Best Lighting for Elderly: Improve Safety with Night Lights, Motion Sensors, Bedside Lamps and More

By: Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS®

With the right lighting setup, seniors can perform all of their daily tasks without worrying about their eyesight limiting them. Think about what would work best for their unique lifestyle, and implement some of these solutions to improve their safety at home. Here are some of the best lighting options for seniors.

Income Disclosure: I recommend products based on my personal experience working with seniors. I may earn a commission on items purchased from links in this guide. Learn More.

The lighting in our homes is something many of us take for granted. But as we get older, it becomes an increasingly important consideration. Proper lighting contributes to overall safety, quality of life, and accessibility for seniors. It can help them lead the independent, yet safe, lifestyle that everyone wants. Find out how lighting in a home can affect an elderly person’s life below, and read through some important factors and products to consider when lighting a home for an elderly person.

Recommended Lighting Solutions for Seniors

Here are some of the most useful lighting solutions for a senior home beyond the typical overhead or lamp setup. See if one of these would work for your lifestyle!

Best Night Lights for Seniors

Stumbling around in the dark isn’t a great idea regardless of your age. I’ve walked into a few doorways and random objects myself by not turning on a light when walking in the dark! For seniors, night time trips and falls can be downright dangerous!

For more information on nightlights for seniors, check out this guide.

Vont Lyra LED Night Light (6 pack)

$11.99

These night lights by Vont offer just the right amount of brightness to light your way. They install simply by just plugging them in. Plus, they turn on and off automatically!

See Them At Amazon
07/26/2021 12:49 pm GMT

When it comes to night light options, your choices are endless. There are thousands of designs, colors, and options to choose from. But, sometimes, you just want a simple, inexpensive light that gets the job done.

That’s why I recommend these automatic night lights for seniors and the elderly. They come on automatically when they sense low light conditions and turn themselves off too when the ambient light is at a safe level. So, no forgetting to flip a switch to turn them on. Saves a little bit of electricity too.

The light they put out is just enough to offer a safe path but not so bright as to disturb you. It uses LED bulbs which are very long lasting and use very little electricity. Just plug them into an outlet and you are all set.

Vont sent me a sample pack of these lights so that I could see them for myself. I put one in my hallway, another in the kitchen and bathroom, and another in my daughter’s room. They are bright enough that you don’t need to turn on overhead lights which could disturb others. But, they aren’t so bright that they’d keep most people awake – unless you just like a really dark room to sleep in. (Keep reading – I have a recommendation for you too!)

They come in a pack of 6 so you’ll have plenty of them to spread around the house. Plus, they are very affordable too – less than $2.00 per light


Vont Motion Sensor Stick Anywhere Night Lights

$13.99

These night lights can stick just about anywhere so no need for an outlet. Plus, they are motion-activated and will turn on automatically when you need them. They are battery powered though, so occasional battery changes will be needed.

See Them At Amazon
07/26/2021 12:27 pm GMT

Sometimes, there aren’t always electric outlets where you need them. For those instances, these night lights stick just about anywhere using strong adhesive pads or magnets. That way, you can place them just about anywhere you need a safe lit path at night. A few ideas are baseboards, stairs, bathroom vanity, or even the nightstand or bedframe.

Plus, if you are the kind of person (me!) who likes to sleep in a dark room, these lights are motion sensitive. So, when you go to move and get out of bed, they will turn-on automatically saving a potential fall or stubbed toe. They also turn off automatically too after 15 seconds of inactivity

Because they are portable and can be used nearly anywhere, they are battery-powered. So, you will have to occasionally change the batteries to keep the lights functioning. But, because it uses LED bulbs, Vont says the batteries will last a year or more depending on how much they are used.

They come in a pack of three to give you several placement options.


Toilet Night Lights by Ailun

$10.98

These motion-activated LED lights turn on automatically when they sense movement. They are battery-powered and simply hang over the edge of the bowl. Plus, they are easy to clean!

See Them At Amazon
07/26/2021 12:17 pm GMT

Yeah, I know. It might seem silly, but hear me out.

Many falls happen in the bathroom while seniors are in “delicate” predicaments. Having a well lit way can reduce the chance of a fall from the toilet or a “miss” when sitting down. Could just save some embarrassment. Or, at least might save a mess from other “misses”!

These bright LED lights turn on automatically as you approach the toilet and they stay lit for 2 minutes after they stop sensing movement. To install them, just add 3 AAA batteries and hang over the edge of the bowl. The flexible bracket installs on nearly any toilet too.

If you prefer a little fun when you gotta go in the middle of the night, the light can display in 8 different colors and even rotate colors every time it activates. Just to keep you guessing!

RELATED: Tall Toilets for Seniors and the Elderly

Best Reading Light for Seniors

Another common lighting need for senior is adequate light when reading. As our eyes age, using brighter lights makes everything easier to see with less strain. This was the first recommendation my eye doctor made when my own eyesight began failing me a little.

Here are some of my favorite reading lights for aging adults.

Rechargeable LED Reading Light

$10.99

This clip-on book light is senior eye friendly with an amber mode instead of harsh blue lighting. There are 2 other color modes to choose from as well as 5 brightness settings to meet you particular needs. 

