Let’s follow Isabela and her grandson, Jaime, as they play one of our “Memory” activities, “Memory Match It!”
Isabela sits down with her grandson, Jaime, and they turn on her iPad. They tap on the “Memory Match It!” icon and start a session.
The app asks Isabela to do a quick recall exercise where she has to try to remember 3 words. Even though Jaime’s only 9 years old, he knows he has to let his grandma answer on her own.
This preliminary recall quiz ensures that the initial difficulty level is calibrated to the player’s level of functioning on that day at that time. From this initial difficulty level, the app will then automatically adjust to how the player is doing throughout the session. For instance, harder rounds are presented if the player is doing well, and easier rounds are presented if the player is struggling.
Then they’re asked to choose which theme they like best: Nature, Space, or Cars.
Isabela’s always been a science-fiction fan (luckily, so is Jaime), so she taps on the Space button. The app will now give them a session with a space theme. They’ll see moons and planets and spaceships, and they’ll hear ethereal background music. All of the activities in the session will be related to space.
Allowing the player to pick a theme they like makes every session of our “Memory” activities that much more personal and tailor-made. Every person is different. Some folks like space, others prefer cars. And, even the same person might be in the mood for something different each time. Space on Tuesday morning, cars on Thursday afternoon, and nature on Saturday - why not?
They just picked Space as their preferred theme, and now the first activity they see is an intermediate-term recall exercise.
In this case, the screen displays 3 words: Rocket, Solar Flare, and Light-Year (but it could be 1 word, or 2 words, depending on how the player did in the initial recall quiz). Isabela is encouraged to try to remember these 3 words because she’ll be asked to recall them at the very end of the session (30 minutes or more later).
This is an example of a memory exercise that asks the player to keep something in their memory for around 30 minutes or more. They do other activities before being asked to recall what they memorized.
Our “Memory” activities provide a range of memory exercise types. This encourages the use of various memory mechanisms and activates diverse parts of the brain. Variety also keeps things fresh and exciting, throughout a single session and between sessions.
Now they’re presented with the main activity, in this case “Match It!”
Isabela takes turns with Jaime as they tap on the moons to reveal the space objects underneath. When they uncover a matching pair, success! The round is completed when all pairs have been matched. Note that a “Skip Round” button is always available for when a round is so difficult as to cause frustration or stress.
Each main activity is a different type of memory exercise. In this case, “Match It!” Is a short-term recall exercise. Combined with the intermediate-term memory exercise (where the player is asked to remember words/items from the beginning of the session to the end) and with the long-term memory activity “Think Back,” our “Memory” activity apps provide a comprehensive memory activity session.
About a third of the way through the main activity (“Match It!” in this case), they see the first Think Back moment!
Jaime reads the Think Back out loud. She’s encourages her to think back on a day in her life. She’s asked to recall specific people, events, and emotions that might relate to that day. Since they picked the Space theme, Isabela is asked to think back to the day of the first moon landing.
She smiles as she remembers how excited and proud she was watching it on television. She starts telling Jaime all about that day. He listens, fascinated by space travel and landing on the moon. She pauses, so he takes this as his cue to read the memory-jogging questions from the app: Where was she? Who was with her? How did it make her feel? They spend 10 or 15 minutes talking with each other as she happily recounts how her family huddled around the TV that amazing day.
Our “Memory” activities really shine when it comes to encouraging social engagement! There are plenty of opportunities for interaction throughout the session, but the Think Back moments are specifically designed to spark conversation. Think Back moments also help connect a player to people, places, events, and feelings from their deeper past. This can help provide grounding and enhance meaningfulness in a player’s life.
We want to make social interaction easy and enticing. Think Back moments support the player living with dementia, as well as their partner in the session by providing a few “get the ball rolling” questions. This helps foster deeper and broader conversations, as well as lessen any anxiety or discomfort either person might be feeling.