The Rise of Gaming in Home and Social Care

For elderly people either in home care or in senior care, keeping active, as well as staying entertained, can sometimes be a difficult task. But companies, scientists and budding entrepreneurs across the world are all too keen to help provide unique games to entertain as well as help those in home care or senior care.

Interactive Board Games

Take Tovertafel for example. This interactive board game, designed by Active Cues, aims to keep elderly people’s body and minds active through its unique combination of projected infrared sensors and light animations.

While beneficial in a general sense, the company believe it can be of great use to those with mid to late-stage dementia. A study published by The International Journal of Design found that playing Tovertafel, as well as similar interactive games, can improve hand-eye coordination, reaction times, self-esteem and memory, as well as slow deterioration in these areas too.

“I have witnessed the reality of how hard it can be to interact with someone living with dementia and cannot believe the effect Tovertafel has on the quality of life and day-to-day activities of those living with the condition. I only wish it had been around when my dad was still alive”, said John Ramsay, who was introduced and became involved with the company last year.

An app to combat dementia

Scientists are always looking for ways to help combat dementia, but neuroscientists in England have developed an app that allows users to play a game designed to help develop a way to detect dementia in its earliest stages.

The app, known as Sea World Quest, was designed by numerous scientists from University College London, University of East Anglia and Deutsche Telekom in collaboration with Alzheimer’s UK. The game involves helping a sailor at sea recover his lost memories. Data is collected from users by recording the player’s navigational abilities as well as their sense of direction.

Casinos for the elderly

Over in Japan, many senior care services offer the elderly to the chance to participate in various vegas-style casino games, such as poker, mahjong and slot machines. Despite no physical money being involved due to it being illegal to gamble in Japan, many players participate for the simple fact that they find it enjoyable.

Enthusiast of the idea, 92-year-old Yusai Urazumi said “This place is the best. They have games. It’s great”.

Your very own robot friend

But what if someone just needs a little reminder to play some games with friends, or to call a family member?

Designed by Intuition Robotics, Elliq is a robot designed for the elderly in home care or senior care to do just that and more. It can remind people of important events, as well as suggest activities such as playing various games. Elliq is also able to express emotion through a variety of sounds, movements, lights and its own speech interface.

“Our goal is to leverage a combination of our technology, emotive interaction models and insights with design to empower older adults to intuitively interact with technology and easily connect with content and loved ones, and pursue an active lifestyle”, said Dor Skuler, chief executive and founder of Intuition Robotics.

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