Signage for people living with Dementia project

Showing the way: Developing an evaluation framework for signage for people living with dementia

This project is being undertaken in partnership between the Dementia Centre and The University of Edinburgh.  

People living with dementia frequently experience levels of disability in excess of what might be expected from their disease. This excess disability is primarily imposed upon them through poor environments. There is anecdotal evidence that appropriate “dementia friendly” signage increases the independence of people living with dementia and helps them to function with greater dignity and safety in their communities and residences. However, the language used when discussing signage and wayfinding can be ambiguous and there is no agreed method of evaluating what good signage for people with dementia is, or where it is most appropriate to use signage. 

The overall study aim is to develop an evaluative framework to:

i.    evaluate and test the efficacy of signage for people living with dementia, and
ii.    guide the development of new forms of signage for use in dementia and aged care settings, and the wider community.


The objectives to achieve these aims are:

Development of a taxonomy of signage
Key terms around signage from the academic literature, regulatory authorities and design terminology will be listed and defined. Currently, terms used around signage, wayfinding and cueing are all different and provide potential for confusion. This will provide a useful list and classification for future research and a common language for communication across jurisdictions. 

Development of an evaluative framework for signage in dementia care environments and the wider community  (which will be informed by the taxonomy) will include:

    a)    identification of measures to be tested
    b)    development of methods to be used within the evaluative framework  

If you would like to discuss the project in more detail, please contact the Dementia Centre on +61 2 8437 7355 or click here to email us

This project is funded through a Dementia Collaborative Research Centre grant.