We all rely on signage and we can be guilty of underestimating the importance of it.
Signage is a wayfinder – something to help us safely navigate the world around us.
In essence, using signage is a natural instinct.
Since the beginning of time animals and humans alike have taken directional cues from nature.
Getting from point A to point B is difficult without something to show us the way, or even our location.
Some animals overcome this with an incredible inbuilt sense of direction!
Did you know that a Sahara Desert Ant is able to walk in a straight line for miles?
By comparison, humans have a faulty internal sense of direction… a blindfolded or disorientated human will walk in circles.
As a species, we’re susceptible to losing our way even in an environment that we’re familiar with.
This makes us more reliant on signage and finding other ways to help us find our way.
Using landmarks to find our way
When we lose our way, our natural instincts kick in and we rely on mental-mapping and memory recall to help us find our way.
The part of the brain that controls these skills is called the hippocampus.
We use landmarks to determine our location, our destination and how to get there.
The term “landmark” here isn’t exclusive to famous buildings – it can be a school, a particularly big tree or even your staircase.
Navigation relies on the hippocampus retrieving memories, but it’s not always as simple as that and that can cause us to lose our way in familiar surroundings.
Simply put, it’s possible to recognise a landmark but be unable to recall where from.
Mental-mapping and memory recall can become more challenging if damage occurs to the hippocampus.
The hippocampus is usually one of the first areas that Alzheimer’s disease will damage.
Alzheimer’s makes it harder to recognise familiar objects, create new memories and learn new information.
With our vision and hearing pathways running separately, a person with Alzheimer’s may emotionally respond to a landmark, but be unable to recognise it or pair it with directional information.
As a result, someone living with Alzheimer’s is prone to confusion within their own home.
Seeing a landmark from a different angle that the hippocampus can’t recall can also be very disorientating.
Depending on the progression of the disease, this can make daily life just as disorientating, if not more, than life would be for us without signage.
Signposting is an excellent solution to help someone when they’re lost and disorientated in their own home.
Our range of dementia signage eases orientation around the home by design.
The colours, typeface and icons we use are researched and specifically selected for universal understanding and contrast.
Visioncall’s dementia signage is beneficial within the home, ensuring that everyone can navigate safely through their home.
To browse our range of dementia signage, click here.