Uxbridge Library introduced its brand new Tovertafel (“Magic Table”) to the Uxbridge Dementia Friends on Friday 3rd November. 15 residents living with dementia, and their careers, had the chance to experience the Tovertafel for the first time, playing through the twelve interactive games that are projected onto a table in the library.
The Tovertafel projects interactive light animations. These animations react to hand and arm movement encouraging play. The most popular games include squishing paintballs to create a painting, sweeping leaves to reveal hidden ladybugs and spinning kaleidoscopic spinning tops. All twelve games are designed to be played socially, with members of the group working together to finish a jigsaw puzzle or create more bubbles to be popped.
Sarah, Senior Officer for Sport and Physical Activity, described the new games as “very relaxing.” This is one of the three principle play experiences of the Tovertafel.
Researched and designed over 6 years, the Tovertafel has been designed to be accessible for everyone, including people living with mid to late stage dementia. While many people enjoy many different play experiences, Tovertafel is focused on just 3 – reminiscence, sensory stimulation and relaxation. Some games, such as catching butterflies or playing with a large bouncing ball, encourage users to reminisce on childhood memories. The games are brightly coloured and have fun sound effects but are also tactile, encouraging sweeping hand movements or pokes. In contrast to traditional games these is a de-emphasis on competition. Instead of competing against each other users play together to achieve accessible goals. The point of the Tovertafel is that no one can be wrong or lose, the most important thing is interaction. This interaction can go beyond playing, with even those living with late dementia following the visuals of the games due to its striking aesthetics.
The London Borough of Hillingdon is the first borough in London to have a Tovertafel installed, although there are already 1,500 in Holland where it originates from. Medhi, a representative from the company behind Tovertafel, explained to the group that the golden rule of the Tovertafel is to “create moments of happiness” for everyone.
The London Borough of Hillingdon runs many groups and activities for a broad range of ages and interests across all 17 libraries. These include Bookstart Bear sessions for young children, knitting and cross stitching groups and Chairobics sessions. The Tovertafel is an exciting addition to the regular Dementia Friends coffee mornings which are a relaxing space for those living with dementia and their carers to enjoy reminiscence sessions, poetry and music.
To find out more about groups and activities taking place in Hillingdon Libraries visit http://www.hillingdon.gov.uk/libraryevents