Monday, July 23, 2007

Beware the easy fix for increased lighting

One of the common issues we experience as we age is that we need more light to see clearly--especially the print of important things like medicine bottles, food packages, and, in my case, the daily crossword puzzle. The best way to get this additional lighting varies by what we need it for and by the condition of our eyes. But one solution that is never a good one is to shove higher wattage bulbs into fixtures that are not rated for them. Doing this can cause burns and fires.

I say this and many people scoff--what can be the harm of a brighter light bulb? Mountain out of a mole hill, they say. Well, witness this customer we helped out last week who called to have some water damage around a light fixture repaired. When our handyman got there, he found not water damage but heat damage. The owner had installed 100 watt bulbs in a closed fixture rated for 60 watt bulbs. Not only was the ceiling scorched and discolored, but the plastic junction box and wires were "crispy." The potential for a fire was very real.
Just a reminder that if more light is in your future, upgrade your fixtures to handle it. Also, consider putting them on dimmers so that you don't waste the wattage when you don't need it.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Study reinforces the value of home modifications

I came across this data at Cynthia Lebrock's website. Cynthia does us all the favor of reviewing a lot of academic articles and providing a synopsis of the findings. The data came from a longitudinal (meaning data collected and tracked over a period of time) study by the university of Michigan. Researcher Kyung Sook June showed that while disabilities increased the likelihood that the person will relocate into an institutional setting, the presence of basic home modifications like shower bars, ramps, lifts, etc. decreased that likelihood. Interestingly, the presence of a caregiver did not decrease the likelihood of relocation to an institutional setting. Since this data set was collected a decade ago, a reasonable hypothesis would be that improved product and design solutions and increased acceptance of home modifications would make these findings all the more true today.