Hester defends her PhD thesis on Tovertafel research
HESTER defends her PhD thesis on Tovertafel research
Delft University of Technology describes it as a “good example of how scientific research can lead to valuable care innovation in practice’. On Monday the 24th of April, Hester Anderiesen-Le Riche received her PhD title from this university after successfully defending her research on the Tovertafel: Playful design for Activation. Co-designing serious games for people with moderate to severe dementia to reduce apathy.
‘In care institutes, 90 percent of residents with dementia suffer from apathy. The goal of my PhD research was to reduce passivity in older people with dementia by developing a product that stimulates physical activity and social interaction. It had to be a playful product or game that would also contribute to older people’s enjoyment, says Hester.
These goals formed the basis of her PhD research, in which several studies were done to learn more about the target group and the context of their living conditions. Through multiple design steps, combined with scientific research, the so-called ‘research by design’, the final concept of the Active Cues Tovertafel was developed.
Hester: ‘The prototype of this serious game was used to do test with residents of care institutes and care personnel. And, in contrast to our expectations of what would be possible, the residents played a very interesting participatory role in the further development of the product.’
One care professional who was closely involved in the Tovertafel’s early development is Marja Dijkwel, a nurse at Careyn (homecare, nursing and care). ‘People here still play with the Tovertafel each and every day. The Tovertafel offers people with dementia the opportunity to get into contact with each other and move about. When I see how much fun our care workers and residents have with the Tovertafel, I am proud that based on my expertise, I could play a role in its development.’
Playing with light
‘What is essential for the interaction between the people with dementia and the projected light is that the games are intuitive and accurate’, says Hester. ‘Otherwise, people soon lose interest. Added to that is that all Tovertafel games are based on recognisable projections so that the interactions are familiar and to allow the residents to reminisce about experiences and personal stories from their past.'
The PhD thesis is finished, but the development of the Tovertafel games will go on. Together with the target group, Active Cues will keep on working on games that truly contribute to people's quality of life.