This 'magic table' invention is loved by Sheffield dementia patients

Dementia patients are responding with great delight to a new ‘magic table’ introduced to their facility.

By Sally Burton
Monday, 12 August, 2019, 13:09
The Tovertafel in use in Sheffield

The Tovertafel, which is Dutch for ‘magic table’, is a projector that hangs out of sight and projects light games on to the table beneath, using infrared sensors to react to both hand and arm movements.

Sheffield dementia inpatient unit, Woodland View, which is part of Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, has bought a Tovertafel to improve the quality of life for elderly patients on the ward.

The purchase was made thanks to a generous donation of £500, from a local Freemasons Lodge.

Patients who have complex needs and were previously less keen to interact with visitors, and other patients at the ward, have been seen to have benefitted immensely from use of the technology.

It was created in 2014 and was coined the ‘magic table’ by an elderly man while it was in the testing stage, because of his amazement at the colourful images flashing across the table.

Games projected by the Tovertafel stimulate both physical and cognitive abilities.

James Sherwin, the manager at Woodland View, said that the Tovertafel has created a sense of enjoyment and wonder for the unit’s residents.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

He said: “W e have seen many positive changes in their behaviour since the table was installed here .

“It really helps to improve social interaction between patients and their loved ones.

“It gives them something in the present moment to talk about, rather than always having to talk about the past.

“You can’t do anything wrong with the table.

“It suits every ability, and playing with the Tovertafel does not require supervision, which enables residents to do fun activities independently.

“We would like to say a massive thank you to the Freemasons Lodge who donated the money.”