Any Disability campaign

New signs designed by people with dementia to help navigate public toilets, lifts and exits

'Any Disability’ is a campaign that aims to improve toilet accessibility for people who have both physical and non-visible conditions.

People living with dementia can sometimes find it challenging to navigate their way through public spaces. Signage for toilets, exits, lifts and waiting areas often includes confusing symbols or information. 

As part of the ‘Any Disability’ campaign, new signs were co-produced by people living with dementia to make it easier to navigate these everyday destinations. The fifteen new symbols represent a variety of rooms or facilities. 

'Any Disability’ aims to make this signage a British standard and for it to be rolled out nationwide, raising awareness about non-visible conditions among people who do not have a disability.

Any Disability campaign - new design

This new design is one of a set of fifteen everyday symbols

Grace’s story 

In Scotland, Grace Warnock was stopped by a group of men for not, in their minds, having the right to use the accessible toilet. They assumed this due to the fact Grace did not appear to be physically disabled.  

Grace has Crohn’s disease, an invisible inflammatory condition that often means she requires toilet facilities at short notice.   

Grace was upset after this incident but felt determined to change the way society sees people with a hidden disability. She kickstarted this campaign and contacted Martin Whitfield (@MartWhitfieldMP), her local MP. 

9 out of 10 people would stop somebody who does not appear disabled from using an accessible toilet. 
- Crohn’s and Colitis UK research

These incidents are hugely problematic for people with dementia. Many older adults find it difficult to go about their everyday lives because of the lack and inaccessible nature of publicly available facilities.

Where public toilets are provided, poor design, infrastructure and confusing signage are often barriers for independent use. This is in addition to stigma and negative attitudes to non-visible conditions.  

For people affected by dementia, carrying out day-to-day activities, such as shopping or meeting friends in the community, is very important. Not being able to do so can lead to social isolation and a loss of independence. 

Let’s make a difference 

These new signs have been rigorously tested. The team behind ‘Any Disability’ is now working with Alzheimer’s Society, British Standards Institute, Government and businesses to try and make the signage standardised at a British and international level.  

Alzheimer’s Society is extremely supportive of this campaign and the new symbols created. We will be working closely with everyone involved to try and get this signage rolled out nationwide.

We want to support people living with dementia to retain their independence and continue getting out in the community. 

Campaign with us

We want to make sure that every person affected by dementia gets the care and support they deserve, when they need it.

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1 comment

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We need: signs that direct you to the toilets, a sign showing the exit door and signs to get you back where you came from. Then instructions on how to obtain the water and how to remove the plug ( presuming no longer ordinary taps and a plug on a chain). Hand driers May need instructions and they need to be placed out of the line of normal traffic flow so that you don’t turn them on by just walking past. The new energy and water usage efficient eco friendly toilets need instructions on how to unlock the lid! Then there is a need to stop using mirrors as a design feature - this causes perceptual difficulties. Decor needs to be in line with recommendations re contrasting colours etc. Have I covered everything?? I don’t have dementia but I have encountered many of the above and always think “ if this is a problem for me how much worse might it be for someone with dementia “.

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