Ingenious Ideas for Overcoming Wayfinding Challenges in Senior Living Environments

Wayfinding Challenges in Senior Living Environments

Have you noticed that senior living communities seem to be springing up everywhere? From independent living, to continuing care, to skilled nursing facilities, these residences for the elderly are increasing in need and popularity as a result of America’s aging population. A critical, yet often overlooked, element in designing these facilities is wayfinding signage. Because this population also frequently has limiting conditions such as visual impairment, hearing loss, dementia and other mental issues, physical disabilities, and more, wayfinding in the senior environment takes on special considerations.

Let’s explore some of the best wayfinding solutions to help residents and visitors navigate senior living communities with maximum ease and comfort.

Wayfinding experiences begin well before entry. When visitors approach your community, can they easily determine identify how to get to main entrance and which door leads to the lobby? Ample (but not overwhelming) directional signage, coupled with architectural elements and lighting, can help to show potential residents and visitors where to enter the building.

Interactive wayfinding empowers your audience. Why not start with an oversized floor plan and create a stunning 2D or 3D rendering of your facility with dynamic turn-by-turn directions? Even expansive and multi-story facilities can be easily navigated with this kind of helpful interactive tool.

Keep your palette in mind. It’s a well-known fact that color can have a significant effect on peoples’ moods. Dark colors tend to negatively impact our dispositions, while lighter, brighter colors tend to generate a sense of wellbeing.

Selecting cheerful colors for signs, while maintaining an appropriate level of contrast, should be a consideration in wayfinding planning.

Let pictures do the talking. An astonishing 25%-50% of retirement community residents suffer from obvious hearing loss, but most can still see well enough to watch TV on a large screen. Because digital displays are easy to program and update, and come in sizes that range from small to enormous, they make the ideal backdrop for directions. Position oversized digital signage screens in entrances, hallways, and any other locations throughout your facility where directions would be helpful. You can also post menus, vital safety facts, details about activities and entertainment, and other important campus information in order to boost resident awareness.

Compliance should always be part of your plan. Even the most practical and attractive wayfinding schemes must also comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), fire codes and other local requirements. ADA law, for example, mandates sign position, finish and contrast, typestyles, character height, and Braille requirements for all facilities with ten or more employees.

Wayfinding audits can put you in the driver’s seat. If you haven’t done so, you may want to consider a wayfinding audit for your community, because it’s such an important influencer in the evaluation by prospective residents and their families. Such an audit typically assesses first impressions and “comfort level” upon initial visit, level of compliance, and how the facility stacks up against others in the area. Putting these recommendations in place can propel your community past the competition and make it a sought-after senior living destination.

Is it time to enhance wayfinding system in your senior living community? The seasoned signage experts at Adler Display can help! From assessments to design and installation, you can rely on our friendly professionals to create a wayfinding plan that works for your unique senior environment. Contact our team today to learn more.

About Adler Display: Headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, Adler Display brings more than 80 years of experience to its clients in need of recognition displays, lobby and corporate interiors, custom exhibits, historical timelines, trade show displays, and signage and graphics. For more information about Adler Display, please visit the website at or call 855-552-3537.