Design for Dementia Care

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The importance of dementia-friendly signage.

Disorientation, impaired memory and learning are all common challenges faced by people living with dementia and can be distressing and frightening especially if they are adapting to new surroundings such as a hospital stay/visit or moving to live in a care home.

In this situation people living with dementia are more likely to become disorientated. They may have a problem in distinguishing relevant information from irrelevant information, screening out visual clutter and/or a tendency to either not notice signs at all or to read the signs indiscriminately.

Over the next few articles we will be looking at the importance of design in relation to dementia and how by following some basic principles a supportive and enabling environment can be created.

In today’s article we are going to look at the importance of wayfinding and orientation signage.
Good dementia signage can have a significant benefit for people living with dementia, by supporting independence, confidence and wellbeing.

So what depicts good dementia-friendly signage?

Well the first thing is to make sure that what’s important is highly visible and the best way to do this is with good colour contrast and recognisable images.

Secondly, remember the signage should be clear and easily visible

And lastly the sign should not be surrounded by other signs and information and ideally positioned at eye level or lower to compensate for the downcast gaze of many people with dementia.

Complementary Wayfinding Practices
• Make doors different colours for easy identification
• In care homes with similar doors, numbering can help someone identify their own room more easily. Numbers and photos can be incorporated into signage to make it easier for residents to find their room.
• Meaningful pictures such as a toilet or a plate of food should be used on the sign to act as a prompt as to the rooms purpose.
• Ensure signs are durable enough to withstand the rigours of demanding environments
• Signs should be made with a matt finish, as reflections can distort the information.

The over-riding point of effective signage is to make it easy for someone with dementia to find their way around an unfamiliar environment with minimal difficulty promoting confidence, independence and dignity.

dementia-friendly signage The importance of dementia-friendly signage

Download a copy of our dementia signage guide - Aspects to consider when looking for dementia signage or email for a copy or more information.

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