‘Magic table’ uses technology and active play to help people with dementia

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Residents interact with the Tovertafel at the Maimonides Geriatric Centre on Wednesday. Developed in the Netherlands, it has shown promise in physical activity as well as social interaction for those with dementia. Photo: Montreal Gazette


(Susan Schwartz/ The Montreal Gazette) — As images of green leaves and red ladybugs projected from above danced on a tabletop at the Maimonides Geriatric Centre on Wednesday and participants reached out to swipe at them, resident Harry Mintz had a good line.

“One lady that doesn’t bug me too much,” he said. It earned him a laugh.

A therapeutic play system acquired by the Côte-St-Luc long-term care centre was being demonstrated — the Tovertafel. It’s Dutch for magic table. A box mounted on the ceiling or a tall, movable support holds a projector, computer hardware and infrared sensors that capture even the smallest hand movements of players. The sensors project interactive games and colourful images onto a table or the floor to encourage play — leaves that people swipe, for instance, or projections of fish they try to catch. (…)

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