The importance of orientation and signage

Creating a calming environment for a person with dementia helps to avoid and orientation aids are recognised as being helpful in this approach.

Orientation aids assist the person with dementia by making the task they need to perform easier.

Orientation to date and time

Clocks can assist a person with dementia who finds it difficult to know the time or day of the week. There is a complete range from orientation clocks which display the day, date and time, to clocks that display day and night.

Orientation signs and notices

A variety of visual aids and signs can help a person to find items or rooms in the hospital. More information can be found on our wayfinding page.

Orientation artwork

When a person with dementia has a long hospital stay they often struggle to make sense of their environment.  By using local photography a link to familiar surroundings can be created.


Using colour alongside other orientation cues can help emphasise what is important.

High Contrast Colour: – Drawing attention to something that is important can be done using contrasting colours. For example, to draw attention to the toilet, a door- cal could be used to highlight the door area. And a contrasting toilet seat could be used to help with positioning.
Low Contrast Colour: – The opposite effect can be achieved by lowering the contrast. A feature which you may not want patients to be attracted to, such as staff rooms or storage cupboards, can be disguised by choosing colours which match the background e.g. a white door on a white wall.

Is your hospital dementia-friendly?

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.

Click to book a free visit


(Source Kings Fund 2014, Alzheimer’s Society)