One thing we look for here at SeniorSafetyAdvice.com is life hacks and senior safety tips that can make things easier for seniors. For example, getting around in the dark is a safety issue, so if we can give you ways to do so safely, we want you to know about it.
My father kept a small flashlight on his nightstand so he could find his way to the bathroom in the dark, but what if that isn’t an option? Or what if the senior in question has dementia or Alzheimer’s and won’t remember to use a flashlight in the first place? So, when we saw glow in the dark tape, we were hoping it could solve some of these issues.
Does it? Sort of…
We purchased GLOW tape from Purple Octopus (click here to see this product online) because it offered an extended glow time of up to 12 hours. Also, we liked that it was waterproof for use in the bathroom or in the kitchen near the sink.
It has an adhesive backing – you just cut the size you want to use, peel off the backing, and stick it where you want it. It is advertised as being removable, but I didn’t test that. Instead, I used a couple of small pieces of double side tape to put it up because I wasn’t sure if sticking the entire piece to the wall would pull off the paint when I removed it.
For comparison, I also used a small amount of glow in the dark paint on an envelope (click here to see the product online), to see if it was superior to or lasted as long (or longer) than the glow of the tape.
I put the tape around a bathroom light switch and also put a tape arrow on the floor in the hallway outside the bathroom, along with the envelope with the glow in the dark paint. Then, I turned on the lights and left them on for 30 minutes, which is what the manufacturer recommends in order to fully charge the fluorescent paint in the tape.
12 hours later, here’s what I found:
Pros – None as far as the fluorescence. I could barely see the tape on the floor. The light switch already has a blue light in it and that was far more visible than the tape surrounding the switch.
One plus is that the tape stuck to the floor well, so someone with a walker would probably be able to get over it without tripping. Also I don’t think it will peel off too easily if they walked over it repeatedly, but I did not test that so I can’t be sure.
Cons – As I said, the tape was barely visible at 12 hours. Now maybe you wouldn’t need to stay active that long (maybe only 6 or 8 hours if you were using it to guide you to the bathroom in the dark, for example). In that case, the tape would glow more, but wouldn’t be much brighter.
Also, the glow in the dark paint wasn’t any brighter than the tape was at 12 hours.
The tape is stiff (more like plastic than actual tape), so it might be hard to get around something curved or round.
Next – I tried the experiment again, but this time I hit the tape (and paint) with a flashlight beam for two minutes after charging them for 30 minutes with the regular lights in the house. This worked much better – both the tape and the paint were visibly glowing after I did this.
However, they weren’t any brighter and the fluorescence wasn’t any better at 12 hours than when I didn’t do this. And, frankly, how many people are going to stand there with a flashlight and charge their glow in the dark tape every night before they go to bed?
In my opinion, the glow in the dark tape is a fail. It might be useful in certain situations, but not for what I’d hoped for, which was keeping seniors safer in the dark.
Here’s my YouTube video review of the tape: