Wayfinding and Dementia Care

Wayfinding dementia

These two environments show the difference between a standard environment without cues, and one with colourful and memorable cues to help a person to remember their way.

Wayfinding is a process where people interpret information from the environment to reach the desired destination. For a person with dementia, the use of Wayfinding cues is extremely important to maintain independence.

Large complex buildings where doorways all look the same, and there is a lack of windows to the outside can be very confusing to a person with dementia. Couple this with poor wayfinding cues feelings of stress, anxiety and helplessness can occur.

Wayfinding Cues

The most common forms of wayfinding cues are colour, contrast, signage and landmarks.

Colour Cues 

  • Bright colours tend to work best, for example, blue, red, green and yellow
  • Use colour consistently in conjunction with other environmental cues. For example, use room numbers and a distinguishing colour to identify a residents room
  • Have bathroom doors a different colour to the other doors to make them stand out

Colour Cues - dementia

Contrast Cues

  • Have doorways a contrasting colour to the surrounding walls
  • Use coloured crockery that contrasts with the tablecloth to help define the edge of the plate

Dementia friendly dining

Signage Cues

  • Signage is the most commonly used cue to help people to navigate from one place to another. To make signs easy to find they should be highly visible with good colour contrast and use both text and images. They should be positioned at the correct height and not surrounded by other signs.

dementia toilet sign hospital

Landmark Cues

  • Landmarks act as focal points within different spaces. They can be created by using architectural elements or by using distinctive artwork or objects at decision points along a route.

dementia environments flower shop


Good wayfinding cues will help a person with dementia remain self-sufficient for longer and reduce the dependability of staff.

A Free Environmental visit to assess your care environment can be booked here.