Dementia-friendly environment checklist

Running an event or meeting? We've produced this checklist to help you make your event as dementia-friendly and inclusive as possible.

Three women in a dementia friendly group, laughing and clapping

There are simple steps you can take to include everyone, from inviting your local care home, or Alzheimer’s Society group, to making sure all signage is clear and there’s not too much noise.

Below is a checklist to make your event dementia friendly. This list is not exhaustive, and you shouldn’t be put off your event if you cannot tick them all off. If possible speak to people living with dementia and ask them how they find the area.

You can also print a PDF version of this checklist to take with you or pass on to others.

  • Do you have a quiet space for someone who might be feeling anxious or confused? A few minutes with a supportive person might be all that’s needed.
  • Are signs clear, in bold face with good contrast between text and background?
  • Is there a contrast between the sign and the surface it is mounted on? This will allow the person to recognise it as a sign.
  • Are the signs fixed to the doors they refer to? They should not be on adjacent surfaces if at all possible.
  • Are signs at eye level and well-lit?
  • Signs should not be abstract images or icons.
  • Are signs placed at key decision points for someone who is at the building/area for the first time?
  • Are signs for toilets and exits clear? These are particularly important.
  • Are glass doors clearly marked?
  • Are entrances well-lit and make as much use of natural light as possible?
  • Avoid using areas with bright light or deep shadows 
  • Are there any highly reflective or slippery floor surfaces? Reflections can cause confusion.
  • Do you have bold patterned carpets? Plain or mottled surfaces are easier; patterns can cause problems to people with perceptual problems.
  • Are changes in floor finish flush rather than stepped? Changes in floor surfaces can cause some confusion due to perceptual problems. If there is a step at the same time you also introduce a trip hazard.
  • Do you have a changing room (where applicable) where an opposite sex carer or partner can help out if the person needs help with their clothes?
  • Do you have a unisex toilet or other facility which would allow someone to have assistance without causing them or other user’s embarrassment?
  • Toilet seats that are of a contrasting colour to the walls and rest of the toilet are easier to see if someone has visual problems.
  • Install ‘Way Out’ signs in all toilets to clearly mark the exit.
  • Do you have a seating area where people are waiting? This can be a big help.
  • Does your seating look like seating? People with dementia will find this easier (for example a wooden bench would be preferable to an abstract metal Z-shaped bench).
  • Have you had a good look round and thought about these landmarks? Research shows that people with dementia use “landmarks” to navigate their way around, both inside and outside. The more attractive and interesting the landmark (which could be a painting, or a plant) the easier it is to use it as a landmark. 

For a more information on how environments can affect people with dementia and a more detailed auditing tool please download the Dementia-friendly business guide.

Download and print the checklist