An interactive game – which projects lights on surfaces such as table tops – appears to be making a big impression on those suffering with dementia.
The “Magic Table” technology was specifically designed to help people living in the mid to advanced stages of the illness and is currently being trialled around the UK.
Wherever the game – which allows players to interact with projections of objects including beach balls, flowers and goldfish – has been piloted, there have been very encouraging reports of sufferers becoming more communicative and being brought out of their shell.
The technology was originally developed in the Netherlands and attracted a lot of interest when it first came into use last year.
It was devised to encourage mental activity and social interaction and brought to the UK by John Ramsay, who gave up his job as a lawyer to promote the device
Mr Ramsay has personal experience of dementia; his father was diagnosed with early-onset when he was just 12-years-old.
“Towards the end there was nothing I could do to engage him – nothing. Having [this game], something we could do together, would have made such a difference to me as well as to him.
“It gives me goosebumps when I see residents with grandchildren they’ve been unable to communicate with playing together.”
Hester Le Riche, the PhD student who came up with the idea for the game originally, said that he had conducted a lot of research during the development and concluded that even those in the late stages of dementia can benefit from play activities.
“You can’t go wrong,” he said. “If nobody touches the beach ball, it bounces off the edge of the projection area. If minds wander, there is always something to come back to. When you have dementia, you are constantly losing abilities, so it is important to be proud of what you can do.”