See It At Amazon
07/26/2021 12:19 pm GMT

This is a pretty standard reading light in terms of construction, but it has a lot of versatility and customizable features, which is why I like it. It has a very large, flexible, easy to use clip that’s great for even arthritic hands. You can clip it onto your book, or a table as well.

It also has 3 color temperature settings, so that they can choose which setting (four standard LED bulbs, two cool white LED bulbs, or two warm white LED bulbs) works for their unique reading needs. There has been a lot of talk about blue lights keeping people from sleeping, so give the Amber mode a try!


Touch Sensor Bedside Lamps

$14.29

A neutral colored light to match nearly any setting that turns on with a simple touch. Offers 360 degrees of supplemental light. It's also rechargeable via USB and portable too.

See it At Amazon
07/26/2021 12:12 pm GMT

It’s important that seniors have a well-lit path before their fet ever hit the ground. This bedside lamp can be turned on quickly by a simple tap on the metal base. This is extremely helpful for emergencies or when a senior has to get up in the middle of the night.

It also has 3 settings: a low setting that can act like a night light, a moderate option for evening use, and a brighter setting for reading or walking at night. Feeling a little funky? There are 4 different color settings too if you prefer a pink glow in the bedroom!

If power outages are frequent in your area, it also comes in a version with a rechargable battery so that it can work at all times.

RELATED: More Reading Lamps for Older Adults

Automatic Security Lights for Seniors

Solar Motion Sensor Security Lights

$24.99

Super bright security lights with 28 LEDs light up even the darkest outdoor settings. Solar power charges the batteries at night and turn on automatically when they sense motion saving battery power for the times when you really need it. 

See Them At Amazon
07/26/2021 12:10 pm GMT

If you are a senior who finds yourself outdoors at night, maybe walking the dog or coming home from work, think about your outdoor lighting needs too.These solar powered, waterproof, wireless outdoor motion sensor security lights are perfect for seniors concerned about the outdoor lighting conditions and safety of their home.

Each light (two comes in a pack) comes equipped with 28 powerful LED bulbs that can completely illuminate any area. They also have 3 light settings as well, including strong light mode for instant illumination all night long, dim light for a dim illumination all night with strong light switched on when it senses motion, and just a sensor light that stays dark, and gets very bright at the sense of motion. Whatever will make the senior feel most comfortable in their home.

Why is Lighting So Important for Seniors?

Safety

The top reason to think about lighting for seniors is safety. This comes in a few different forms. Inside the house, adequate lighting can prevent dangerous falls and reduce the chance of slipping or injury. It also helps seniors perform important tasks like taking the proper doses of their medication. Outside the house, security lights can keep their homes safe from intruders, and proper lighting on their doorstep and driveway can also prevent dangerous falls.

Eyesight

Obviously, proper lighting also contributes to better eyesight, which will lead to more productive, safe daily lives. Eyesight often declines over time, so seniors need special lighting conditions to accommodate changes in eyesight, eye disorders, and more. Some common eyesight problems in elderly adults include cataracts, glaucoma, floaters, and hardening or yellowing of the lens. Due to these issues, seniors often need more lighting in their homes than they used to.

Lighting Tips for Seniors

Now that we know why lighting is an important consideration, here are a few tips for making the most of the lighting situation in an elderly person’s home.

Accessibility

Seniors should have as much control over their lighting situations as possible. This means that light switches should be placed all around the home in easily accessible locations. Lamps and other smaller lights should also suit their needs, and should not be too complicated to operate. In terms of safety and lifestyle, accessibility is an imperative factor.

Adjustability

The lighting in the senior’s home should also be fully adjustable, along the lines of them having control over their lighting conditions. Tools like dimmers and timers give seniors the freedom to make their lighting work for their lifestyle. Elderly eyes tend to be more sensitive to light level, intensity, and brightness, so giving them control over this factor will be a big help.

Color

The color tone of the lighting is also important for seniors to consider. A common problem for elderly people is yellowing lenses, which can warp their ability to distinguish color, especially on the cooler end of the spectrum (blues, purples, etc.). Therefore, using cooler lighting installments like halogen or fluorescent light bulbs can help them see and distinguish all colors.

Best Lighting for Elderly Homes

Generally, the more lighting the better. Overhead lights with accessible, adjustable switches coupled with smaller area lighting is the best combination. Ample lighting around typically dangerous areas like staircases or narrow hallways is necessary as well. Try to make the lighting situation as uniform and ambient as possible too, as older eyes have a harder time adjusting to changing contrast levels.

Make sure to consider the lifestyle of the senior as well, though.

  • They may need more lighting in the bathroom where they take their medication, for instance.
  • If they do their bills at the dining room table, an extra overhead light there may be useful.
  • If they read in bed at night, a nightlight or reading light within a safe reachable distance will allow them to do so without having to get up, turn off the overhead light, and potentially fall in the dark trying to get back to bed.
  • Do they do a lot of cooking? They may also need a reading light in the kitchen for their recipe books.

Summary

Lighting solutions like the ones outlined above can help seniors live comfortable, safe, independent lives. With the right setup, they can perform all of their daily tasks without worrying about their eyesight limiting them. Think about what would work best for their unique lifestyle, and implement some of the solutions I mentioned above. If you found it helpful, share this article with friends and family on social media and leave any questions or comments below!

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