Lighting – A Home Safety Tool To Avoid Falls At Home

Lighting - A Home Safety Tool To Avoid Falls At Home
Lighting - A Home Safety Tool To Avoid Falls At Home

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.
  • Post subject follows this short story.
  • 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 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

Why LED lights are a great home safety tool

Summary of key points:

1) A significant Home Safety Tool is improving the lighting in your home.  The review covers LED or Light Emitting Diode lighting vs. the traditional incandescent light bulb.

2) Best light source varies by the person using the light source.

3) As we age, most of us have some loss in vision, in balance, weakness, medical side-effects and other factors that affect our movements. 

4) Hazards are not likely a to be a hole in the floor.  It is more likely that some innocent item that was accidently dropped and is still there, just waiting to be cleaned up or, maybe cause a fall.

5) How much light is too much? 

A significant Home Safety Tool is improving your home lighting. This post looks at fairly simple and one of the least expensive tools to improve home safety by adding LED or Light Emitting Diode lighting vs. the traditional incandescent light bulb. Included are some links to recent studies on the safety of LED lights and impacts on the environment compared to alternative light bulbs.

From the home safety aspect, lighting is critical whenever natural light needs to be augmented.  This could be at any time of the day, especially if you or a family member has a vision or mobility impairment.  Adding the most effective light source for you and your family is the focus of this post.

As we age, most of us have some loss in vision, in balance, weakness, medical side-effects and other factors.  Better light will not correct physical ailments, but better light will assist us in avoiding an obstacle or hazard that is in plain sight.  Hazards don’t care about us. For it to be in plain sight requires that we must see or better said, have proper lighting to avoid or correct it.  Improved lighting is critical to home safety, and it’s a simple home safety tool. 

Best light source varies by the person using the light source.   There may be a medical condition i.e., Photophobia, some dementia patients are impacted by light intensity and likely, many other lighting conditions impact others. 

Best lighting is not a one size fits all is taken into consideration in this post.  I am not a medical doctor; I am a home safety specialist that looks at a home as a location where hazards to your safety generally exist.  Pun intended, shining a “light” on the subject helps your safety at home and may even help with the family budget.

LED lights are a great solution for home lighting safety.  Incandescent light bulbs can produce the same amount of brightness (lumens) as LEDs, so why change. Check out the chart at the top of this page.  In simple terms, a light’s lumen value describes the brightness and the Kelvin temperature describes its color.  However, for an incandescent bulb to produce the same lumens value as an LED, it burns much more power or wattage which produces more heat.  That equals increased cost of operation vs. LEDs.  For some, that may mean that adding fixtures to improve lighting safety is not as practical.

  • The brightness values (lumens) range from 450 to 5800 lumens on this chart. You can also see the match from a 40 Watt upto a 300 Watt incandescent light bulb is listed.  For the same amount of brightness or lumens, the LED light bulbs list a much lower power consumption.  The color temperature (kelvin value) chart is is located at the top of article.

  • So what does that mean – LEDs offer more “light” or lumens at a lower wattage or power consumption, they last much longer, do not need to be replaced very often and they offer variable color temperatures selectable to your visual needs, all within the same bulb. Cost of operation is much lower, both in power consumed by the light bulb and in the amount of heat radiated into the room.

  • There are LED bulbs that have “variable” temperatures, from soft white to bright sunlight, simply managed by flipping the switch – Change the light color or temperature in seconds only with a flip of the switch. Turn it on and flip the switch rapidly ON/OFF to change the light color temperature.  

  • 3-Way LED light bulbs are also available.  The LOHAS 3-Way A21 LED Light Bulb 50/100/150W Equivalent, 5000K Daylight, Dimmable 3 Way LED Frosted Light Bulbs with E26 Medium Base for Floor Lamp, Night Stand Lamps, End Table, 600/1250/1850LM, 2 Pack option provides significant safety appeal when used with other room lighting options for total room visibility. 

  • Color changing (think reds, greens, blues) LEDs are also available.  LEDs that actually change colors Red, Green, Blue and all of the other colors in between, even white.  These LEDs are usually controlled by an app on your cell phone or through a controller like Amazon Alexa, etc.  While these LEDs can display lots of Reds, Greens and Blues (colors) hence RGB LEDs, they are not likely to aid us with safe lighting.  These lights may be great mood settings for some locations in our homes, but we must keep our pathways free of shadows and low visibility problems. 

  • Regular LEDs are available in dimmable and non-dimmable models – their color or temperature of light is fixed.

  • Initial or first cost is higher, especially for the dimmable version, however,

    • Power consumption is much less, anywhere from 25% to 80%

    • Lifetime of an LED is many years longer than incandescent, up to 25 times

    • Requirement to change light bulbs is “not that often” – less ladder time

Traditional incandescent light bulbs were hard to find as governments chose to limit availability a while back.  The “market” demanded their return primarily due to familiarity and the relatively lower cost of incandescent lights.  Over the past few years, LED prices have fallen to the point that they are effectively much less expensive when you factor in the power saving, lifetime, and less hassle of changing light bulbs.

