Talking post for dementia sufferers devised in Helmond


HELMOND – What can you do with a discarded talking post? Veerle van Engen of Helmond got to work with it at her internship company Embedded Fitness. The third-year industrial design student (20) devised applications for hospitals and care centers. So dementia sufferers can go back in time, with old movies. Care organization RSZK had such a pole on trial. They are very enthusiastic.

In the hall at Embedded Fitness, which is housed at Janssen-Fritsen in Helmond, is a yellow ANWB pole. In original condition. Except for one change: a little screen. A press of a button and there is the characteristic voice of Philip Bloemendal accompanying images of the celebration of 60 years of Philips in Eindhoven. A 1951 Polygon film. Another print and we see boys during a school soccer tournament in days gone by.

“I was working on a ‘better out of bed project,’ to encourage people in the hospital to move faster,” Veerle says. “Then I read that the talking posts were being abolished.” She could do something with that. She sent a letter to the Department of Public Works.

The response was positive: “Ecoleon, the company that distributes the poles, was interested,” said Carla Scholten, director of Embedded Fitness. Her company devises interactive games in the field of exercise. “Of the 3,500 talking poles, 500 have been sold to individuals. For the rest, Ecoleon is looking for a sustainable destination.”


Scholten was already given six posts. Applications are being devised for the Catharina Hospital in Eindhoven, the Maastricht University Medical Center and elderly care organization RSZK (De Kempen). “Everything is about getting people out of bed as quickly as possible,” Scholten states.

Veerle gives the example of a scavenger hunt with talking posts for the children’s department. And so the back-in-the-time post. It has already stood in care center Merefelt in Veldhoven. 160 elderly people live there, including 60 with dementia. “People were heartened,” responds care manager Karin Heezen. ,,People recognize images, start telling stories. There was a lady who doesn’t say much anymore. She suddenly started talking. This increases the quality of life. With someone who was restless, it also helped.”


Making “trips” to the pole gets people moving. Heezen: “That slows down the dementia process.”

RSZK would like the pole back. Preferably more copies.  That will happen, Scholten says. “We’re going to improve some things first.” Veerle: “That a post says, for example, hello Ms. Janssen.”

Would you also like such a vital talking point for your healthcare organization? Let us know.

For more information about the Talking Post, click here!

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