Pop quiz: at which time of the day are falls the most dangerous? Most falls occur while the sun is out but falling at night has the most lethal consequences since environmental awareness is at its worst in the darkness.
Did you know that the famous singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen passed away in a similar manner? The 82-year old musician experienced a fall in the middle of the night but reassured himself that everything is all right, and so he then returned to his bed, fell asleep, but sadly never woke up again. This story proves that nighttime accidents can be lethal, which is why adequate lighting throughout the whole building is a must-have, especially for seniors.
Types of Night Lighting
Having the right type of light source installed in the right places is essential, otherwise you will just be wasting money. Putting a lamp that must be manually switched on at the far end of the bedroom is pointless, because the elderly resident will still have to navigate through the room in complete darkness to find the switch. As such, here are some options for your consideration when it comes night lighting.
Motion Night Lights
Motion-activated lights are among the most recommended options for seniors. They conveniently light up when the someone enters their field of vision, sparing the person from searching for the switch. However, the hands-free nature can be downside too, since people can be startled when the lamps switch on without notice.
Touch Night Lights
Touch-based night lights usually sport a round, flat design that provides a large surface for the users. Wherever the senior touches the lamp it will switch on thanks to the multiple sensors built into the device. These are highly recommended for Alzheimer’s patients because of the ease of use, or any senior whose fingers aren’t as nimble as they used to be.
Night Lights With a Timer
Designing lights to turn themselves off after a certain period of time is very prudent, considering that seniors suffering from forgetfulness could amass a huge electricity bill if they leave the lights on accidentally. Motion-activated lights are known to feature a timer, but many also offer the option to specify the exact timeframe.
Torch Night Lights
If the elderly resident cannot afford to install a series of automatically activating lights that lead from the bed to the bathroom, then the best alternative is a portable torch. Carrying a flashlight grants seniors the freedom to illuminate any area they like. Just make sure that they have spare batteries lying around, otherwise they may end up fumbling about in the darkness.
Where to Place a Night Light
The placement of these night lights requires some strategic thinking. First and foremost, the bedroom must be illuminated in an easy manner. A flashlight placed within hands-reach or a touch-sensitive lamp can provide enough light for the senior to find their slippers and reach the door. The hallways, too, should be covered with lights that brighten up gradually to avoid blinding the poor residents. Place the switches within a short distance or, even better, install motion-activated lights.
As for the bathroom or kitchen, stick to regular lights that are bright. Avoid motion lights or lights that have a timer because it can’t be known how long the senior will dawdle about the room. If the lights go out too soon, the elderly person will then have to struggle to reactivate the light, might make a wrong move while trying to reach for the switch or even start to panic.
Recommended Night Lights for Seniors
Night lights are fairly common commodities so you’ll find them plentiful in any hardware store or in an online store. The following products represent a good start for any senior who might wish to make their home a brighter place.
Sycees Plug-in LED Night Light Lamp
Ivation Emergency LED Light & Torch
RTSU Rechargeable Touch Light
TK LED Night Light
Toilet Night Lights
Preventing Falls Before They Occur
It should be emphasized that night lights alone cannot safeguard a senior’s well-being. In case the elderly resident is prone to falling, other preventive measures must be implemented as well. For example, consider installing grab bars next to the toilet and on the bathtub wall, placing a special bench in the shower, or giving a gift of slippers or socks with a sticky lace to your relative. If they live in a multi-story building, consider investing in a staircase lift.
Unfortunately falls cannot be taken out of the equation completely, and all of these solutions just lower the risk of that happening. But when a fall occurs, the elderly need to have a way to effortlessly call for help even if they are lying on the ground. Medical alert help buttons are very effective at this since they connect the injured person to a monitoring agent who then dispatches the paramedics. The service is made complete with a fall detection button, which contains refined sensors that will detect when the wearer collapses and sends an automatic distress signal to the headquarters.