Dementia signage is, by necessity, different to regular wayfinding signage due to the different way a person with dementia perceives visual cues. Dementia signage is therefore commonplace now in dementia environments: care homes, hospitals, day centres etc, but its value is not limited to these specialist environments and if we are to be more inclusive as a society we need to see dementia signage in a far greater range of public spaces.
Every public space can, and should, take steps to be dementia friendly and signage is a great place to start. GP surgeries, community centres, dental clinics etc are obvious places to start but what about shopping centres, railway stations, museums and town centres? Even pubs, bingo halls and cafes should be included (because people with dementia still want to be able to go out and have a social life like anyone else). Dementia signage could make these spaces much more accessible for people with the condition.
One of the reasons that less ‘obvious’ spaces have been slow to implement dementia signage lies in the design of some of the signage on the market. Much of what has been available is seen as garish and somewhat child-like and perhaps not the kind of signage that designers and architects like to specify.
However, it doesn’t have to be like that. Effective wayfinding for people with dementia and aesthetic design do not have to be mutually exclusive, in fact the cartoon-like, brash images usually associated with dementia signage are often counter-productive because they’re not representative of what people expect to see in that space.
Good dementia signage is also good signage, so in many spaces it can be all things to all people and because it can also be aesthetically pleasing it can fit perfectly into any design scheme.
It’s important that people live well with dementia and making public spaces more accessible can make a great contribution to this.
If you would like to make your public space more dementia friendly, please call us on 01274 728831 or send us a message.