You can't rely on the brightness of the moon or street lamps to illuminate outdoor spaces. As we age, our needs change, and specific aspects of our everyday lives require some extra attention.
One area that often goes overlooked is outdoor lighting. You may have never thought about it before, but the proper exterior lighting can make a world of difference when it comes to aging in place successfully.
Statistics show that about 90% of adults 65 and older want to remain in their current homes for as long as possible, also known as aging in place. But as we age, our vision declines, and our mobility can become challenging. That's why the correct type of outdoor lighting is crucial for older adults who want to maintain their independence and safety at home.
So, let's shed some light (pun intended) on outdoor lighting ideas with a focus on the unique needs and challenges faced by seniors.
Benefits of Outdoor Lighting
Safety and Security
First and foremost, outside lighting provides a sense of safety and security. Well-lit pathways and entrances decrease slips, trips, and falls, which can be especially dangerous for older adults.
Adequate lighting also deters potential intruders and enhances your property's overall security.
Outdoor lighting enables navigating surroundings more easily. Illuminated pathways make it easier to move around at night, reducing the risk of getting disoriented or injured.
Brighter lights and clear visibility help identify potential obstacles or hazards, such as uneven surfaces or low-hanging branches, before encountering them.
Lifestyle and Wellbeing
Outdoor lighting enhances overall quality of life in numerous ways. It allows enjoyment of outdoor spaces and engagement in activities such as gardening, walking, or socializing during evening hours.
Improved visibility at night promotes a sense of independence and confidence, enabling a more active and fulfilling lifestyle. Proper lighting makes you feel more comfortable and secure around your home, making your living environment more enjoyable and supportive.
Expand Living Space
Exterior areas expand living space, especially in warmer climates and certain times of the year. If your home or apartment is small, additional square footage in the form of a porch, patio, or yard can significantly enlarge your outdoor living space possibilities.
Outdoor lighting is a great way to maximize enjoyment of outdoor areas. Properly designed and installed lighting can add safety, security, ambiance, and décor to any exterior space. Consider these outdoor lighting ideas.
Home Aesthetics and Curb Appeal
If you ever thought, 'Wow, that property looks so good, but I'm not sure why,' it's probably because of a well-designed outdoor lighting plan. Using the proper outdoor lights in the best places dramatically changes a home's appearance and curb appeal when it's dark outside.
Popular Types of Exterior Lights
Motion Sensor Lights
One often overlooked aspect is the use of residential motion sensor lights. These lights are convenient and add an extra layer of security. With motion sensor lights, you never have to worry about fumbling for a switch in the dark. Whether coming home during nighttime hours or simply stepping outside for fresh air, motion sensor lights ensure you are guided and protected.
Dusk to Dawn Lights
Dusk-to-dawn lights have become increasingly popular as a great outdoor lighting solution in recent years. They are perfect for illuminating your outdoor space throughout the night while remaining energy-efficient and cost-effective. These lights automatically turn on when it's dark outside and turn off when the sun rises. This way, you don't have to remember to turn them on or off!
Another essential consideration is pathway lighting. Aging in place means maintaining our freedom to move around our properties, so having well-lit paths to navigate safely is important.
Pathway lighting can also add aesthetic appeal to your outdoor space, creating a warm ambiance that enhances the overall experience. Path lights can be staked along a walkway or incorporated into the edges of a paver or paved path.
Solar lighting is a popular option for environmental reasons, but more reliable outdoor light sources exist for safety purposes. Low-voltage LED lights use little energy and produce consistent light regardless of natural light and weather conditions.
Outdoor Lighting Considerations for Seniors
Correctly placing your outdoor light fixtures is essential. You want to add ample light to dark spots and critical areas such as entrances, outdoor steps, and walkways. At the same time, avoid any glare that could be annoying or unsafe, especially for older adults with more sensitivity to excess glare.
Outdoor lighting ideas for stairs and entrances can include installing light fixtures such as wall sconces on either side of the entrance or steps, Overhead lighting such as recessed lights into the ceiling and soffit, and positionable spotlights or floodlights along both sides of the stairs or entrance.
Wall sconces will provide ambient light, while spotlights and floodlights highlight certain features of your home or landscape.
Other ideas include installing rope lights along the sides or edges of the stairs for a soft glow or hanging string lights from trees or poles.
Lights can also be added to individual steps and underneath railings.
Durability and Weather Resistance
Durability and weather resistance are critical for all lighting exposed to outdoor elements. Ensure that any lighting fixtures installed outdoors are rated for outside usage, as this will ensure their safety and optimal performance over time.
Energy Efficiency and Cost Savings
An increasingly popular option is LED outdoor lighting, as it offers many benefits when compared to traditional lights. Thanks to their long life span and low maintenance requirements, LED lighting options are an excellent choice for affordable outdoor lighting.
Design ideas and possibilities are endless. LEDs can be used as primary or accent lighting around your home's exterior, such as your front porch or backyard deck. These lights come in many shapes, sizes, and colors to create almost any lighting design imaginable.
Smart technologies have revolutionized the lighting industry, bringing a new level of convenience and energy efficiency to indoor and outdoor lighting designs. Smart devices and systems now allow homeowners to control their lights from anywhere in the world with a smartphone or tablet app.
From changing colors and dimmable light levels to setting schedules and automating lights based on motion detection, these systems make it easier than ever to customize your home lighting indoors or out.
Conclusion and Next Steps
Outdoor lighting goes beyond beauty and convenience; it is essential for older adults who need plenty of light to age in place successfully. With the right lighting strategies, you can enhance safety, improve accessibility, and create a more enjoyable outdoor environment.
Home lighting, whether indoors or outside, gives the best bang for your renovating buck. So, why not go outside this evening and see where you can improve poor lighting to achieve your desired ambiance and independence?