Once the kids have flown the coop, many empty nesters downsize their life. Seniors may simplify their lifestyle and buckle down to live life on a stricter budget.
While there are areas where you can cut back, you shouldn't skimp on important safety items like adequate lighting -- especially as you get older. Lighting is crucial to preventing falls and eye strain and helps you see properly. Here are some tips to help you see clearly:
Evaluate your lighting needs
Assess your lighting situation by looking at how much light you currently have in and outside of your home. Is there adequate light available for activities such as reading? Is it too dark outside your home to safely see the stairs or walkway? How much sunlight enters your home? You might be unknowingly blocking it from entering. Let the sun shine in by opening curtains, pulling up shades and keeping windows clean.
Types of fixtures
Look for lamps with rocker switches, which are large enough to be turned on if your hands are full or if you have poor hand and finger strength. They can be turned on with an elbow, fist, thumb, umbrella or cane. Also choose fixture styles that clean easily and are easily accessible enough for you to change the bulb. Ceiling lights with bulb covers may look pretty, but they are often hard to change and clean. And, if one of the bulbs burns out or if the fixture is dirty, it won't emit the right amount of light.
Add additional fixtures if necessary
If you find you need more light in your home, be sure to add it to all the right spots, indoors and outdoors.
Lighting outside your home at night deters thieves from entering and prevents trips or falls on dark stairs and walkways as you enter your home. Stairways should be completely illuminated.
Incandescent lighting fixtures work well indoors. Place extra fixtures in work areas such as the kitchen or home office. You should have enough light so you aren't working in shadows.
Don't put unnecessary strain on your eyes by reading in poor light conditions. Put reading chairs near the window or increase the lighting in reading areas. Use three-way bulbs so each household member can choose their own lighting level.
Nightlights aren't just for kids. Use them near the bathrooms and in bedrooms, especially if you tend to make a few trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Follow bulb wattage recommendations
Bulbs come in a variety of wattages so you need to check what's recommended for your particular lighting fixture. Don't just buy the highest bulb wattage possible to maximize your light output: The fixture could catch fire.