Lighting up lives with magical interactive games

Tovertafel 1

There’s something magical happening across Oxfordshire County Council’s daytime support centres.

Visitors are enjoying interactive light games that entice all ages and abilities to get moving and have fun together.

These games are played on so-called ‘Magic Tables’ courtesy of a ceiling-mounted projector called Tovertafel.

The care innovation has already been installed at community support services in Abingdon, Bicester, Banbury, Oxford and Witney, with Wantage next on the list.

People attending the council’s two other community support services in Didcot and Wallingford will also be encouraged to sample the magic on visits to neighbouring centres.

It’s all part of the council’s commitment to thriving communities – we help people live safe, healthy lives and play an active part in their community.

Leading the way in innovation

Tovertafel is the latest example of the county council’s Adult Social Care team taking the lead with advanced technology to improve people’s quality of life.

It was involved in an innovative trial to reduce loneliness and isolation in 10 homes across Oxfordshire with the installation of Amazon Echo smart technology, a voice-controlled intelligent personal assistant service.

And ‘Just Checking’ kits have been installed in people’s homes to allow them to live independently, while giving families and carers the opportunity to monitor their activity through a series of sensors placed in different rooms.

All about Tovertafel

Tovertafel means “magic table” in Dutch. It got its name after a dementia patient who was trialling the technology remarked “this is a magic table”.

It was developed as a way of connecting older people in the late stage of their dementia journey with each other and their surroundings by stimulating movement.

By experimenting with different target groups, Tovertafel was expanded to appeal to people with various learning difficulties and now 40 games have been created.

Tovertafel was installed at Abingdon Community Support Service at the beginning of this month, with users, their family and friends invited to a special launch coffee morning on April 18.

Support service co-ordinator Gemma Druce said it had already proved a big hit.

She said: “Part of my role is to draw up a timetable for activities so this will be a fantastic addition to the programme.

“We’ve already seen it help to integrate people of all ages and with different needs. It’s great to see them coming in here and interacting with one another.”

Bringing people together

Steam Train, Beach Ball, Ladybirds, Moles and Paint Splatter games have already proved popular requests among visitors to the Abingdon centre.

Different games are selected by remote control and these are projected on to a table or the floor. Players can either stand or sit as they interact with the moving shapes.

Sam Wilkins, 30, is a big fan of Music Box, collecting musical notes to help play some popular tunes.

He said: “It’s really fun and I enjoy coming in here to play on the magic table. It’s one of the best parts of the day.”

Kevin Ansty, 50, added: “I think it’s quite good for people with disabilities and the elderly. I come here five days a week and I look forward to using it every day.”

Thriving communities

The community support services provide 1,600 days of support per week (3,200 sessions) across the eight locations with the aim of providing sustained core services in a time of reducing resources.

Abingdon welcomes up to 40 visitors with varying social care needs five days a week.

Karen Fuller, deputy director of Adult Social Care, said: “It’s lovely to see Tovertafel bringing people together at the different centres. It’s added real value to the activities we are able to offer and is another example of our teams using advanced technology to enhance people’s lives.”

Groups are invited to learn more about Tovertafel by joining in a session at one of our community support services. To find contact details visit our Live Well Oxfordshire website.