A podcast that listens, hears, and offers wisdom & hope from caregivers who have lived the experience.

A Supportive Podcast for those Dealing with a loved one with Memory Loss

Flex Your Brain Muscle with Neurosize

Flex Your Brain Muscle with Neurosize

00:00:00 – 00:05:08

Are you looking for a way to strengthen your mind in a fun and creative way? Would you also like to improve your connection with others, especially your loved ones? Fun makes us stronger and feel better. games that engage, entertain, and stimulate the brain in fun and creative ways help us think differently, improve our concentration and might even help us spend quality time with the person we’re carrying for. 

If you’ve tried other cognitive games and found them leaving you feeling dumb and frustrated. Then you’ll be excited to learn about a new option. You can have fun and exercise your brain Right in your own home or this program can be utilized in the care home setting. However you get your brain muscles on, you’ll surely enjoy neurosize.

(Sponsor Plug)

 This episode is brought to you by family history film. Visit myfamilyhistoryfilm.com to find out how they can preserve your family memories in the fascinating documentary film.

(Jennifer)

 Welcome to Fading Memories, a supportive podcast for those caring for a loved one with memory loss. Before we dive into today’s episode, be sure to pull up any of my social media channels so that you can see the visuals that are apart of today’s episode. You can also dive into the Youtube Channel and listen and watch this episode on my Youtube Channel.

 With me today on the podcast is Gabriel. He is working on something called neurosize, and we actually haven’t chatted much before, so you guys are gonna learn along with me today, so thanks for joining me Gabriel. Tell me about yourself first and how you came to be working on neurosize and then we’ll talk about what that is.

(Gabriel)

 That’s fair question. I moved from Miami to Georgia to get in the film and television and did that for a while. I managed to get inside and while working there I felt -there was a feeling that also led me to the arts, which was like a I wanted to feell validated. I suppose a lot of what it is, so across from where I lived was an assisted living. And I volunteered there and during the volunteering I realized I was enjoying the time there because the people wanted to see me. So while doing that stuff and still working turned out It was kind of an oddity as far as what was happening there because it was a male activities director. So he asked me, I found that out in  retrospect later, but he had asked me what I’d be interested in working in that industry with that company that had an opening at a sister property. And at first I was apprehensive I started to do some research on it,  my sister is an occupational therapist so I threw the ball around with her and on paper it seemed like it looked good. You know for one thing to have evolved your career, so I deviated. I guess what led me to film was a feeling of you know wanting to express myself creatively ,being an artist, but also something different that was incorporate oriented now I was just gonna  follow this feeling, but do it only if I had the accessibility to be creative, to utilize my skill sets. So I ended up meeting the property manager. They had a regional person meat me and I went through a list of a few things, I had ideas but it wasn’t neurosize yet. I just was trying to see how much freedom they would give me. A Lot of my angle at that point was novelty and making things fun, I didn’t exactly know what I was doing, but I knew I could do something different. For me I’m creative and I like to make things as you know unorthodox and obscure as possible and then I just try to find a way to angle it to make it something that  I can make my own. And I had an understanding of what it took to book venders and  people because I had the that aspect of it and I saw an avenue. What I saw a lot was there was an inability for people to be to show dignity,  I don’t I don’t mean it in a negative context. What I mean is like people sometimes I would I would see didn’t know how to address people that had Alzheimer’s and there was a bit of a disconnect. And I felt I think they’re going about it the wrong way. Maybe they should talk to them like a person, not revert to an adolescent. So I took kind of all these experiences and I thought of a lane or area that I can create neurological brain activity educating myself not only with hands on, but.

00:05:08 – 00:10:02

Basically, teaching myself through the Internet different aspects of neuroscience. I’m a Nerd, so I started to follow New People and just kind of absorb  things and learn, and I said all right I think what I can come up with with my background of design and art and creativity and personal experience. Something that is dignified that doesn’t feel trivial or adolescent, but is like a line between validating neuroplasticity  or an individual having to use their brain in a manner that isn’t typical and an entertaining way, and and along the lines they’re making games at also lift the  individual up .And also play on words like I do a little bit of that kind of stuff to make you have to not only think about these things, but you’re applying a little more to it so and making it enjoyable. And that’s I guess the description on how it’s gotten to where its at today.

(Jennifer)

Are you finding seniors having difficulty transitioning to digital only, since they didn’t grow up with this?

(Gabriel)

 It depends on how you angle that question, so when I hear the question- I was when I first started doing the digital I had clients that already had relationships with me, so they adopted it and I already kind of knew the audience. It wasn’t as complex, but it wasn’t the same. It wasn’t the same resident interaction,  now what has happened is at it’s it’s I dunno pivoted or now there’s been another direction that’s taking place. And  now what I’m doing is I’m working with caregivers. I realize there was a plethora of individuals who are  home and there was something that they didn’t know existed. 

(Jennifer)

Tell me about neurosize. I mean it’s obviously brain exercises, but can you either describe or run me through one of these neuro size games? 

(Gabriel)

Yea i think that’d be a good idea.

(Jennifer)

 I’ll be able to see it. I’m going to describe it to for people who aren’t watching the Youtube Channel, but you might wanna check out the Youtube Channel, so you can see it too. I’ve played some of these cognitive brain games, and some of them are so hard ’cause they throw numbers at Ya. What’s your philosophy behind creating these games?

