At 65, your eyes require twice as much light as they did when you were 20. Inadequate lighting contributes to decreased depth perception and becomes a safety concern, especially in stairways, bathrooms, and kitchens. Seasoned eyes are also more sensitive to glare, so lighting must not only be plentiful, but well shielded.
In order to properly illuminate your surroundings, experts recommend adding multiple layers of lighting as you age. This can be as simple as adding a few more lamps to a room with a central chandelier, painting a room a lighter color to maximize brightness, switching out opaque lampshades, or eliminating shiny objects to reduce glare. Or, you can include some higher-tech solutions like wireless dimmers that can crank up the illumines with the command of your voice, light a dark hallway as you make your way to the bathroom at 2am, or automatically turn on and off at certain times of the day. (Also read about other ways to change your home with high tech.)
Light Switch Enlarger $6.95
Good for folks with Parkinson’s or arthritis, or the rest of us that continuously fumble for that tiny lamp switch. Just attach the larger knob over your existing switch, and voila!
Wall Switch Extension Handle $11.99
The Wall Switch Extension Handle puts wall switches within easy reach of wheelchair users or people with limited reach by providing a footlong extension to a standard toggle switch. Simply hang apparatus over an existing switch and pull down for lighting.
Add a portable Task Lamp
Be sure to purchase a task lamp with 1,000 lumens of light (100 watts incandescent or 12 watts LED). Adding this to an already lit room will increase the lumens to 1,500, which is ample for 80-year-old eyes.
Plug-in Timers (around $20)
Any hardware store will have plug-in light timers, which encourage safety, security, and savings. Simply plug in and connect to your existing lights, set the timer, and the apparatus will turn your lights on and off.
Philips Hue Dimmer $23 + bulbs
If you are already using Philips Hue bulbs, this wireless remote is an easy transition to Smart Lighting.
- No installation (just peel and stick the dimmer switch on the wall; switch can be removed via magnets to use as a remote)
- You can set schedules (for example, set lights to dim at 4pm, increase lumens at 6pm, and then turn off at 10pm)
- Can connect to Alexa, Google Home, and Apple Homekit for voice commands (great for safety in middle of the night)
- Energy efficient technology
- One switch is good for 10 Smart Bulbs
Drawbacks: no motion-sensors; must use Philips Hue bulbs
Lutron Caseta Wireless Dimmer $160 for starter-kit
Caseta seems to be at the forefront of smart lighting. Its platform promotes the integration of multiple light sources to create “scenes” (i.e. mood lighting or bright wattage).
- Automatically turns on and off when you are home
- Programmable to turn on random house lights when you are away to create the appearance of being home
- Programmable to set schedules
- Compatible with Alexa, Google Home, and Apple Homekit for voice commands (great for safety in middle of the night)
- Boasts ease of installation and connects to existing lamps and bulbs
Drawbacks: requires a Smart Bridge that plugs into your home’s router and connects with smart lighting.
— Megan Seckman