Room Lighting

5 Mistakes Family Caregivers Make About Light
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Light is too often taken for granted. Good lighting in the home, and ample exposure to light, can boost mood, improve health, and help avoid accidents such as falls.

Here are five overlooked aspects of lighting by family caregivers:

  1. Not replacing burned out lightbulbs. Younger eyes may adjust to a newly darkened corner for the days or weeks it can take to get around to changing a bulb, but your older loved one will suffer.

  2. Not paying attention to night lighting. At night, an illuminated path to the bathroom, and a low-watt nightlight there, will help your loved one minimize the risk of falling.

  3. Buying in to the argument that light is "bad for my eyes." Many older adults want the curtains drawn and the lights low, complaining of sensitive eyesight, claiming privacy concerns, or simply feeling more secure in a dark, cave-like coziness. A need for utter darkness is rarely a medical reality, though. In fact, lack of natural light can lead to depression and vitamin D deficiency -- not to mention making you feel more depressed yourself. Some research has shown that exposure to light, on the other hand, may slow cognitive decline and the loss of functional ability.

  4. Getting into power struggles over lighting. Lighting is important enough to make it nonnegotiable. If it's your home, make good lighting and lots of natural light a given. Let your loved one keep his or her own room dark if preferred, but insist that the rest of the house be bright and airy.

  5. Not bringing persistent complaints to an ophthalmologist. If your loved one complains about bright light consistently, have an eye exam to rule out or treat any possible problems.


over 3 years ago, said...

Acknowledgment that "night" lighting is important. We have bathroom night lights as well as living room silk trees that are covered with lights all night, and often I wonder if they're really important to have on as much as we leave them on. We frequently keep a 3 yr. old grandson overnight, and feel that it helps him too.


over 3 years ago, said...

This is very eduactive. Thanks


over 3 years ago, said...

There are some medical problems that require a person to have restricted light. My wife is a dementia patient and she also has a severe eye problem and her ophthalmologist requires low lighting in any room that she is in.


over 4 years ago, said...

Verifying that light is almost always better was good to hear and making sure it is nonnegotiable in my home. Also knowing that it can slow cognitive decline. Also the reminder to replace one of two bulbs in bathroom.


over 4 years ago, said...

This article just confirms what I already do. I try to replace burned out light bulbs as soon as possible.


over 4 years ago, said...

A very good and fair article for both sides especially as, wherever possible these days, we definitely need to conserve all energy; though in my own experience it's many of the younger generation who really don't care where power comes from or how they abuse it by having lights on - even when they're out!! I have real problems with light, be it artificial or natural. My problems stem from stomach medication as well as epilepsy; It takes me a while to even be able to open my eyes in the mornings and putting a light on is absolutely out of the question for some time.


over 4 years ago, said...

I have a night light in the main bathroom, living room and kitchen and I just leave them on all the time. I LOVE light but in the summer the sun is kept out until it no longer is directly coming in the windows. Then I open the blinds and close the ones in the west. Works for me! You know so much of what we should do is COMMON SENSE!!!!!!!


over 4 years ago, said...

some technical details otherwise above two points are common sense points and nothing new and last point is not supported by enough details


over 4 years ago, said...

@ deeanne2 ~ there are ways you can control the switch. Speak to your electrician so that you can actually use a system like mine, salt lamps that radiate a soft light and only use a small bulb at night. I leave my salt lamps on 24/7. Nobody is ever in darkness and yet it is not keeping you awake as this is a soft light.


over 4 years ago, said...

Hi Deanne2, You know your husband's situation better of course. My Dad turns on every light in the house too and I discovered it was because he could see better with his cataracts with the lights.


over 4 years ago, said...

My husband has the opposite problem; he goes around and turns on every light in the apartment. Even with the new more efficient light bulbs I think this is wasteful but I can't dissuade him with logic so I just go around and turn them off, except for the necessary ones. Once I awoke in the middle of the night to find every light in the apartment on.


over 4 years ago, said...

Keey in mind that people who have had cataract or retinal surgery are often MUCH more sensitive to light, so keep this in mind


over 4 years ago, said...

Once my husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2003, I installed salt lamps in every room of the house. It not only provided a soft light for him to be able to navigate in the night but it also provided automatic air dehumidifiers throughout the house. My husband, whom you can see at remembering4you.com, has a habit of clearing his throat several times a day. After he had his own small salt lamp in his room, the throat clearing problem went away.


over 4 years ago, said...

I unanimously agree with you on lighting issue which you've mentioned above.It is too useful info.