Keep it simple, safe and reliable.
Although I am not an elderly person myself, I do however understand that it is very important for the elderly to have a reliable flashlight nearby. Not just for power outages, but also for general tasks around the house! Once someone gets accustomed to using a flashlight around the house for general tasks, it is more likely he/she will be able to use it when it is most needed, like in emergencies or power outages.
First I'll give you some food for thought. Please contact us when you found any other good alternatives.
Points of consideration (food for thought)
- Must be reliable (should withstand a drop and should be able to run till the batteries are dead)
- Runs of ready-to-use batteries (alkaline batteries might be good here. no 18650 lithium ion batteries unless built into the flashlight)
- Simple user interface (on/off, or High-Low-Off)
- 1 Button/switch (no twist, rotating ring, 2 button use, lcd screen, bluetooth app etc.)
- Fewest modes as possible ( 1 to 3 modes is ideal)
- Not too bright and not use too many amps (high powered flashlights can possibly cause fire and skinburns)
- No special modes (no strobe , SOS, or hidden modes)
- No electronic lock-out (this is a common feature with flashlights that have an electronic side switch. Once this lock-out is activated the person can think the batteries are empty or the torch is broken. It could also leave them in the dark....when it is least desirable)
- A little bigger in size (depending on the place the flashlight is going to be stored. But generally speaking a little larger flashlight is preferrable over a small pocketable one. Smaller ones get much easier lost)
- Available with a flashlight stand or a flashlight holder (flashlight holder like a wallmount (brackets) ,so the flashlight is always in the SAME PLACE which is very, very important for people who lose things easily and have memory problems.
And the flashlight stand could be a charger, as long as it is difficult to take the light apart to 'replace' the batteries by the elderly person)
- No electronic switches (not only because you never know how fast they discharge the batteries in the stand-by mode, it also usually indicates the User Interface has more options than needed for an elderly person. This is the case in probably 90% of lights with an electronic switch.)
- 2 is 1, 1 is none (If you don't want to get a big light, get multiple smaller lights and put them in easy-to-find places, or even make flashlight stands for them.)
- Add some glue (or thread locker) (for the person's safety you could glue the tailcap if the light has a battery built in. This way you protect the flashlight from being opened and replaced with the wrong battery, or inserted wrongly)
- You could also remove the anodizing (most flashlights are only available in black. In that case you could take the flashlight apart, and de-anodize it with sandpaper. You could also do it with chemicals like Sodium hydroxide - AKA caustic soda, but you need to be very very careful doing that)
- Glow in the dark stickers or paint (how easy is it to locate the flashlight when the lights suddenly go out? Not easy, in most cases. I even use glow in the dark stickers on my own flashlights! Also have a look at Turbo Glow.. this is pretty new, and even more brighter and longer lasting than normal glow in the dark products.
- Or use trits (tritium vials look a lot like glow in the dark, but it can glow for 15 years without a recharge. You could add that to the flashligth itself as a locator. A con of trits is that they are expensive, and I have never seen a place where you can safely dispose them)
- Add a paracord, lanyard (especially if it is colorful)
Recommended Simple flashlights
I would suggest trying to see if there is already a flashlight around the house. If there is an incandescant flashlight, you can replace the bulb with a LED PR bulb drop-in. I mentioned quite a few on the maglite upgrade page.
I don't think you should ever considere buying a lihtium powered flashlight from eBay to give to an elderly person! Instead, I would suggest to stay away from lithium powered flashlight which use cells that need to be charged outside of the flashlight. In some cases, flashlights with built-in lithium batteries could be okay, as long as there is NO way to open the flashlight or mistake the lithium batteries with normal disposable batteries.
During my research for simple flashlights for the elderly, I found out this is a daunting task. The amount of "simple flashlights" is limited. Only the Maglite really falls in the easy to use, easy to locate flashlights for the aged.
The good old 3D-6D maglights still have something to be said for, especially the older version with drop-in bulbs... They are very easy to use and pretty tough. The good thing about these older lights is that you can replace the bulb with a LED drop in, as I mentioned earlier. You can even buy a replacement LED bulb and put one in the tailcap as a spare. I believe the newer version have the LED built in, and if they fail, you can't easily replace the LED! But even those are still great for the elderly because of the reasons I mentioned above.
- No lithium batteries
- There is no special driver, so it reduces the amount of parts that can fail
- Simplest user interface ever, On/Off
- Only 1 powerswitch for On and Off
- There are no strobes or other "hidden" modes that can cause problems
- You can use disposable batteries. I know some people who throw away rechargeable Eneloop batteries, or try to charge Alkaline batteries! Keep this in mind.
- The maglites are large enough, and make it more difficult to "forget" or "lose"
- There are wallmounts available to easily locate the flashlight at all ties (and even a wall charge system including the ML150LR models and MagChargers)
- The are available in all kinds of colors. This makes them easier to locate when they go missing. (except for the rechargeables, which are only available in black)
Maglite flashlights, (non-led) so you can upgrade them to LED pr bulbs for cheap and keep some LED upgrades as spares.
The LED Maglite flashlights. The only negative about them is that you can't change or upgrade the LED easily.
Maglite Wall Mounting Brackets! Can be used with other lights as well!!! Very handy.
Replacement bulbs, not only for maglite but for all kinds of lights that use normal incandescant bulbs. Can be had for $2 - $10 a piece.
Rechargeable Maglite ML150LR
I still have my good but old trusty Klarus P2A at home. It is a 2-mode flashlight. Twisting the head give a High and Low. You could glue the head so it would always stay in 1 position. The tailcap switch is used to activate the light. The problem though is that it is relatively small and black..
Not recommended rechargeable flashlights for the elderly
To finish this page, I'd like to take the time to go over a few flashlights I wouldn't recommend for the elderly. There are a few other lights made by Nebo, (Nebo Redline RC 6392) that seem to have a charging dock, but I wouldn't recommend them with the many modes and strobe function. It can startle the person and can make the situation even worse.
Stay away from the following:
Other flashlights with charging docks that I would not recommend to aged people, who tend to have more difficulty memorizing (new) things, are:
- Fenix RC20
- Reason: It has 2 switches and 2 operating modes.... Fail.. 1 Switch for off-on, the other to change modes. Long press is strobe.. just a bad UI for older people.
- Olight S30R baton III / Olight S10R baton / Olight M2T Warrior
- Reason: It has too many modes, with a UI that includes a long-press etc.. you don't want that for them. This will be too complicated.
- Olight R50 Pro Seeker
- Reason: One of the main reasons being the "Electronic Lockout".When you press and hold the switch for 2 seconds, the Olight will turn into the Electronic Lockout mode. This is a major problem for older people. And on top of that, it is too bright when accidentally switching to Turbo mode. Great for the average flashlight freak, not so much for the elderly.
- Olight i7R
- Reason: It is too small and therefore too easy to loose.
- Nitecore R25
- Reason: It has 2 switches that complicates things. Plus it has a "Strobe switch" which you don't want for an elderly person to activate by accident.
- Streamlight 74395 Strion LED HL
- Reason: It has an extra rechargeable Lithium Ion battery outside the flashlight, which can be mistaken for a different battery and you don't know what will happen to that.