‘Seeing the pleasure in their faces is magical’: How new technology is helping dementia residents at Hartlepool care home

Elwick Grange care home resident Audrey Hamilton tries the dementia table. Photograph: Stuart Boulton
Elwick Grange care home resident Audrey Hamilton tries the dementia table. Photograph: Stuart Boulton

A Hartlepool care home is using innovative technology to help stimulate residents with dementia.

An interactive ‘magic table’ introduced at Elwick Grange, in Elwick Road, is enhancing residents’ emotional wellbeing.

Debbie Halliwell and residents Audrey Hamilton, Eleanor Winspear and Mary Altringhma play a game on the interactive dementia table. Photograph: Stuart Boulton

Debbie Halliwell and residents Audrey Hamilton, Eleanor Winspear and Mary Altringhma play a game on the interactive dementia table. Photograph: Stuart Boulton

It works by using infrared sensors to project games from a device mounted on the ceiling onto a table top.

The technology responds to hand and arm movements, enabling residents to ‘touch’ flowers, ‘pop’ bubbles and ‘catch’ fish.

Wendy Winspear, deputy manager at Elwick Grange, said: “Providing specialist dementia care is at the heart of what we do here at Elwick Grange, and this is just one way in which we can enhance the emotional wellbeing of our residents.

“Our extensive experience of such care has shown that a common symptom of dementia is apathy and physical inactivity.

“We’ve been using the new table for several weeks now, incorporating it into our existing dementia group activities, as well as on a one-to-one basis and it is already having a positive impact, instantly injecting fun, movement and engagement into these sessions.”

In just a few weeks, the home says the technology has already made a difference creating moments of happiness and laughter between residents and carers as well as their families.

Wendy added: “The Magic Table has really enhanced overall levels of social interaction throughout the home, with residents naturally being drawn over to it, including those who have traditionally been quite detached or uncommunicative.

“Witnessing pure pleasure in their faces and seeing inter-generational play when families visit with grandchildren, has been magical to see and we’re delighted that we’ve been able to install such a powerful piece of high-quality technology.”

Elwick Grange provides full-time residential, nursing, and short-term respite care.

It also has its own hair salon, mobile library and gardens.

The home will host a number of free dementia awareness events over the coming months to showcase the table in action, along with other dementia-friendly design features and facilities, such as their dementia room, themed spaces and café.