Home | Blogs | Tovertafel: Shedding light on ‘magical’ forms of engagement

Tovertafel: Shedding light on ‘magical’ forms of engagement

idea.nottingham.ac.uk image: Dementia Day to Day blogs banner

Topics: 
approaches to dementia care, arts and theatre, hobbies, music and dance
Shedding light on magical forms of engagement

As the arts within dementia become increasingly explored, so do more unique forms of creative activity. Most of us are at least somewhat familiar with ‘well-known’ activities such as group singing, arts and crafts, and reading groups etc. Therefore it can be refreshingly inspiring to be offered the opportunity to take part in something new, reminding us that interventions can come in all sorts of inventive ways.

Last week Created Out of Mind, based at The Wellcome Hub in London, welcomed a rather playful visit from Tovertafel. Translating from Dutch to ‘Magic table’, Tovertafel uses infrared technology to allow individuals to interact with light projection. What this does is create games for people with moderate to severe dementia by shining the projector onto a table or surface. 

Tovertafel was developed by PhD student Hester Le Riche at the Delft University of Technology and VU University of Amsterdam. The aim of this technology is to promote relaxation, reminiscence, sensation, and prolonged periods of engagement. It is currently being used in residential care homes as opposed to family homes, and it hopes to reduce the passivity that some care home residents may experience. By having a variety of different games available, appropriate levels of stimulus can be offered to residents, therefore encouraging engagement from everybody.

I decided to reflect upon my own experience of engagement with the game, and found that this equipment was capable of evoking many different feelings. There was something beautifully therapeutic in being able to run my hand through simulated water, watch fishes dance up my arm; and with the addition of gentle sound it offered a fully immersive experience. Then there was the socialness of swiping a beach ball to one another, and the fun curiosity of rummaging through leaves. Even something as straightforward as resting my hand on the table waiting for a butterfly to land on it offered a peaceful tranquillity.

Tovertafel wonderfully captures what it means to engage with your surroundings, in this case virtual objects and scenarios.  There is the risk of games like these sounding childish to some, but one key element to developing engaging activities in dementia is being open-minded. Innovative intervention designs such as this one demonstrate the potential for technology within dementia care, showing how something as simple as a light and a surface can create hours of meaningful activity.

Created Out of Mind will continue to explore different styles of intervention throughout this two year project on the arts and dementia, and hopes to find ways of capturing ‘in the moment’ experiences during these forms of engagement.

You can watch Tovertafel in use at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mm8Vh-XXxzE or visit their website for more information at http://activecues.com/en/

 

Your comments

You'd be very welcome to leave a comment on this blog post.  You do need to be logged in to leave a comment, if you don't already have a username and password you can register here.

Your comment won't appear straight away as we'll need to check it first: thank you for your patience.

When leaving comments please bear in mind our posting rules.

See more like this

Karen Harrison Dening

Today I helped facilitate the first ECHO meeting for the Dementia and End of Life Community of Practice (DCoP)! I am sure this initiates a lot of questions for the reader of this blog so here goes!

Fiona Marshall

Two things have recently made me think about the ways in which we as academics think about living with dementia; recent reading of wellbeing meanings in general and receiving a couple of battery hens.

Karen Harrison Dening

There is much debate on when is the best time to offer advance care planning to people with dementia. I would say as soon as possible after the diagnosis of dementia is made.  Many professionals feel that getting people with dementia to start thinking about their end of life care wishes is both t