Dementia signage

Clear and helpful?

We have to do better than this. I’m not going to name and shame. The hospital in question recognises that this is not ideal and wants a more coherent and less confusing ‘designed’ solution.

Sadly I often come across this kind of thing — ‘dementia friendly’ signs added as an afterthought, all be it with the best of intentions.

As with many medical conditions, a dementia diagnosis is not a one size fits all.  It is well documented, more and more of us will be living with the condition, working and enjoying leisure time.  Signage has been identified as one of the key areas that can assist people to function in the built environment, along with lighting, colour and layout.

Organisations are becoming increasingly aware of the need to make appropriate provisions, including those in our core sectors of healthcare, community, cultural and living spaces.

Plan of action

In 2018 I set out a plan of action for Picto to be better equipped to understand the needs of those living with dementia and how best to incorporate best practice into our work.

Since then we have completed a number of specific dementia care facilities, starting with Haven Court, which at the time was the largest dedicated dementia facility in the UK, working with Studio LR and South Tyneside NHS Trust.

We are building on this experience and improving our knowledge. Picto now include this user group as part of our standard check list of considerations at the start of new projects and are working with our clients to find ways to make their signage as inclusive as possible.

Alnwick Playhouse became the first building in England to incorporate a new set of inclusive symbols which have been tested by people living with dementia.

The BSI is fast tracking changes to their BS3800 series – the design of an accessible and inclusive environment – to incorporate neurodiverse conditions including autism, learning difficulties and dementia. The new guidelines will include lighting, acoustics, flooring, spacial design and signage.

First published on Sarah’s Notebook | 24th February 2018