Good lighting in the home is important for many reasons. It is often the first point to consider when thinking about general safety – many accidents can be avoided simply by having clearly-lit rooms and spaces. The right lighting can also make a dramatic difference to comfort and emotional wellbeing, so consider:
- Is there good lighting in all areas of the home? Consider not only the rooms, but the spaces between them – hallways and corridors, stairways, and even walk-in cupboards and pantry spaces.
- Are light switches easy to find, and in a convenient place to be used when entering and leaving each room, corridor or stairway? If this is not the case, consider having additional light switches fitted by an electrician.
- Are all the light bulbs working? Replace any light bulbs that aren’t working straightaway. Keep a spare stock of light bulbs in a place that is easy to find, access and remember.
- In addition to main lights, consider having lamps within easy reach of frequently-used spaces: for example, next to a favourite reading chair in the living room or on a bedside table.
- Plug-in lamps can also take advantage of remote controlled socket adaptors (see below).
- Wall-mounted, battery-operated lights can be a good (and cheaper) alternative to installing new electrical wiring. These come in a variety of styles and are operated by switch, pull cord or even movement sensors. They are well-suited to cupboards or outdoor spaces.
- Indoor motion sensors can be fitted to activate lights, which can be helpful if your relative gets up in the night.
Electrical Safety First, the UK's electrical safety experts, have lots more information about safety around the home on this page.
Bending down low to reach power sockets can be challenging if your relative has reduced flexibility, particularly if the sockets are positioned behind furniture. Arthritic fingers and hands can make gripping plugs just as difficult. Here are some options that may help your relative:
- Wall-mounted socket extensions: these can be fixed at a convenient height to save bending down. If your relative prefers to pull plugs out of the socket when the device isn’t in use, use hooks or clips to hold the plug and cable in place – otherwise plugs can fall to the floor, and your relative will have to bend to pick them up. Alternatively, ask an electrician to install additional sockets at a more convenient height.
- Plug pulls: self-adhesive handles can be attached to plugs, making them easier to remove from the socket.
- Remote controlled sockets: these plug into existing sockets and can be used with any device that has a three-pin plug. Using a remote control handset, you can turn the devices on or off from the comfort of your own chair, as long as the plugs remain in the remote controlled sockets. You can buy these sockets in packs of up to four with a single handset that controls each socket individually.