Donald Berman Maimonides and Donald Berman Jewish Eldercare will become the first long-term care Centres in Quebec and the second in Canada to use an immersive interactive experience specifically designed for those with dementia. The Tovertafel system, invented in the Netherlands, is a ceiling-based projector that shines multi-coloured lights creating magical life-like images onto a table. The people playing sit around the table and respond to the lights with hand-movements detected by a sensor.

One of the games that long-term care residents with advanced dementia enjoy is beach ball. “By touching the ball, it moves and the next person can touch it. What is great about this is that they don’t need to hit it with force. With the use of sensors, even a light touch moves the ball,” says Valerie Larochelle, from Eugeria, the exclusive distributor for the product in Canada.

There are many games to choose from- puzzles and whack-a-mole to popping bubbles, playing with leaves, a ballerina music box and sports. They are offered in a variety of levels depending on the functioning capabilities of those playing.

“With no therapies currently available to cure or effectively alter the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, innovative research and development strategies based on collaborative partnership between users and the innovators are needed. Tovertafel is a testament to the power and effectiveness of such partnerships in order to create the next generation of innovation. CIUSSS West Central Montréal and OROT are proud to be the first institution in Quebec to inaugurate this incredible innovation that will improve the lives of residents and their families, as well the staff that take care of them,” says Danina Kapetanovic, CIUSSS’ Chief Innovation Officer and the Head of its Connected Health Innovation Hub “Orot”.

Research has demonstrated that Tovertafel helps decrease some of the behaviours associated with dementia, such as wandering and agitation. There are also therapeutic benefits, since the games target physical, cognitive, social and emotional well-being.

At DBM and DBJ, the innovation, purchased by the Foundation, will be installed and ready for residents to use next month. “The last year has proven extremely difficult for our residents. It is a pleasure to launch this initiative that will contribute to a positive resident experience, and create opportunities to have our residents engage in interactive social activities after over a year of being in an out of quarantine. We are also seeing the staff engagement. At a recent demonstration of the system the staff had already identified residents who they felt could benefit from this complementary approach to other interventions aimed at improving the resident experience.” says Erin Cook, Associate Director of the Support Program for SAPA.