around, to cook and to read. The need for more light to read and cook by starts in middle age, and becomes greater as we reach our older years. Importantly, research shows inadequate lighting is very much linked to the risk of falling, so making sure stairs are well-lit is vital. Most household accidents occur in the kitchen and on stairways, so these areas should be a priority when you’re thinking about adding lighting to your home.

Lights To Suit You Now

The better lit your house, the more likely you are to keep your independence as the years roll by; you’ll be more confident about important daily tasks, and reducing the risk of falls will make you feel much safer at home. You might think that the simple answer is to have more and much brighter lights, but you also need to think about glare reduction. In the older eye, the lens thickens and might develop cloudy patches; light coming into the eye is scattered across the retina, so what you see is not as clear. The best answer for glare reduction is to make sure that your bright light has a good shade.

Solutions With Style

If you have a favourite reading chair, then how about placing a top-quality floor lamp next to it? The Chad Gloss Energy Saving Metal Floor Lamp is perfect for reading; it has a good shade and its position can be adjusted to ensure your book or newspaper is comfortably easy to read.

For your stairways, the best way to increase the amount of light without creating shadows is to use sconces, which I talked about recently. The Eglo Malva Nickel Matt & White Design Wall Light would work really well for that purpose.

In your kitchen, I don’t think you can beat under-bench lights like the Star Downlight. These highlight your counters and eliminate shadowy corners, while avoiding glare, making your cooking a bit easier and definitely safer. It’s good to know that although we need to think slightly differently about our lighting choices as we get older, there are still plenty of stylish and attractive options to choose from.