Home Safety – Improve Home Safety With Great Spot Lighting – Every 11 Seconds An Older Adult Is Treated In An Emergency Room For A Fall – Every 19 Minutes An Older Adult Dies From A Fall

bright lights

Lighting reflects our home safety values

Most of us look at lighting as a part of our life that reflects our mood.  

Maybe we should look at lighting as a way to keep us in a good mood.  

Proper lighting is safe lighting. 

Lighting helps us avoid accidents.  

Keep yourself in a good mood with great room lighting.

age in place

Home Safety - Please Read The Short Story In Red Below

  • First time visiting my posts and website? If so, welcome, or welcome back and thank you.  Please read the short story in red. 
  • Goal is to provide useful, acurate, brief as possible, source for personal and home safety.
  • Following this short story – this weeks Home Safety Post.
  • If personal and home safety is not what your looking for, I have saved you some time. Please remember this post when you do need help with hazards.
  • Feedback is welcome via the contact page.
  • Each Post begins with this short story. I am trying to connect with my visitors about the serious need to look at personal and home safety, at every age.

Short Story Follows:

I plan to remain in my home forever!  Great, does your home have a plan to let you live there forever?  Great question.  Homes do not have plans but hazards around the home do!

I am in my 40’s, 50s or 60s, I get around simply fine.  Currently, I do not see a need to make my home safer.  Why spend money when I am just fine?  Some visitors relate well to this.

Others relate to this little story:  Mom and Dad had to make some changes when their mobility and balance issues started, but they are a lot older.  It was rough on them for a few months as the workers modified their bathrooms, added a ramp, and widened some doorways.  It was hard to see them struggling with the daily chores until the home modification made their home safe again.  I will never forget Mom saying, “I never thought a fall would happen to me”.     

Home safety, for many it is not a sexy subject.  Most of us think our homes are safe or at least as safe as most.  Why spend time and money fixing something that ain’t broke?  Likely your home is not “broken” for now.  You learn to avoid the hazards that you “see”, but in time your mobility, vision, hearing, cognitive and other senses will not be as sharp as they are now.  

Putting off preparation is another way of saying “A fall will not happen to me”. One trip to the emergency room will likely cost as much as several delayed safety improvements.  And, I am sure you will not forget that other “cost”, pain, and suffering.

I’m Safe At Home.com visitors, often have just had an accident and are searching for solutions. You need information, right now.  There are many great sources of information, this is one of them.

Hopefully, you have determined that home safety and aging in place are sexy.  Winning in at least two ways.  Time to make changes over a longer period and the opportunity to spread out expenses.  Planning to live or age in place takes just that, planning.   

My NEXT post begins now:

Highlights of this Home Safety post:

  • Most rooms or areas require multiple light sources to properly illuminate an area or room.
  • You may need more ceiling, floor, or table lights for some family members to see everything.
  • All pathways in your home must have direct light shining on them.  That means, no or very few shadows are present in any areas that you walk or can walk through.
  • The addition of floor or table lights are likely the most cost-effective method.
  • Spot lighting should be used effectively for all pathways needing extra light and for areas where you work with your hands

If your home was built within the last few years using the “Universal Design Concept”, your home likely has a great home safety lighting plan that minimizes shadows in most areas of the home.  The Universal Design concept is relatively young, and it incorporates many attributes for safe living including lighting.  I would expect most readers need some improvement in their homes lighting for safe passage.  

Many of us purchased lighting fixtures that fit a certain “lifestyle” demand.  We were likely choosing a light for its appearance or style.  Usefulness as a light was often a secondary consideration. Home safety considerations are often not the principle consideration.  

As we grow older, lighting becomes increasingly important.  Generally, lighting should cover an area or room with light, no or minimal amount shadows in the pathways is ideal.  Shadows or dark areas are blind spots that could hide trip hazards. Most rooms or areas require multiple light sources to properly illuminate an area or room.

Great lighting is just as important as a good fire extinguisher (and knowing how to use it).  An extinguisher is of no value if you do not have one handy and you must know how to use it effectively.   

Lighting must be “used” in the similar way.  It must be available, and it must be used effectively (no shadows).  Whether you are putting out a fire or avoiding a trip hazard, you must be prepared to use it effectively.

Great lighting is not an option.  Lighting improvements can be relatively expensive but there are many options to improve the lighting even on a small budget.

Let us review what effective home safety lighting should be.  I am not a lighting engineer, but I am a home safety specialist, so my approach is relatively simple, if you see a hazard, eliminate it.  First, you must be able to see it.  The ability to “see” things is variable.  Perform a walk through with everyone in your home, covering all walkways and work surfaces.  Everyone needs to “see”, and some may require additional lighting for them to see properly.  You may need more ceiling, floor, or table lights for some family members to see everything.  The goal is not to fall.  If dimmers switches are used, it may be just “turning up” the brightness.  It may be that the physical light bulbs are not bright enough.  Changing to LED lights with a higher kelvin (brightness scale) value may solve some of the shadowing effect. 

A typical 100-watt incandescent bulb has around 1500 k or kelvin value of light.  LED lights run anywhere from 2700 k to 6000 k in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.  LED lights have a wide range of light displays, from a warm yellow to a bright as the sun.  Lots of options.  Hopefully, a brighter light bulb will solve everyone’s ability to see clearly all the pathways in your home.

We all need great lighting to see any hazards and avoid a fall.

So, if your current ceiling lights do not provide effective lighting (minimal or no shadows), at a minimum you need spot lighting to fill the light “holes” or shadowed areas.  These holes in your lighting map can be filled with the installation of properly located ceiling lights or with floor or table lamps to cover the “spots” where shadows exist.

The addition of floor or table lights is likely the most home safety cost-effective method.  Think about the trip hazard that you do not see and how much a “trip” to the hospital is going to cost.  Floor or table lamps are likely to cost a fraction of what the ER expenses/ambulance fees and recovery time will cost you.  We all want to believe that an accident will not happen to me.  Well, you may be right.  It’s that other 25% of adults over 65 that fall every year, not me.  

If you have the budget, have a lighting engineer or interior designer (preferably a CAPS certified) review what is needed.

If that is not possible, there are several battery powered spotlights readily available from the big box stores or Amazon.  I’ll review a number of spot lighting solutions, including motion sensing lights for your passageways as well as for use in locations where a light switch is not readily available or you are just transiting through an area and a motion sensing light seems to make a lot of sense. 

Spot lighting should be used effectively for all pathways needing extra light and for areas where you work with your hands.  It may be under counter lighting in the kitchen, or extra lighting in the utility room or over a workbench, spot lighting makes it easier to see what we do and do it safely.

Some of the following recommendations will likely require professional assistance to install.  Unless the lights are battery operated, electrical wiring is required to power the lights.  Options are a local electrician or contacting one of the handyman service providers i.e., Thumbtack, HomeAdvisor, Nextdoor, etc. or a local qualified and licensed handyman.  I was a “HomeAdvisor” handyman.  They made sure that I was licensed for any services performed.  They also performed a background check.  Electrical wiring is not a do-it-yourself activity.  For your safety, have a qualified and licensed person perform the installations. Please check out the Products page for additional home safety lighting suggestions. 

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