Residents playing with Tovotafel Original. Source: Active Cues

A new projector-based game with sensors is helping to increase physical, cognitive and social activity among residents with dementia, an industry conference has heard.

Tovertafel is a games console developed by Dutch medical technologies organisation Active Cues.

It uses a projector fitted with infrared sensors to display moving images and objects onto a table.

In the interactive game Tovertafel Original, which is designed for people with dementia, participants use their hands to touch and interact with projected objects such as flowers and bubbles.

The technology, which aged care equipment supplier Leef Independent Living Solutions recently launched in Australia, was introduced at Leading Age Services Australia’s Tri-State conference this week.

Leef general manager of integrated care and functional health Cathie Lindholm said the game helps keep residents with dementia physically, cognitively and socially engaged.

“You’re moving leg to leg, keeping your core strong, you’re laughing, you’re reaching, you’re taking turns, you’re doing all sorts of things and actually maintaining a bit better physical health,” Ms Lindholm told delegates.

“It stimulates the three levels – the physical, cognitive and the social,” Ms Lindholm said.

Ms Lindholm said the game also aims to improve conversation opportunities and self-esteem and reduce apathy and restless behaviours.

Cathie Lindholm

The game also facilitates residents and family members or care workers to play the game together.

“It is a great multigenerational activity,” she said.

Tovertafel Original comes with eight games and additional games can be purchased.

However, Ms Lindholm said the European experience shows that providers usually find eight games a great start because most participants remain interested after repeated experiences, for many feeling like it is a new experience every time they play.

Often care workers are keen for additional games for their variety, she said.

Each game has a rating on the physical, cognitive and social impact on participants.

Tovertafel Original also includes games with beach balls, leaves, fish, butterflies, outer space scenes and masterpiece painting.

Tovertafel Up, which is launching in Australia in May, provides another version of the game and other games designed for people with mid-to-severe cognitive impairment or learning difficulties.

Ms Lindholm said the main differences between the two are about the capabilities of the target user group.

The dementia designed games have clear distinction between pictures and background and are paced to enable confident engagement. They are are also easily and intuitively understood and don’t have too much going on, she said.

Whereas the games for people with cognitive challenges are more complex and include some faster moving aspects and competitive aspects and more detailed images to draw attention, Ms Lindholm said.

The LASA Tri-State Conference took place on 24 – 25 February at the Albury Entertainment Centre.

This article was updated for accuracy and clarity.

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