Finding Your Way with Dementia

Not knowing where you are headed can be frustrating and unnerving, which can cause some pretty anxious feelings. Finding your way to that unknown location is actually quite a complex process. Before arriving at your destination, you have to know where you are, the name of your destination, follow the best route to that destination, and recognize the destination once you arrived. Don’t get too excited, you also need to find your way back.

For a person living with dementia, not being able to reach some places in their environment (such as a bathroom, a closet, or a fridge) can negatively affect their quality of life. When someone with dementia can’t find these locations, they can become frustrated or anxious. This can lead to a barrage of different response behaviours.

WAYFINDING is a system that helps us navigate or find our way to a specific location with ease. Simple signage that includes pictures, bold words, directional arrows, sensory cues, and colours are examples of wayfinding. These wayfinding tools assist those living with dementia by providing clues to location and direction. Used effectively, they promote independence to them while contributing to their safety and wellbeing.

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