‘Ask Jan’ – Digital Tables

“Dear Jan,

Do you recommend interactive tables for residents in a care home? If so, how do you incorporate these into your activity plan?


Dear Jess,

Thank you for writing in to me.

Interactive tables certainly have a place in the care setting. Individuals who are often reluctant to join in with activities may benefit greatly from them.

They can be quite pricey, so it’s important that staff have basic training on the potential for calm, soothing interaction as well as a fun social activity. In my opinion, I think it is important when investing in one to make sure that it is portable. You will get the best value out of a device that can be used individually in a person’s room as well as a fun social activity with a group of residents. This also means that in larger homes you can move it between the different floors or departments.

It is important to get a demonstration from the company before buying. They will advise you on the best lighting and position, as well as the numerous games and activities that are installed on the device.

One of the beauties of digital tables is that they attract attention of staff, volunteers and visitors who may not normally engage with your activities. They can draw a crowd and be wonderfully sociable. Visiting grandchildren enjoy having a go, and will look forward to their next visit when they can be impressed by their grandparents’ new digital skills!

These tables are useful for evening and night staff use. Often there is a resident who doesn’t settle and is looking for something to do in the early hours when staff are busy. It can be quite calming for them to sit quietly and grow flowers or ‘pop’ bubbles. It shouldn’t be used as a cure-all, but it is handy as another tool to engage residents as out-of-hours activity provision.

It is useful to start by factoring in one structured group activity with the table, with other times set aside for spontaneous use. You may have some residents who want to frequently use the table for a game of ping-pong, whilst others will benefit from occasional sessions of using it as a sensory device to stimulate sight and touch.

Best of luck,


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