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Addressing apathy in dementia care: gaming technology offers new hope for engagement

Research has shown that apathy is a significant challenge for people living with dementia, as it hampers their ability to take initiative and negatively impacts their emotional and physical well-being. Andrus on Hudson (AOH), a care facility in New York, has been facing the challenge of negative behaviors, such as agitation and wandering, among its residents with dementia during downtimes. To address this issue, AOH has introduced a gaming table called the Tovertafel from Tover, a healthcare technology company based in the Netherlands.


The Tovertafel offers interactive games designed for individuals with cognitive disabilities, including dementia. AOH implemented the Tovertafel on its memory care floor, expanding the resources available to caregivers. The setup was smooth, and the technology proved to be a success from the beginning. Residents who used the Tovertafel were engaged and participated in unexpected positive ways. Some individuals who were typically less inclined to be engaged started participating actively and displayed lower levels of agitation while immersed in the programs, according to Healthcare IT News.


Based on these positive outcomes, AOH expanded the use of the Tovertafel to other non-memory care floors, with similar positive feedback regarding engagement and immersion in the programs. Although there is still a lack of quantitative data on the health outcomes, the technology has had a notable impact on the residents. They are more physically active, stretching further than before and experiencing increased social interaction, happiness, and reduced fear and sadness throughout the day.


Overall, the Tovertafel has become a valuable tool in AOH's toolkit for dementia care, helping to address apathy and enhance the well-being of individuals living with dementia.


Game photo from Tover


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