Improve Lighting for Seniors and Safety – Aging in Place

Improve Lighting for Seniors and Safety – Aging in Place

Lighting is an integral part of our lives, and good lighting can improve the way we live.

Good lighting improves the quality and safety of our lives. Each room or area in your home has its own purpose and appropriate lighting can make the room safe and comfortable, or dim and challenging.  Assessing when and where specific levels of lighting is needed, such as bright in the day, softer in the evening, focused for reading and studying, can help determine what fixtures should be used where, and how much light will be needed. Good lighting is essential to the safety and quality of your life, and optimizing it can be easy with design.

Light comes in different forms, and from different sources. We want to make sure that the appropriate level of light is accessible where it needs to be.  For example, when someone is cooking in the kitchen, bright light is optimal for reading recipes, chopping vegetables and measuring ingredients. An under-counter light fixture providing specific targeted light is helpful with these tasks. Later, the meal may be served in the kitchen, where an ambient light is more appropriate. Ceiling mounted lights, can fixtures and pendants can be appropriate here. The objectives can be met with dimmer switches and bulb strength, different fixtures or a combination of all three. Adding control features to fixtures, bulbs and windows helps to adjust the levels needed at the moment.

Assessing Light Sources and Needs

Natural light is a great resource, and can be optimized easily. Windows may be big or small, have shades or not, depending likely they may face in a direction where there is no direct sunlight. Light can bounce off of shiny surfaces like polished countertops and tile floors. Ceiling fixtures may throw broad light around the room while pendant lights in the kitchen will add a focused beam. (Levels of light can come from the variety of light bulbs available at the local hardware stores can determine how much of the right light is in each room. Controls like dimmers can help provide the right level of light at the right time. Different lamp shades will make a difference, too.)

Start with the rooms that are used the most; the kitchen, bathroom and living area. While in each room, consider where the action is that might need bright and focused light. Determine where the light is coming from and where what controls might help to optimize it.

Kitchen Lighting

Specific tasks in the kitchen require bright light for reading recipes, chopping veggies and measuring ingredients. Under-counter fixtures can help add the right level to make these activities easier on your eyes and safer for your fingers.

Wireless are inexpensive and won’t need an electrician for installation. They run on AAA batteries;

Safe senior lighting

Wireless LED Puck Lights

Safe lighting for seniors

These dimmable lights plug into the nearest outlet.


Ceiling Mount Lights

Other activities in the kitchen don’t require such intense amounts of light. Overhead can and ceiling mount fixtures work great.

Safe Kitchen Lights

These can fixtures are in many homes.


Safe lighting


Inexpensive options for ceiling mount lights

More expensive

Good lighting


Track Lights Provide Flexibility

Each head can be aimed where you want it.

Safe levels of light

Each head can be aimed where you want it. These might be great for a breakfast bar where heads can be pointed at specific areas or for a general source. This fixture looks nice, too. A benefit of track light is the option of the moving the light fixtures angles.
Safe lighting levels

Make sure fixtures work with dimmer switches for light level control. These are examples of multiple levels of light sources to use alone or together.

The Bathroom

Bathrooms are the second most used rooms in the house. Bright lights are needed here, but too much light can cause glare off of shiny faucets and mirrors. Most often, the bathroom will have a central overhead light, and a row of lights over the sink. Dimmer switches help adjust the level that’s needed between brushing teeth to shaving.

Lighting for homes

Side lights around the mirror give good light which isn’t as harsh as overhead fixtures. This approach is a nice way to get enough without glare;

Safe lighting for seniors


Low level lights, like this rope light under the toe kick of a cabinet can add just enough light for the midnight visit when a blinding bright is unwelcome

Safety Rope Lighting

The Living Room

Everything from reading to watching tv and entertaining happens in the living room. This space may have one or several windows. Adding layers of curtains like sheers to thicker material provides control over the level of natural light coming into the room.

Safe lighting


Shades and blinds work well too;

Safe Lighting Venetian Blinds


And these Cordless Blackout Roman Shades

Safe Natura Shades


Floor lamps and table lamps can provide the brightness needed to make reading comfortable.  

Safe Light for Seniors


Reading light for seniors


Other Lighting Solutions

Lightbulbs and Switches

Controlling levels of light  is an easy way to manage light levels. Bulbs come in many types, colors and levels. Here’s a helpful guide to understanding the different types and a good resource for learning about the variety and uses of bulb colors.

Improve light bulb selection

Local hardware and lighting stores are great resources for help with bulbs and dimmer switches. Rocker, touch light and other easy to use are easiest for all ages and abilities.

This switch is technologically advanced and will work with Amazon’s Alexa voice activated ability.

Safe lighting

Wall sconces add ambient light help light hallways and big rooms;


Safe lighting sconce


Halls, Stairs and Handrails

Halls and stairways can be tough places to manage, especially without proper lighting. Make sure to clear away all of the “stuff” that accumulates on floors and stair treads for safety. Light fixtures along the baseboards of long hallways rope lights can be added to handrails for better vision. There are lots of options for wireless fixtures that are easy to use. See some of the options at the beginning of this article.

Wireless hall lights for safetyExterior Lights

Safety starts outside the home. Make sure that the front access is clear of clutter and well lit. Solar fixtures are great for adding light without having to hire an electrician. Important areas are to illuminate are the front door, and your house numbers for emergency vehicles to see, as well as your visitors.

lights for seniors exterior


Good lighting is essential to safety and comfort in a home, for every age. Assessing where different types of lighting and control options is the right place to start designing a plan to improve lighting options. Solutions for improving lighting such as fixtures, switches and window coverings don’t have to be expensive. They just need to be implemented.


Need help with figuring out what will be the optimal lighting in your home? Contact me and start designing your plan for safe lighting.

Susie provides design and building solutions for people who want stay in their homes safe and independent.


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