What is wayfinding and why is it particularly important in a care home environment?
Wayfinding can be defined as spatial problem solving. It is knowing where you are in an environment and the process of knowing where you want to be and how to get there. Wayfinding is particularly important in a care home environment because a common issue for residents with dementia is a decline in orientation, this can lead to residents getting lost in familiar locations.
At Catalyst we recognise that wayfinding is an essential design factor for those living with dementia. In order for us to develop designs that will best benefit your residents we feel it is important for all our staff to fully understand dementia wayfinding. This means that every Catalyst employee has undertaken Stirling University Dementia Design training no matter what their job role.
In light of this we have created our own Catalyst Wayfinding Strategy. We create tasteful wayfinding points that are fully fit for purpose, whilst adding a special touch to the aesthetic of a building.
Aspects of wayfinding can be implemented at two different stages: either in the design of the floor plan and/or environmental cues which consist of signage, furnishings, lighting and colours. The design of the floor plan and working with the architects refers back to our previous blog regarding benefits to engaging early with an interior design company for your new build.
Although there are many benefits to design features in the building structure when this cannot be done there are also many advantages to the implementation of cues throughout the building.
Signs, pictograms and the use of landmarks have all been identified as useful for residents. Landmarks can be anything from art, noticeable objects or wayfinding signs. Unfortunately, it is not quite as simple as just placing a sign on a door or moving an object into a corridor. There are many other factors to consider such as the height of signage, colours and lighting, these are all things that we have extensive experience in and everything we implement has been designed with the specific needs of your residents in mind.
For wayfinding to be effective there needs to be high levels of consistency, cues should remain in their original locations and staff should assist the residents, allowing them to learn the necessary routes whilst utilising the cues.
So hopefully we have explained pretty well why we feel wayfinding is so important for your residents and the ways in which a wayfinding system can be implemented.
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