Age-Friendly Homes Small Changes

Age-Friendly Homes – Small Changes Series – Tip #2 – Lighting – (Article 1 of 3)

Time to ditch old light bulbs that no longer provide enough light

Adjustment #2: LIghting

When is the last time you changed your lighting at home?

And we don’t mean replacing a blown bulb – We mean upgrading those old compact fluorescent bulbs that never ‘die’.  You, or your loved ones, probably have one lurking around the mirror in your bathroom, in the garage, on the landing or perhaps even in the kitchen. They are the bulbs that take a while to warm up, sometimes flicker and produce a dim, yellow-white light.

What is wrong with them?

Compact Fluorescent Bulbs are those curly tubes that fit a standard light bulb fitting or the long tubes on the ceiling. They were once hailed as the energy efficient alternative to traditional tungsten bulbs, and many of us still have them in our homes.  And indeed they did / do use less energy. But they also degrade very quickly and produce a very poor quality and level of light after a relatively short time.

The impact of Poor Quality Lighting

The older we are, the more light (and the better quality light) we need to stay safe and stay well. For example, research shows that our 40 year-old selves need twice the amount of light (light level) compared to our 20 year-old selves; and our 60 year-old selves need twice as much again. But we rarely take this into account as we age.

In extremis, poor quality light and low levels of light can cause permanent eye damage. On a daily basis, unsuitable lighting causes eye-strain leading to headaches and tiredness.  Poor lighting also makes it more difficult to see hazards, read the instructions on medication packs and operate controls.

But simply replacing the outdated compact fluorescent bulbs with any-old LED just won’t do. They need certain qualities to them to make for a better lighting solution.

Good quality lighting has 3 main features:

  1. Good Light output. (We measure light levels in Lux)
  2. A High Colour Rendition score. (This is how accurately we see the true the colour of something under the artificial light, when compared to the same object in daylight)
  3. Low flicker (Even imperceptible flicker can cause eye fatigue)

And then on top of this you can choose what kind of colour ‘temperature’ the lighting has. Do you want Warm white lighting (a yellow-gold glow) that is reminiscent of dawn and dusk or a fireside? Or do you want Cool white (a blueish light) that more closely replicates daylight, or something in between?

A particularly good example of a light-bulb manufacturer and range is the Philip’s Eye Comfort Lighting Range. They are available from most good retailers.

And if you are looking for top-quality reading lamp, you should take a look at Serious Readers, the specialist reading lamps company.

This is the first in our series of 3 Lighting articles to help you bring a bit more brightness to the darker days.

In another series of articles we also look at the benefits of Daylight and sunlight on our health and well-being.

Click here if you missed our article Adjustment #1: Rugs and Mats

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