Dementia-friendly tourism

Interface supported Scottish Dementia Week earlier this month by highlighting a business-academic project to help people with dementia find their way around more easily.

Award-winning design company StudioLR observed that public buildings like hospitals and medical centres frequently display badly-designed signage which could be especially confusing for people with dementia – estimated to be 90,000 in Scotland and rising. 

StudioLR wanted to tap into the latest research to inform an improved design, and Interface was able to match them with two universities – the University of Edinburgh and the University of Stirling – for a feasibility study on a new approach. The partnership led to the development of a set of guidelines for creating consistent and effective signage, to increase independence and wellbeing for older people and people with dementia in care homes, hospitals or public places.

The signage developed by StudioLR can be applied within the tourism industry as well, for example making visits to tourist attractions easier and more enjoyable for people with dementia, their carers and families.

Following a presentation which StudioLR made at the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions conference, Interface’s Sector Engagement team is working to bring a group together to explore ways to build dementia-friendly tourism across Scotland. 

The group will be made up of individuals from within the dementia community, academics and tourism businesses to consider the challenges and opportunities for tourism businesses in providing a dementia friendly product or service, with a view to developing a collaborative research project.

Any group or project will involve people with dementia and their carers at an early stage, taking into account their thoughts, opinions and experiences.

Any organisations from the dementia community, academics or tourism businesses who are interested in finding out more can contact Suzanne Dawson, Head of Sector Relationships at Interface, Suzanne.dawson@interface-online.org.uk