New dementia tech brings 'emotional moments' to Clevedon care home

PUBLISHED: 09:00 30 June 2017

Staff and residents with new Tovertafel (magic table) equipment for dementia sufferers.

Staff and residents with new Tovertafel (magic table) equipment for dementia sufferers.

Archant

A Clevedon care home has become the first in Somerset to take advantage of a revolutionary piece of equipment for people with dementia.

Osborne House Care Home, in Bay Road, has spent £6,500 to buy a Tovertafel – meaning magic table – which helps people with moderate to severe dementia interact with others.

The technology, developed two years ago by Dutch PhD student Hester Le Riche, projects colourful, moving images on to a surface.

Users can use their hands to interact with the images, taking part in activities such as popping bubbles, moving leaves to uncover ladybirds and hitting a virtual beach ball to each other.

There are currently eight games that can be played on the Tovertafel with more currently in development, and each is carefully designed to hold the attention of dementia sufferers.

It has been in place at Osborne House since early June and manager Suzanne McPadden says it has already had a positive impact on residents and staff.

Suzanne McPadden, home manager, said: “I think for me it’s being able to reach certain residents that had little communication before – watching them touch and listen, them smiling because it’s reached them.

“We have had very emotional moments and breakthroughs with people we couldn’t get a reaction from.

“This has been early days but so far we have witnessed great success with stimulation.

“We have three areas we can use the table in and use different areas for a reason.

“If a resident needs one-on-one and a calming atmosphere we have a very quiet room that helps with calming while diverting their mind to the game rather than aggression.

“Carers like it as it is a great tool for them to be able to switch on and support a resident, and it meets all levels of dementia depending on which game you play or how you want to further the game.

“We look forward to each new game when new ones get downloaded and we get excited to see how we can support residents in other areas through the games.”

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