Seniors who live in Houston, Texas, and the surrounding areas get to take advantage of more natural light than their counterparts in other states. This is extremely fortunate because as we age, we need more and brighter light in order to see properly. Learning to maximize natural light can help seniors move around more safely and effectively indoors.
How Our Eyes Change as We Age
As we age, our eyes undergo natural changes, all of which affect our vision.
Changes in vision may be due to the following:
Loss of peripheral vision
Presbyopia (hardening of the lens)
Decreased ability to see color
Vitreous detachment causing "spots" or "floaters"
The most common change, however, is a decrease in pupil size.
Eye specialists estimate that the retina of a 60-year-old typically receives one-third the light of a 20-year-old's retina...The smaller opening of the pupil with age, a condition known as senile miosis, markedly limits the amount of light falling on the retina. The disorder may be most serious in dim light, because the aging pupil's maximum diameter may only be one-fourth that of a younger eye. (NCBI)
Baggy or drooping eyelids often compound the problem.
Because eyes naturally catch less light as we age, we must ensure that our seniors not only enjoy homes and pathways that are well-lit at night but also that they maximize the amount of natural light available during the day.
How to Maximize Natural Light
Everything is bigger and better in Texas. That includes the number of sunny days each year. The geographical location of Houston is positioned near the equator leads to a particularly bright and strong brand of sunlight.
We can help our seniors to maximize the benefits of Texas' powerful natural light by taking just a few simple steps.
Encourage them to keep daylight hours. Sometimes seniors don't sleep well, leading to them keeping odd hours. If they get their days and nights turned around, they're much more likely to be napping during the day and moving around in the middle of the night. In order to enjoy the benefits of natural light, we should do what we can to help seniors solve their sleep issues and keep a circadian rhythm.
Replace heavy curtains. Heavy curtains and draperies have always come in and out of vogue. Though they're less common here in Texas, some of our seniors still have them installed in their homes. Whether they're attached to them or have just kept them through force of habit, encouraging your seniors to replace them will go a long way toward helping them enjoy the benefits of natural light. In their place, consider installing a set of hanging blinds that are easy to open and close.
"Set up shop" near windows. Sometimes something as simple as moving a senior's favorite reading chair or breakfast table into a pool of natural light can make all the difference.
We Can Help
To learn more about helping our seniors maintain a high quality of life during the aging process and enjoy independence in their own homes, please feel free to contact us. We’re dedicated to serving seniors in the Houston and Harris County community.
We would love to connect you with the resources and help you need. Together, we can help our seniors thrive.