Updated 02 September 2014

Local develops new therapy for memory care patients

A Hout Bay woman has developed a new memory product to stimulate interaction in people suffering from dementia.


A revolutionary new product specially devised to stimulate physical and social interaction in dementia patients will be introduced to participants at the Alzheimer’s Awareness Conference, held at Livewell Suites in Somerset West on September 11, 12 or 13 (similar programme each day).

The new product, known as Active Cues, was developed by Hester Anderiesen who lives in Hout Bay, Cape Town, as part of her PhD in Industrial Design Engineering at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.  The product is intended primarily for moderate to severe dementia patients and will be demonstrated for the first time to carers and professionals specialising in this field during the the Alzheimer’s Awareness Conference.

According to Anderiesen, most dementia patients suffer from apathy, which negatively influences their physical, cognitive and emotional wellbeing. Active Cues consist of six games using interactive light projections on the dining table in dementia care facilities. For example, the dementia patients can play with fish that swim around, sweep away fallen leaves or throw a ball to each other. During the evaluation study she found significant improvement in physical activity and happiness; they actively engaged in the game and happily conversed about it with each other.

The potential of Active Cues has been recognised through its inclusion in Cape Town’s World Design Capital 2014 initiatives that saw collaborations between Dutch and South African creative industries.

Anderiesen and colleague Jeanne Albas have collaborated to develop playful products for both older persons with dementia, as well as children in the autistic spectrum.

As September is International Alzheimer’s Month, this conference, covering dementia, Alzheimer’s and related fields, offers information and guidance to carers, medical professionals, families and institutions.

Pre-book to attend one day of the conference at or or contact Awie at (021) 851 6886.


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