What would you guess is the main cause of death among the elderly?
It’s not old age and it’s not health complications. If you already knew it was falling, we’re impressed.
According to a recent New York Times article, falling is the number one cause of death among the elderly population. If you find this shocking, you’re not alone. But when we break down all the risks and causes of falling cases, it starts to make sense.
There are two main causes of falls in the elderly that relate to lighting:
The first one is lightbulbs. They go out, it’s inevitable. However, when a light bulb goes out, if no one’s there to fix it, people become used to less light and often never get around to it. The more time spent in dimly lit spaces, the more likely a person is to trip over something unexpected.
The second cause of falling due to insufficient lighting is within stairways. People of all ages fall when walking up or down stairs, but this can be detrimental for the older community. Stairways are places that are often exceptionally difficult to change lightbulbs, and also present the obvious risk of falling when dark.
Luckily, there are many precautions that the elderly and their family/friends can take to reduce the risk of falls when it comes to lighting. Many of them are so simple and yet people don’t think to implement them until they see the negative effects of not having taken steps sooner.
Take a look at our list of tips to help prevent you or your loved one from falling:
Change the Bulbs
Lighting is often the forgotten solution to elderly falls. But it’s simple, the more they can see, the less likely it is for them to fall or trip. But you don’t want to just install any kind of light bulb, you want to make sure you’re getting the best and longest lasting bulb to avoid them going dim too quickly.
Long-life LED bulbs and fixtures help to eliminate the need to climb up on ladders or reach up to higher places. Eliminating the need to change light bulbs more frequently helps solve the problem of losing balance and falling while changing them out.
Longer lasting light bulbs have plenty of benefits to offer besides just having a more prolonged life. Because they are more efficient light bulbs, they can save the user money on their energy bills. Long-life LED bulbs don’t heat up as much as other bulbs and therefore don’t heat up the house, which means the AC doesn’t have to work harder to keep the house cool.
Step It Up With Step Lights
Step lights are a great to install into a home to prevent falls for the elderly. Stairs are a real risk to elderly people who struggle with balance and seeing well, so providing a little extra light could be a real life saver.
Many step lights have built in photo-cells that turn on and off automatically so the user doesn’t have to remember themselves! This is extremely helpful especially at night time when it’s more difficult to see.
It’s important that a stairwell is the brightest place in an elderly person’s home so that there is never any difficulty distinguishing steps.
Going up driveways, walking up the porch steps, getting in and out of the car, all of these are obstacles for elderly people and if they’re trying to do this when it’s dark outside, that’s just an equation for disaster and risky falls.
You can help make grandma and grandpa’s yard look stunning while decreasing the likelihood of falling at the same time by installing landscape lighting. Landscape lighting not only looks great, it’s also a huge safety upgrade.
And the best part about landscape lighting?
Quality lighting for landscape is low-voltage meaning it doesn’t require as much effort or extra complicated electrical runs in order for it to work.
Increase the Lumens
Most homes are simply not sufficiently lit for the elderly. An easy fix to this problem would be to increase the lumens in the home. What do we mean by that?
A lumen is the total amount of visible light that is emitted from the bulb. So if it’s increased that means the lighting is brighter, therefore making it easier to see. On average, the lumens should be doubled in most rooms and dimmers should be installed so that the level can be made comfortable in any room.
Not only will changing the lumens in a home help a person see better and help prevent falling, it can also help with depression and sleeping better which happen to be massive problems in the elderly community. Having more light has been shown to boost a person’s mood and being able to dim the lights in the evening can help a person fall asleep easier.
Upgrade to Remote Control
We live in an incredible age of new technology that can be used to really benefit the elderly. New devices like remotes, motion sensors and smart switches can make it easier for the elderly to control their lighting without having to stumble around in the dark.
Having this kind of technology is especially useful to install in areas like the bedroom and bathroom. As we age, our bodies struggle to stay asleep during the night due to restlessness, needing to use the bathroom and other reasons. The chances of tripping and falling are much more likely if a person has to shuffle around in the dark to find a light switch.
Having a remote control light switch near the bed is a great way to ensure the safety of the elderly. A small remote can be easily placed on their nightstand where they’ll be able to easily reach it and have access to the lighting in their room. For the bathroom, motion sensors are a good way to go so the lights turn on and off automatically.
Simple upgrades like these can help make the lives of the elderly so much easier and safer.
Here’s where We come in.
At KBL Design Center, we know that lighting is far more than a light switch or decoration. It not only brings brightness and healthier living into your home but acts as a safety mechanism for those that need it most. Our lighting experts are here to help maximize the amount of light in your home to help you see better and enjoy life more fully. We are able to walk anyone through the best types of lighting for elderly homes and living situations. We’ll show you tips and tricks to add light to spaces you never thought of, and bulbs that last what feels like a lifetime.
Preventing falls among the elderly can be easily avoided, and lighting is one of the first steps to ensure their safety and wellbeing.