Q&A with John Ramsay, founder of dementia aid Tovertafel
John Ramsay, CEO of Shift 8*, the company bringing the dementia-friendly product Tovertafel to the UK, talks to Care & Nursing Essentials editor Victoria Galligan about the revolutionary reminiscing product…
What is a Tovertafel, and how is it used within a care home setting?
The Tovertafel is a small box that holds a high-quality projector, infrared sensors, speaker and a processor that projects interactive light games onto any table. The Tovertafel is mounted onto the ceiling in a communal area to ensure that as many people as possible are able to use it as part of their daily routine. Residents, along with their carers, family and friends sit around the table playing together in an extremely safe environment. There is always a carer with the residents when they’re playing the games to ensure that they are constantly being stimulated and engaged.
Can you describe one of the games and its effect on users?
One game we particularly love is the music box game (only just released). The game was created to spark reminiscence, sensory stimulation and relaxation which is incredibly important for those on their dementia journey. All of the songs are instantly recognisable for the residents, such as ‘Fleur de lise’ and ‘Dream a little dream of me’ to make sure that everyone engages. The music box game is our most recent game and went through two years of research before being released – designed hand in hand with loved ones, their carers and their families.
What are the benefits to dementia residents? Is there any research done in this area?
Research is the foundation to everything we do. The Tovertafel emerged from the PhD research of Hester Le Riche in the Netherlands, a country renowned for their dementia leading technology. We are working with universities around the world to make sure that we can provide 10 million moments of happiness across the world each and every day.
The Tovertafel holds incredible benefits for people with dementia. It is always very moving to watch residents who are usually withdrawn as they engage with the game, fellow residents and their loved ones. It also brings people of all different ages together; as part of our Tovertafel Buddy Scheme, we liaise with local schools to visit care homes and play with Tovertafel alongside the residents creating amazing intergenerational activity.
How many Tovertafels are used in the UK currently?
We are up and running in nearly 250 care centres across the UK (and 2,000 in Europe). We love travelling up and down the UK meeting all the residents and wonderful carers who use the Tovertafel every day.
How much does the Tovertatel retail at?
We work with each individual care home to provide a quote based on the needs of the residents and staff. We work with a number of care homes who choose to fundraise and it’s always incredibly moving when communities come together to raise money for the Tovertafel.