Best Lighting for the Elderly: (Easier Reading & Improve Safety)

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You've probably never thought about it, but lighting has a tremendous effect on a senior's quality of life and safety at home too. Here are our lighting recommendations for seniors and the elderly.

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best lighting for elderly

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 the 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, nighttime trips and falls can be downright dangerous!

Vont 'Lyra' LED Night Light, Plug-in [6 Pack] Super Smart Dusk to Dawn Sensor, Night Lights Suitable for Bedroom, Bathroom, Toilet, Stairs, Kitchen, Hallway, Kids,Adults,Compact Nightlight, Cool White

Vont Lyra LED Night Light (6 pack)

from $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!

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 does the job.

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

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


Motion Sensor Light, Closet Light, Wall Light, Stick Anywhere with No Tools, Battery Operated Lights, LED Night Lights, Perfect for Staircase, Hallway, Bathroom, Bedroom, Kitchen, Cabinet (3 Pack)

Vont Motion Sensor Stick Anywhere Night Lights

$13.99
as of 01/30/2023 11:02 am

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

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 Light 2Pack by Ailun Motion Sensor Activated LED Light 8 Colors Changing Toilet Bowl Illuminate Nightlight for Bathroom Battery Not Included Perfect with Water Faucet Light

Toilet Night Lights by Ailun

from $13.90

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

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!

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. It 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 them 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!

Best Reading Light for Seniors

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

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

BenQ eReading LED Desk Lamp/Task Lamp/Swing Arm Lamp: Eye-Care, Auto-Dimming, CRI 95, 13 Color Temperatures, 35” Wide Illumination for Home Office, Bedroom, Living Room (Silver)

BenQ eReading LED Desk Lamp

$229.00
as of 01/30/2023 11:02 am

This desk light is one that I personally use at my desk every day.

Once I turned 40, the quality of my eyesight began a steep decline. My doctor’s first recommendation was to improve my lighting when I read or work.

And it did make a big difference.

I love this light from Ben-Q for a few different reasons.

First, it covers my entire desk in light, so there is no need to move or re-ai the light as I work. The large head is curved, providing a lit area of over 35 inches.

Second, if I do need to adjust it, it moves easily and securely. But, you can also lock it in your favorite position if you don’t want it to move. The heavy base, though, makes it very stable.

Finally, it turns on with the simple touch of the metal ring on top. There is also a knob that quickly and efficiently adjusts the light’s brightness.

I like this feature because if I am working in a dark room, I can turn the light down a bit so that I am not blinding myself when looking at it. Accordingly, I can make it brighter during the afternoon when my office gets more light than the rest of the day.


LED Reading Light, LACOKI 28 LEDs USB Rechargeable Reading Lamp, 3 Color x 3 Brightness Clip On Light with Safety Switch, Eye Protection Book Light for Reading in Bed, Touch Control Clip Desk Lamp

Lacoki LED Rechargeable Clip-on Reading Light

$10.17
as of 01/30/2023 11:02 am

This clip-on book light is senior eye-friendly with an amber mode instead of harsh blue lighting. There are two other color modes to choose from and five brightness settings to meet your particular needs. 

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. I

t 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 three 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!


ROYFACC Night Light Touch Sensor Lamp Bedside Table Lamp for Kids Bedroom Rechargeable Dimmable Warm White Light + RGB Color Changing

Touch Sensor Bedside Lamps

$16.98
as of 01/30/2023 11:02 am

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.

It’s important that seniors have a well-lit path before their feet ever hit the ground. This bedside lamp can be turned on quickly with 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 three 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 four 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 rechargeable battery so that it can work at all times.

Automatic Security Lights for Seniors

BAXIA TECHNOLOGY Solar Outdoor Lights Wireless Security Motion Sensor Outdoor Lights Solar Lights Outdoor Waterproof for Front Door,Backyard,Steps,Garage,Garden (400LM,4 Packs)

Solar Motion Sensor Security Lights

from $32.99

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

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 their homes’ outdoor lighting conditions and safety.

Each light (two in a pack) is equipped with 28 powerful LED bulbs that can completely illuminate any area.

They also have three light settings as well, including a strong light mode for instant illumination all night long, dim light for 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

Proper lighting also contributes to better eyesight and 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 with their 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 greatly 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. The best combination is overhead lights with accessible, adjustable switches and smaller area lighting.

Ample lighting around typically dangerous areas like staircases or narrow hallways is also necessary.

Try to make the lighting situation as uniform and ambient as possible, as older eyes have a harder time adjusting to changing contrast levels.

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

  • For instance, they may need more lighting in the bathroom where they take their medication.
  • An extra overhead light may be useful if they pay their bills at the dining room table.
  • 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 above-mentioned solutions.

If you found it helpful, share this article with friends and family on social media and leave any questions or comments below!

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Senior Home Safety Specialist (SHSS)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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