New technology enriches recreational activities for seniors at Willingdon Care Centre

For fifty-eight years, Willingdon Care Centre has been a vibrant community for seniors of many different backgrounds. Along the corridors — or  ‘lanes’ — and inside of the multiple-purpose rooms, it is clear that the care home’s longevity is sustained through its innate sense of community and commitment to engagement for residents.

Residents playing the Tovertafel Soccer game

A key driver for engagement at Willingdon is its various programs that help foster better social, physical, and mental health in residents. In addition,  technology has been gradually being implemented in more recent programs to keep up with the times.

In fact, Willingdon is the first care home in British Columbia to have Eugeria’s Tovertafel, an interactive care tool aimed at seniors. Its innovation particularly promotes cognitive and sensory stimulation in people living with dementia.

“This is the perfect opportunity for them to enjoy games and bridge the generational gap with technology,” explains Nyan Phyo, Therapeutic Recreation and Volunteer Manager at Willingdon. “It’s [a technology that] they can use in their day-to-day, just like how we use it in our day-to-day.”

The Tovertafel is a care tool that projects interactive games onto any table and consists of a high-quality projector, infrared sensors, a speaker, and a processor. Residents then simply use their hands to engage and participate in the games.

The use of the Tovertafel in these programs helps to encourage active participation among residents. Within seconds of starting a new game, participating residents immediately interact and play confidently.

“With other recreational games and activities, you’d have to explain instructions to residents,” states Phyo, “but with the Tovertafel, it’s not intimidating at all.”

“It’s a very person-centred activity,” adds Eugeria’s Director of Market Development, Dominque Gautier, “there is something for everyone.”

The highly-personalized nature of the Tovertafel complements the diversity and multiculturalism in the Willingdon community. Most games don’t use language, therefore breaking down language barriers and improving program accessibility. This helps bring residents to work together in a collaborative way.

Residents ‘painting’ with the Watercolours game

With new games being added every year, the assortment of modes and game choices cater to the diverse needs of residents. For instance, the speed can be changed to accommodate movement restrictions, coordination and cognitive abilities. To help relieve their anxieties, wandering residents often interact with calming games like ‘Space.’

“When we play this game in the evening time, when it is nice and dark,” Phyo details, “it’s a great tool for residents with anxieties to relax and unwind.”

A resident enjoying Tovertafel’s Sheet Music game

Other games help cultivate a sense of nostalgia in residents. One game called ‘Sheet Music’ consists of residents tapping moving musical notes, prompting the notes for them to hear.

“We have residents that used to be music teachers,” describes Phyo, “and they really gravitate towards this musical game in particular.”

Since its installation late last year, the Tovertavel has been an integral part of enriching residents’ daily routines. It is also very timely, especially after the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic brought to long-term care homes.

“Residents have been very dormant and inactive [during this time],” Phyo recalls, “this is a way to bring back activity in a very easy and purposeful approach.”

Throughout these first months with the care tool, the Tovertavel has proven to have “great benefits physically, socially and cognitively,” says Phyo. “It really helps contribute to improving the well-being and quality of life for residents in a purposeful and meaningful way.”

 

Click here to see more photos of this program.