During Dementia Awareness Week, an Edinburgh-based housing and care provider launches its ground-breaking new dementia strategy Tovertafel, harnessing the power of technology and innovation to revolutionise the way it cares for residents with dementia.
In 2017, an estimated 90,000 people in Scotland were living with dementia. It’s an illness that can leave older people feeling lonely and isolated. With the help of the latest technology, Viewpoint’s pioneering strategy aims to combat these feelings and ensure its residents and tenants with dementia remain part of their community.
As part of its innovative new approach, Viewpoint has installed Tovertafel, also known as ‘magic table’, into all four of its care homes in Edinburgh. Tovertafel is a playful, interactive light projector that has been specially designed to meet the needs of those with dementia by enticing them to get moving and have fun together.
Tovertafel is about light, movement and vibrant colours, all of which are proven to have a positive effect at engaging those with dementia. This, combined with the ability to play games, helps to encourage communication and contributes to health and quality of life.
So far, Tovertafel is known to have made a significant impact on its users as it can be a way for them to reconnect with their past. In one instance, a gentleman with dementia stunned his family after recognising one of the flowers in a Tovertafel game to be the same as the flowers that he had at his wedding nearly 50 years ago.
In another, a gentleman with a past love of painting was able to perform his hobby via Tovertafel, using the creative games, like the jigsaw, to produce his latest masterpieces.
Lyn Jardine, Head of Innovation and Development, said: “Technology is probably the last thing you think of when you think of care homes but this is proof that digital disruption is everywhere, even in the care sector.
“When developing our latest dementia strategy, we wanted to focus on what we could do to make our homes more dementia friendly. Tovertafel has been a great success and we have seen a huge difference in many of our residents. They are stimulating interest and encouraging communication, something that can be difficult for those with dementia.”
Keen to free up time for its most valuable resource - its care staff - Viewpoint will also introduce technology to improve several of its time-consuming administrative tasks, giving staff the opportunity to focus on doing what they do best – caring for residents.
Lyn continued: “Our top priority is to make sure that our residents and tenants living with dementia continue to feel part of their community. By enhancing our administrative care processes with technology, we can create more time for our care staff to have that all important face-to-face interaction and engagement with our residents.”
This is Viewpoint’s third dementia strategy and has also outlined several important environmental changes to its care homes and housing stock to make them more suitable for residents with dementia. This includes changes to its outdoor spaces by introducing different colours, smells and textures to create a positive sensory experience for residents.
Viewpoint will also be making dementia friendly improvements to its care homes and sheltered housing where possible, including maximising light levels to ensure there’s enough natural light, something that those with dementia are particularly responsive to.
The launch of the new strategy coincides with Dementia Awareness Week (4th – 10th June), an initiative spearheaded by Alzheimer’s Scotland that aims to educate people about dementia and change how people talk about and respond to the illness.