Signs Can Save Lives
Following on from last month, we often take simple things for granted, such as knowing our way around our home or understanding where the bathroom is located. Let’s then consider an elderly person with dementia who is living in a new and unfamiliar environment; finding something as simple as a toilet outside their own bedroom can be a real problem.
Architect Martin Quirke from Stirling University has just written a very interesting article called, 'Signs can save lives'. Martin says “…we really only tend to notice our reliance on the information we get from signs when they are absent or fail to be helpful. When we do realise the extent of our reliance, it’s probably true to say that we don't tend to consider ‘ordinary’ signage to be a matter so serious that it might affect our health – yet, for people living with dementia, the impact of signage can be precisely this serious”.
Research at the University of California revealed in 2008 that stress hormones can rapidly increase cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease. From our perspective, signage and wayfinding is a vital part of the design process and it’s importance should not be under-estimated.