More than 90% of the population age 65 and over say that they want to stay in their homes as they age. Statistics are showing that this is becoming more and more common and is referred to as, “Aging in Place”. Another statistic is that the home you are living in at 60 is most likely the one you will stay in. When you consider that most of the homes people are living in were built in the 50's, 60’s and 70’s with very little consideration for someone to successfully age in this space. It is understandable that there can be numerous things to look at to determine how a home can meet the current needs and those in the future. The impact of lighting as we age, in my opinion is not given enough consideration.
Many homes that people are living in have low ceilings and few windows which can create even darker inside spaces. Heavy draperies, overgrown shrubbery, dirty windows all decrease the natural light that can come into a home. Isolation, depression, loss of appetite, sleep problems, falls, lack of Vitamin D synthesis, broken bones, sleep issues, safety and so many more issues can be influenced by lack of appropriate lighting.
Light cords and extension cords are a fall risk, as well as the task of changing out a light bulb. Inadequate lighting for tasks in the kitchen and in bathrooms can cause injuries. Lack of contrast on steps may result in missed steps. Inadequate or poorly aimed exterior lighting can result in shadows and the inability to clearly see someone at the door. There are also many activities that people look forward to enjoying as they age, crafts, puzzles, reading, sewing, the list goes on. These all require appropriate lighting to be enjoyed.
I hope that the importance of adequate and appropriate lighting will be considered as important as other home modifications that are made to ensure successful Aging in Place.