electrician, electrical service needs
Written by Larry Cook

Lighting Concepts to Aid the Physically Challenged

Providing care for those with disabilities can be challenging. Well-designed lighting can create a home environment that is safer and more accessible. The following are several concepts regarding lighting that supports this notion. Consult with a licensed electrician regarding installation for safety.

Accessible Light Switches

Light switches that are hard to reach are a common problem for people who are physically challenged. Typically, light switches are installed too high for those in wheelchairs. Light switches are also located at the rear of counters, preventing access. Principles of universal design advise that light switches be installed at a height of 36 to 44 inches and not at the rear of counters. 

Lighting the Way

Lighting needs are greater for those with spatial navigation issues, including poor vision.  Ground track LED lighting along hallways and outdoor paths significantly improve safety. Lights should be installed flush in surfaces to prevent tripping.

Other good light locations are around grab rails, door latches, stairs, and banisters.

Minimize Glare

Wheelchair users often have to deal with lights shining straight into their eyes due to their lower positions. Light fixtures installed beneath cabinets or pointed at a particular angle result in the same vision issues. Locating lights at lower positions or using fixtures that decrease glare are two solutions.

Motion Sensors

Another method of lighting design that promotes access and safety is through the installation of motion sensors. The presence of well-placed motion sensors, especially in bathrooms and outdoor locations, improves safety by making it unnecessary for those with disabilities and/or poor vision to search and fumble for light switches.

Rocker-Style Light Switch

A great option that should not be overlooked is the large rocker-style light switch that is much easier to use than a conventional light switch. It will provide increased accessibility for individuals with diminished fine motor skills.

Electrical Peace of Mind

Providing professional electricians since 1988 in Maryland, Cook Electric is the company you can rely on for all your electrical service needs, including:

  • Commercial & Residential Electrical Installations
  • Marina & Residential Pier Wiring
  • Electrical Service & Repair
  • Specialty Electrical Services

For knowledgeable, fair, honest, reliable, and conscientious service, call Cook Electric today at (410) 266-9040. We will be very glad to help you.