Simple changes can help a person with dementia maintain their independence.
We often fail to appreciate how important signage is in our everyday lives. It enables us to interpret, understand and manage both new and familiar environments. Everyone has a ‘cognitive map’, which is a mental picture of the places that are familiar to them. When an environment is not familiar, we become reliant on signs to help us navigate. Living with dementia makes any new environment daunting and even familiar places can feel unfamiliar, leading to distress and agitation.
With the clever use of signage, you can help those with declining cognitive abilities to make the right decisions when finding their way around, and help them to maintain their independence.
The University of Stirling research, states “the care environment can be made more supportive and enabling by introducing some simple changes and additions. The first is to make sure that the things that are important are highly visible and well designed. Well-placed signage can play a fundamental role in reducing distress, maintaining independence and improving overall wellbeing.”
So, what is good dementia signage?
Good dementia-friendly signage :
· is to be fitted to the door (not the adjacent wall)
· is to be fitted 1.3 metres above the ground; signs should be fitted in the line of sight. A person’s height can reduce by six inches as they age.
· has clear lettering that is easy to read and understand; a capital letter at the beginning of a word, followed by lower case. We recognise words by their shape
· includes quality images to help identify the purpose of a room. This is particularly important for those people with dementia who can no longer read, as well as those for whom English is not their first language and those with learning difficulties. Using images rather than sketches means the pictures are clear and easily recognisable for those with sight impairment as well as memory issues
· is not to be surrounded by other signs and information
Free Dementia Environmental Visit
We understand it can be difficult to know where to start and how to implement environmental changes for the maximum benefit of all involved in the process that is why we offer a FREE Environmental Visit which will provide you with all the recommendations you need.
To find out more complete the form on the link below and one of our advisors will get back to you.
More information on the importance of orientation can be found by visiting DSDC