Tips for Creating Signs

//Tips for Creating Signs

Tips for Creating Signs

Sign for Montessori for DementiaCognitive mapping is our ability to visualize where we are in a certain space.  It allows us to park, go into a store and find our car again, or find the bathroom at night without turning on the lights.  People living with dementia have impaired cognitive mapping skills, so they look for cues in the environment to help them find their way.  A cue is something that tells us what to expect.  It gives us information that triggers the right pattern of behavior.  For example, a table set with a placemat, utensils, and a napkin is a cue that lets us know a meal is about to happen.  Signs can also be cues.

Discuss this with your care team:

What cues are in the environment that help people find the living room, dining room, and their bedroom?

What cues are in the environment that help people know what is happening during the day?

Discuss what cues are missing that should be added and make a list.

When creating signs follow these guidelines:

  • Find out if the person was able to read prior to experiencing memory loss and make sure the person can still read before designing any written cue.
  • Use a sans serif typeface A sans serif typeface is one that does not have the small projecting hooks or tails called “serifs” at the end of strokes. Examples of sans serif typeface include the fonts Arial, Calibri, Tahoma, and Times New Roman.
  • Use a capital letter at the beginning of the word followed by lowercase letters. If writing a sentence, the first word should begin with an uppercase letter, and the rest of the words should begin with a lowercase letter. Avoid text that is all capital letters.
  • Color should be used in conjunction with other environmental cues, and the information being communicated through color should be consistent. For example, all dining room signs should be the same color.
  • Use room numbers and a distinguishing color for resident rooms and doors to enhance orientation.
  • People over 65 indicate a preference for blue, red, and green, in that order. The colors can be used for landmarks or the background of signs if the lettering is white.
  • People with dementia indicate a preference for signs with a colored background over signs with a white background.
  • To emphasize signs, use brighter colors (using hue, value, and chroma) and higher contrast with the background wall.
By | 2018-04-05T18:37:36+00:00 April 5th, 2018|dementia|0 Comments

About the Author:

Jennifer Brush
Jennifer A. Brush, M.A., CCC/SLP has been working for over 20 years to change the face of dementia care in hospitals, assisted living communities, nursing homes and home care. Prior to establishing her own practice, Jennifer served for many years as the Executive Director of IDEAS Institute, a nonprofit organization that improves the lives of older adults through the conduct of applied research. She is an international speaker and recognized speech-language pathologist known for her work in the areas of memory, swallowing, and environmental interventions for people with dementia. She has served as the Principal Investigator on applied research grants that have examined issues pertaining to dementia, hearing impairment, dining, dysphagia, and the long-term care environment. Her research and consulting in the area of environmental modifications has resulted in improved functioning for people with dementia. Jennifer offers interactive and educational presentations and coaching that help clients bridge the gap between current research findings and the care needs of people with dementia. Jennifer Brush is the co-author of four books: Creative Connections in Dementia Care™; I Care; Environment and Communication Assessment Toolkit™ (ECAT) and A Therapy Technique for Improving Memory: Spaced Retrieval. She is the author of Meal Time Matters and Meal Time Matters at Home, training programs that build nursing assistants' and home caregivers' skills related to dining, swallowing disorders, and safe feeding assistance. Jennifer has authored over 25 articles in peer-reviewed journals, served as guest editor of the journals Seminars in Speech and Language and Perspectives in Gerontology, volunteered as Chair of Professional Development in Gerontology for the American Speech Language Hearing Association Special Interest Group, and was an editorial reviewer for SpeechPathology.com. Jennifer is a member of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association and the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI). Jennifer is honored to be appointed by the Executive Director of AMI to serve as an inaugural member of the Advisory Group for Montessori for Aging and Dementia. This group is responsible for writing the AMI standards for Montessori dementia programs. Jennifer presented her research in the area of dementia at the first international conference for Montessori environments for dementia in Sydney, Australia in 2014, and spoke at the annual AMI meeting in Amsterdam, Netherlands in 2015. She will return to Sydney in November, 2015 to speak about creating supportive environments for the aging.
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