How to Properly Light a Kitchen for the Elderly


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Our vision can worsen as we age. Some will need glasses because of their decreasing ability to focus. Another person’s eyes can get denser and yellowish, affecting how they see colours. You can experience this by gazing through a yellow filter. Notice that you see better in a brighter room, but too much light causes an irritating glare.

With that being said, the eyes of the elderly require a different approach to lighting. You can alter lighting to help people in their retirement years to see better and feel better. This must be implemented in the busiest areas of the house like the kitchen. Here’s how you can age-proof your kitchen lighting:

“Up” Lighting

Up lighting means that you illuminate the kitchen ceiling.

Illuminate ceiling

Use a T5 fluorescent or LED light if your kitchen has a recessed cove ceiling. These are the one of the strongest, brightest, and most affordable ceiling light available in the market. Using it guarantee a brightened ceiling which allows light to bounce and reflect throughout the space with no glare. It’s more effective when the kitchen receives a lot of natural light.

For kitchen cabinets that don’t touch the ceiling, consider installing lights above the cabinet. The light that hits the ceiling will be reflected, subtly illuminating the space.

Shiny countertops

With the increasing sources and level of light, you have to eliminate the glare. Avoid shiny countertops! Give preference to countertop materials with a matte finish.

“Down” Lighting

As the term denotes, down lighting aims to shine down on a space. This is known as the general lighting approach. Before, people are satisfied with a single light fixture in the middle of the room. Now, we strategically place it in a space to get proper and balanced lighting.

Down lightning

If you find the counters underlit, install under cabinet lights. Use it as your task light while preparing or cooking food. Pendant lights over the kitchen island and the dining table are also considered task lighting.

As we age, we will need lights that are two to five times stronger than we use when we’re young. The Adelaide architects of Superdraft Pty. Ltd. in Australia recommend using Xenon light bulbs or LED lights because it helps the older eyes see colours accurately.

All-Around Lighting

This is a combination of down and natural lighting. It’s up to you if you want to rely on sunlight to brighten the kitchen space during the day. Down lighting alone keeps your kitchen remains well-lit at night.

All around lightning

Visual Queueing

This is optional—you can install this if you think you are in need of assistance in judging the distance or depth of something on a space.

Visual queueing

For example, these toe-kick lighting can guide a person in getting stuff out of the kitchen island storage. The dark cabinetry contrasts heavily with the bright light and lightly coloured flooring. Other than that, this visual queue is cool and awesome.

Lighting plays an important role on an individual’s health and wellness, especially during retirement years. Installing the right kinds of light in the kitchen makes it workable, even if you’re 65 years old and up. The best part? It also makes the kitchen design visually appealing to all. 

Author bio:

Charlene Ara Gonzales is a design writer from Superdraft Pty. Ltd., the leaders in architectural design in Australia.