Senior Lighting Checklist - Aging Eye & Visually Impaired

Use this checklist to begin your lighting evaluation. Click Here for Printable PDF.  Make text bigger | Make text smaller

Exterior Lighting

  • House numbers – illuminated for guests & emergency personnel
  • Walkway – illuminate changes in surface, elevation, and curves in the path of travel, clear plants blocking light
  • Stairs – light top and bottom stairs and landings using porch light, illuminated handrail, step lights, avoid direct glare
  • Front porch – diffuse light to reduce glare and see visitors
  • Front door – guests, doormat, doorknob, keyhole
  • Secondary entrance door – doormat, doorknob, keyhole
  • Parking – pathway to building
  • Garage – transition into building


Interior Lighting

  • Entry – welcoming and bright
  • Hallways – transition lighting between rooms
  • Stairs – light top and bottom stairs and landings
  • Art & Photographs – bounce light off walls into room, avoid glare with attention to aiming angles
  • Reading – task lighting with proper aiming angle or audio books
  • Stereo and TV controls – bright light for dark lettering and small print, or keep flashlight handy
  • TV & Computer Screens – block reflected glare from lights & windows, use accessibility features and large monitors, add layer of ambient light
  • Telephone – Big button phones with lights that flash for incoming calls available from
  • Living – layers of light for variety of activities
  • Dining – bright light for food and beverage, increase contrast with white plates on dark place mats
  • Kitchen – tasks - measuring, chopping, cooking, cleaning - mark key positions on stove and appliances, increase contrast, pour coffee into white cup
  • Counters – light for setting things near the edge
  • Bathroom – mirrors, bathing, makeup, shaving, warm tone nightlight
  • Medicine Preparation – read prescription medicine, ability to distinguish between similar colors, label with dark marking pen
  • Shower – wet listed fixture
  • Bedroom – layers of light for relaxing, napping, reading, TV, suitcase packing

Finishes & Materials

  • Switches – many options - illuminated switches are easy to find in the dark, 3-way switches for both ends of stairs and hallways, remote controls, dimmers, non-dim for fluorescent and LED, timers and solar sensors for exterior entry lighting, motion detectors for seldom used outdoor pathways
  • Night time path – circulation lighting, consider adaptation time, consistent light level between spaces, warm tone night lights
  • Night lights – warm tone for healthy circadian rhythm
  • Flashlights – ready for power outages
  • Contrast – avoid visual confusion from distracting patterns or due to poor contrast between walls and floor
  • Direct Glare – evaluate line of sight into fixtures, cover exposed bulbs with diffuser, avoid clear bulbs.
  • Reflected Glare – relocate light or task to eliminate reflections, minimize shiny surfaces
  • Shadows – avoid hard shadows, they look like edges or steps
  • Skylights – can balance and increase daylight and can create harsh shadows, add diffuser for softer shadows
  • Paint – lighter colors - Light Reflectance Value (LRV) ceiling 75-90 walls 60-80, matte finish to reduce glare
  • Window coverings – let light shine through sheer or diffuse materials
  • Floor coverings – non glare, subtle pattern, light colors
  • Cabinets – white interior
  • Closets – color balanced source 82+ CRI (Color Rendering Index)
  • Hobbies – light for tasks and safety
  • Wood Shop – Use new electronic ballasts in fluorescent fixtures to prevent a strobe effect. The old-fashioned magnetic ballast might make a rotating blade appear to be stationary.
    [Scott Landis, Shedding Light in the Shop, Jan-Feb 1993, American Woodworker , pages 23-26]


Contact us to plan your lighting upgrades for your new or existing home.  

Do not exceed the lighting fixture manufacturer’s wattage limits. 
Hire a professional to install or rewire your lighting equipment, see links for contractor recommendations. 
With adequate lighting you will enjoy your favorite activities in safe, well designed spaces.


Visit our other visually impaired and senior lighting resources: Aging Eye Science | Aging Eye Solutions | Lighting Design Service


The content of this web site is provided for general informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by a medical professional. This information is not intended to diagnose or treat medical problems or substitute for appropriate medical care. If you have or suspect that you have a medial problem, promptly contact your healthcare provider. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeing them because something you have read in this web site. Trish Odenthal Lighting Design makes no claims whatsoever regarding the interpretation or utilization of any information contained herein. If you utilize any information provided by this web site, you do so a your own risk and you specifically waive any right to make any claims against Trish Odenthal Lighting Design, the author or publisher. Consult your physician before making any changes.