As mum was coming home, I needed to signpost key rooms and the contents of wardrobes and drawers. You can get such signs so that the person living with dementia can find their way around the home independently, and can find personal belongings more easily.

I looked into buying signs from specialist suppliers, but decided they looked ugly and clinical. However, if you do want to buy yours I think these removable labels from Unforgettable are the best. I didn’t want to make mum’s home look like an institution, particularly given I was taking her out of one. So I made my own. I created these as PDFs (below) in case anyone wants to print and use these in their own home. I might do more in time.

SignsWendy Mitchell, a woman living with dementia, describes how she has made simple adaptions to her new home to make living there easier (in this video). She painted around light switches to highlight them. I have borrowed this idea for mum’s bedroom. Also, if the signs on wardrobes and drawers don’t work, I will put photographs of mum’s clothes on the respective storage places, as Wendy did.

 

 

For doors

Toilet (PDF)

Toilet-sign-cropped

For wardrobes

Dresses & coats (PDF)

Dresses&coats-sign

Skirts & blouses (PDF)

Skirts&blouses-sign

For drawers

Underwear (PDF)

Underwear-sign

Nightwear & vests (PDF)

Nightwear and vests sign

8 thoughts on “Dementia-Friendly Door and Drawer Signs

  1. That’s excellent Julia. Are the signs working well for your mum? Always interesting to see DIY solutions being put into practice

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    1. Thank you Alastair. Occasionally I think they are helpful but it’s difficult to really say if they are working. Sometimes the signs seem to reaffirm what she already thought anyway, sometimes she seems to know where the toilets are (from knowledge of living here previously) and other times she simply doesn’t see the sign and walks into the wrong room. Same with the ones on the drawers and wardrobes. I am not sure if she is just taking a punt when she opens a drawer or if she saw the sign. However, she seems to be working things out for herself, and not having to ask which hopefully all supports her independence. J x

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  2. These are lovely. At Innovations in Dementia we are currently engaged in some research testing new versions of various symbols with people with dementia. The symbol that has been developed for the toilet, through two stages of testing is strikingly similar to yours using three dimensions and coloured floor. Great minds must think like ha ha ha

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  3. I posted signs earlier on for my husband and they were so helpful. Now, he cannot find the bathroom even though there is a sign on the door. And, I have to guess what it is he is needing to do. Usually, he wants a drink, a snack, to have his TV turned up, or to find the bathroom. Sometimes he talks like he wants to go outside and do it. I draw the line at that. If I get the right guess, I just point him the way. Sometimes I have to lead him in to show him where it is. The progressive part of dementia is difficult on everyone.

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    1. Yes, I am not sure the signs have helped my mum at all. When she is looking for her bedroom I sometimes point at the sign on the door to reinforce the message she lives here, its her room etc. but I’m not sure she’s ever noticed it on her own. Like you I am often trying to prompt to help her decide what it is she needs when she gets up, and goes looking. The signs in her bedroom have helped carers find clothes for her in the mornings – so that is something!

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