Before dawn during Thanksgiving weekend, my husband and I had to make an unplanned trip to Connecticut to attend the funeral of a beloved aunt. We were exhausted by the end of the day’s events. That night, we stayed at my parents’ house in my childhood bedroom on the second floor. When we turned off the lights, the entire floor was pitch dark. We both remarked on it, then dozed off.
In the middle of the night, my husband got up to use the bathroom. All of a sudden, I heard a crash. Half asleep, he had forgotten that he wasn’t in our home. He had walked past the bathroom, into the spare bedroom and tripped over some suitcases. In a desperate attempt to regain his balance, he reached into the darkness and grabbed a large dresser mirror. However, the mirror wasn’t attached to anything, and it crashed into the dresser, sending potted plants and framed family photos to the floor. Ceramic planters broke apart like cracked eggshells, and my parents’ carpeting was covered in soil and branches from Christmas cactuses.
Remarkably, my husband was not injured, just a little embarrassed. While we cleaned up, we both agreed that a nightlight could have kept the mishap from occurring. NFPA’s Remembering When: A Fire and Fall Prevention Program for Older Adults recommends using nightlights or a flashlight to light the path between bedroom and bathroom.
In the case of my husband, nightlights and flashlights can also remind overnight guests that they’re not at home so that they don’t get disoriented.