If your elderly parents are moving into your home, your top priority will be making your house as safe and comfortable for them as possible. Given that seniors are more likely to suffer injuries and falls than younger people, good lighting is imperative when it comes to creating a low-risk environment. In particular, your bathroom lighting should be carefully considered.
The risk of falling is increased when you add water to the mix, and good lighting is one of the best ways to negate this hazard. Adequate lighting is also essential for daily tasks that improve quality of life. Put your bathroom through this ABC lighting test to decide whether or not it will be safe and comfortable for your parents to use.
A Is for Appearance: Light Your Mirror
Young people aren't the only ones who care about their appearance. Daily rituals like shaving and applying makeup are important to many seniors too. Appearance-related activities allow your parents to exercise independence and feel good about themselves. Given that many of these activities take place in the bathroom, you'll need to light your mirror correctly.
Generally, the best way to light a mirror is with wall lamps half-way down either side. This will keep your parents' whole faces lit without causing shadows that could lead them to make mistakes or hurt themselves. Dimmable lights are a great option as they allow you to adjust the mirror lighting according to the time of day, reducing the risk of too-bright lights reflecting off the mirror and disorienting your parents.
If your mirror doubles up as a medicine cabinet, make sure there is adequate lighting inside the cabinet door so your parents can see their medication clearly before taking it. At worst, accidental overdose can be fatal, but even in less serious cases it can cause disorientation, which leads to falling and injuries.
B Is for Bedtime: Install Night Lamps
As the body ages, it's more likely to suffer from problems like a weak bladder or urinary incontinence. It's highly likely that your senior parents will need to use the bathroom at night, whether it's occasionally or frequently. That's why it's important to make sure you have soft night lighting to guide them to the WC amenities.
You can start by adding wall lights in the corridor from your parents' room to the bathroom; lights that are on a timer or activated by darkness are best. In the bathroom itself, consider installing a dimmer on your main light. It can be difficult for elderly eyes to adjust to bright lighting at night, and they could even become disoriented or fall as a result. You can also add small lights to sinks, toilets, showers and baths to gently illuminate the essential areas.
C Is for Curtains: Consider Blockages
Whether you have a bath, shower, or both in your bathroom, it's a good idea to use curtains to prevent spillages that could lead to slips. However, you also need to keep in mind that curtains, frosted glass, and other bathroom fixtures can block light from certain areas. If the lighting is too dim when your curtains or screens are closed, your parents could be at risk in the bath or shower.
If you do have light blockages in your bathroom, consider adding extra ceiling lights above the dim areas. Waterproof luminaries can be installed above a bath or walk-in shower to gently add light and bring the whole room up to the same level of light.
Remember, even if your bathroom meets the criteria above, these precautions will be useless if your lighting isn't in top-notch condition. If you're experiencing any issues like flickering or loose connections, call in an electrical repair team before moving day to ensure everything's in order in time for your parents' arrival.