While there are very good economic reasons to change out incandescent to LED light bulbs, the best reason is to improve pathway visibility within and around your home.  LED lighting is a great tool to improve safety around your home.

So, when it comes to “seeing” what is in front of us, choose a light type that has a better chance of shining through.  The light from an LED can’t see any farther or remove shadows, but it’s lower operating cost makes it cost effective to augment your lighting plan and fill in dark or shadowy spots in you pathways and work areas.

If you have incandescent bulbs, change them for a lower operating-cost LED bulb.  Add dimmer switches (look for dimmer switches labeled 0-10 Volts for LEDs) to control the desired amount of lumens or brightness.  While you are looking for “holes” in the pathway and work surfaces, note if additional ceiling, table or floor lamps are needed.  While LEDs have many benefits, they cannot solve a problem where there is not a light fixture.  Add more light fixtures to solve the “holes” or shadows in your lighting plan.  

If your home has “can” style lights, just change the incandescent light bulb for a LED bulb.  You also have the option of changing the ring that you see around the “can” light.  If the ring looks a little dingy, it’s not difficult to change the light with a ring that has an integrated LED bulb as well.  In the picture below, the four ceiling lights in a row are examples of “can” lights.

kitchen with CAN lights

CAN lights are often found in the kitchen, hallways, bathrooms, living rooms, etc.  They are usually wired through a dimmer switch, allowing you to control the light intensity or brightness. Maybe your old can light rings are looking a little dingy, replace them with a new LED light with integrated can ring.  Be sure to match the size of the ring; sizes vary from 4” to 6” in most cases.  Get the correct size and match the type of spring holder that keeps the ring attached to the “can”.  

If you are not comfortable with making this change yourself or you do not want to climb a ladder, find a handyman to assist. Pricing for LED light bulb vs. replacement of the CAN ring with integrated LED are within a few dollars when matching power consumption (wattage) and brightness.   

Other types of ceiling lights, floor and table lamps, sconce lights, bathroom fixtures etc., should be considered for an upgrade to LED lights.  So far, I have not found a light type that I could not replace an incandescent with an LED.  Even if one does exist, market demand will solve that issue in due course.

Falls in and around the home happen.  Why not shine more light on all your pathways, in every room all around your home?  Give yourself and your family members a fighting chance to avoid a hazard.  Hazards are not likely to be a hole in the floor.  It is more likely that some innocent item was accidentally dropped and is still there, just waiting to be cleaned up or maybe cause a fall.  You need to be able to see all hazards so they can corrected.

 How do I know if my room is to bright?  A photographer’s light meter will show how much light is available.  That’s not a practical tool for most of us.  You have to depend on your eyes to let you know if the room is bright enough.  Can you see the floor in all the areas that you walk? Are there shadows that block a clear view of the passageway?  The same goes for all your work areas.  Make it bright enough to remove blind spots but not so bright that you are uncomfortable, squinting, and you need sunglasses indoors.  Make sure that all your family members are comfortable with the lighting levels. Everyone should walk all the passageways, verifying that they can “see” well in all the different daily lighting conditions. 

This may be confusing.  All the talk about wattage and temperature and RGB is a little more difficult than just turning on an old 100 Watt light bulb and knowing what to expect.  If you would like to know a little more about LEDs, three New England power companies have a short story that may be of interest.  Click here. 

What about the safety of using LED bulbs.  Google LED safety.  Lots to read and lots of opinions.  Even though the website posted here is a manufactures, the simple answers to questions is refreshing and accurate, based on my knowledge of LEDs.  

Bottom line, light is your friend. It helps you avoid hazards.  Shine as much light on your pathways and work surfaces as you are comfortable with for your health and safety’s sake.  LED lighting safety articles from the web: 

A Safer Working Environment with LED Lighting

LED products that support the safety features noted above.

Lighting – A Major Safety Tool For Your HomeSunco Lighting 6 Pack BR40 LED Bulb, 17W=100W, Dimmable, 5000K Daylight, E26 Base, Indoor Flood Light for Cans – UL & Energy Star

Lighting - A Home Safety Tool To Avoid Falls At HomeLighting - A Home Safety Tool To Avoid Falls At Home

Replace your 100 watt incandescent light bulbs with 5000k bright daylight LEDs

Lighting - A Home Safety Tool To Avoid Falls At HomeLighting - A Home Safety Tool To Avoid Falls At Home

Proper Interior and Exterior Lighting Improves Safety At Home - Let The Hazards Show Us Where They Are - Hazards Are Just Waiting To Hurt Us

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