Bringing a sense of wonder to residents living with dementia, WA’s first Tovertafel ‘magic table’ has been set up at Baptistcare Graceford Residential Care in Byford.
The impact of the Tovertafel – a game-changing innovation that projects playful interactive games onto a table – has already far exceeded expectations, with staff at Baptistcare Graceford calling it ‘magical’.
Prompting memories and conversation about everything from gardening to trips to the beach, the games have been developed to need only those cognitive processes and ‘perceptions’ that remain intact even in the late stages of dementia, stimulating increased movement and social interaction.
“What we witnessed on the day the Tovertafel was installed was magical,” said Zoey Madzongo, Lifestyle Coordinator Baptistcare Graceford.
“We saw residents who are usually very passive coming to life. Residents who had not spoken in a while were responding verbally when using the table, and residents who normally don’t participate in activities were just coming to sit at, or close to, the table to watch.
“Residents were really engaging and taking ownership of the program, inviting others to have a go. There’s been a bit of competitiveness as well, which has been fun,” Mrs Madzongo said.
It is the first time a Tovertafel, developed in the Netherlands, has been installed in Western Australia.
“It’s been so beautiful to watch; to see what a difference the table has made to our residents living with dementia,” said Mrs Madzongo, who started researching the Tovertafel last year, before it was available in Australia.
Mounted on the ceiling, the Tovertafel box consists of high-quality projector, infrared sensors, speaker and processor that work together to project games onto a table. The interactive games are designed in collaboration with people living with dementia and those who care for them, offering an environment where they can feel invited and safe to play.
The games feature colourful objects such as flowers, leaves, playing cards, beach balls and bubbles. Thanks to the infrared sensors, the objects respond to even the smallest of hand and arm movements so that residents can play with the light itself.
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Pictured: Baptistcare Graceford resident Margaret Clark enjoys the Tovertafel Table