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Hickling House care home trials revolutionary interactive dementia treatment

PUBLISHED: 13:44 21 June 2017 | UPDATED: 14:59 21 June 2017

Residents at the Hickling House Dementia care home try out the Magic Table, with interactive activities projected onto a table to stimulate those with the disease. John Ramsay, 2nd left, CEO Shift8, the company selling the table, demonstrates the activities to Margaret Preston, left, activities co-ordinator, and Vera Argent. Picture: Denise Bradley

Residents at the Hickling House Dementia care home try out the Magic Table, with interactive activities projected onto a table to stimulate those with the disease. John Ramsay, 2nd left, CEO Shift8, the company selling the table, demonstrates the activities to Margaret Preston, left, activities co-ordinator, and Vera Argent. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant

A care home is raising money to buy a revolutionary new product to help people with dementia enjoy a better quality of life.

A group of the Hickling residents try out the games on offer. John Ramsay, 2nd left, CEO Shift8, the company selling the table, demonstrates the activities. Picture: Denise Bradley A group of the Hickling residents try out the games on offer. John Ramsay, 2nd left, CEO Shift8, the company selling the table, demonstrates the activities. Picture: Denise Bradley

Residents at Hickling House, in Hickling, enjoyed a demonstration of the Tovartafel system, on Tuesday, June 20. It consists of interactive light projections that encourage those with dementia to interact and socialise.

Helen Taylor, area manager for Hickling House care home, said that it was “really exciting” to see the “residents and families excited, animated and engaging” with the product.

The Tovertafel Original was “developed for and with people in the moderate to severe stages of dementia”. The games are intended to “break through apathy by stimulating both physical and cognitive activity”.

The system itself consists of a small, ceiling-mounted box, containing a projector, speakers, sensors and processors, which work together to create the interactive gaming environment, that allows users to play with the lights and sounds projected on to a flat surface below.

A resident enjoying the interactive light projections, designed both for social interactiona and cognitive function. Photo: Denise Bradley A resident enjoying the interactive light projections, designed both for social interactiona and cognitive function. Photo: Denise Bradley

The games were developed collaboratively with their target audiences, to ensure they would be suitable and enjoyable for users needs.

Ms Taylor added that Hickling House is “really keen” on the system, and that its impact on residents was “incredible”.

There are 16 games designed for users with dementia, which include relaxing and tactile activities such as popping virtual bubbles, or playing with a beach ball or spinning top.

These are familiar childhood actions for those with dementia and it is hoped they will trigger a muscle memory that encourages confidence and promotes happiness and sociability among users.

Ms Taylor said the demonstration of the games had an instantly positive effect on the residents. She said: “One chap here normally doesn’t engage at all, and he’s talking and chatting. There’s a real hubbub.”

Tovartafel also includes games which are targeted at the mind, such as ‘Masterpieces’, which involves revealing a famous work of art piece-by-piece, and ‘Nostalgia Puzzle’ a familiar game which can be shared with visiting grandchildren.

The home have a stand at Ingham Fete on July 21 and 22, where they hope to raise some of the £6,000 required to purchase the Tovartafel for the home.

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