Downlighting is just that: lighting that shines down to illuminate a space. Down lighting can sometimes be referred to as general lighting. Once it was simply the only light source in a room — that single fixture in the middle of the ceiling. If this is your only option placement and quantity of fixtures are the keys to attaining a balanced lighting level while reducing dark corners. Pot lights are also considered downlighting.
Another important aspect of lighting a space for those with diminishing eyesight is visual cuing. Visual cuing provides an additional reference point for judging distance or depth when entering a space or approaching objects. The lighting at the base of these cabinets or toe-kick lighting contrasts well with the dark floor and midtone cabinetry creating a readily visible contrast. But people will just think it's cool.
Bright idea for dimmed lighting: To make the most of your lighting install the highest-wattage lightbulb possible then dim it down to accommodate the mood and lighting needs. Consider putting dimmers on both overhead lighting and lamp lighting.