(Gabriel)

If you were to look at it through a  physical component like biologically, we’re all different. We all have different DNA so what works for one individual doesn’t l work for another individual. You know everyone’s going to have a different reaction to things and I think with with cognition from ,my experience, when I tell people about game and going through recession. Games also lend themselves to have As, we’ll see now, sometimes they’ll have a multitude of answers. There won’t be a definitive answer because some of my games are image based. That aategory is called neuro sauce, so neuro sauce everyone’s interpretation of an image is different, so we all are basically products of our experiences and those patterns. And you might see an image, and you might see people, and only say silhouettes of people and I might see that same image and I might say men, or I might say women.And you believe it because I tell you associated so another little ,rather another layer to the game, is that some of these things so individuals don’t you apprehensive. Is if you understand that there’s different actions you can get and it just makes sense at some degree, grammatically or audibly like oh! Perfect! My job is to make your brain work differently, now what the end answer is it doesn’t have to be definitive for all of them so I’ll show you now. But it’s a fun It’s a fun little sidenote for people’s brains and and games, because when people feel like iml not good at scrabble or I’m not good at whatever whatever the game is fill in the blank. I think you don’t need to be good at it. As a matter of fact, you could probably be bad at every single game. Try something different just might not be your game.

(Jennifer)

 I’ve tried different games because my husband is so good at so many of them. That I had to find one that I’m good at and he’s not familiar with so that I have fighting chance half the time. 

(Gabriel)

I understand. Lets share here.

(Jennifer)

We’re sharing the screen. 

(Gabriel)

So, this is kind of an intro. So every session. I. Kinda have a set so when people if I’m familiarized with the group of people, so let’s say the city of Atlanta.

00:10:02 – 00:15:17

I’m already familiarized with the people at their buildings, so I know that they’re individuals that are more inclined to want more challenging stuff and individuals that want things or that can handle or metabolize things at a slower pace, so when I have a a group of people I use eleven by seventeen  laminated cards. I essentially walk in and, I’ll have I’ll give everyone a few cards. Kinda knowing who you are, Ill  give you like two or three and then what’s happened on the digital, the digitized  sets is I come in with a set and I do I guess I’d make an assessment with the person and  I see  where there at. We do a couple of sessions and then I start changing it, but through the hour I’ll start here. And what this game will you have in front of you is numbers which alot of us have seen these things on the Internet, its kinda different. So letters in numbers and the numbers resemble a capitalized letter, so you already have a few points of reference in your in your subconscious or in your brain. So and this one you want to start from the top left as if you were normally reading something.

(Jennifer)

 it’s a phrase that’s made up of letters and numbers.

(Gabriel)

 Correct.

(Jennifer)

Says we’re all in this together, make it worthwhile. 

(Gabriel)

So let’s go here. 

(Jennifer)

 That says  take a deep breath.

(Gabriel)

Correct perfect.

(Jennifer)

 Remember how far you’ve come.

(Gabriel)

So correct.

(Jennfier)

There’s so this one is it’s letters that have gaps in them, so you kinda have to put the two halves together so you know what it says.

(Gabreil)

Correct, so there’s a few things that I play with. There’s the familiarity of our pattern of reading so were familiarized with  going left to right. What you have presented in front of you, it seems familiar like by making your brain process or read this information in a different way, which you may or may not see, I don’t know. I’m kind of playing with a little bit of what you already know. And giving you a little bit something different, and you’ll have either letters missing, parts or I’ll changed the typography or the design of a word, and you’ll see how it evolves in complexity as you go along. What do you have here?

(Jennifer)

 So this one is -It’s back its mirror image and it’s different fonts. ANd it says when you can’t find the -This one word has been bugging me S. U. N. S. H. oh  Sunshine! Be the sunshine.

(Gabriel)

 Correct. You want to go here? Okay, this is actually, It’s ingenious all right so here. The first aspect to this game and these games lend themselves to a few variables of time for individuals. So within an hour you know depending on the individual I try to not let anyone get stuck on one game, but let’s have an audience of people. For example I have a few engineers that are clients  of mine that reside in some assisted livings, and if I make something new that they’re not familiar with, and they’re adamant on wanting to solve it, they will do the whole hour session on this one game, and then they’ll ask you know. Bring it back the next session until it’s solved, so it’s it’s also it also offers a few different possibilities as far as speed is concerned, so there’s I learned there’s a lot of variances between individuals cognition.So I can work with individuals that either have early onset or maybe, you might not even have Alzheimer’s, but also worked with individuals that work in memory care, or are further along with Alzheimer’s and I’ve come up with different categories of games. Where hopefully people can spend It might not require so much of their brain, but it might require some other time to get it. Alright so for the sake of this game the first instruction I’ll say is how many words can you identify? And the follow up is can you see a phrase?

(Jennifer)

 Well, it says never odd or even and you got a bunch of circles with gaps in them that im not 

Sure.

(Gabriel)

 That’s more of the novel the more than novel component those are -This is actually the the typography from an eye chart, and if you the phrase that you read is correct, and you can actually read it both ways. So it’s actually an interesting i guess spin to it . 

(Jennifer)

Yea its forwards and backwards.

(Gabriel) 

 Correct so and the further along with the games, the more abstract they might come so one of the compliments of of the abstractness is having to use more of your brain. So a big component of novelty playing part in cognition is, it’s not only that things should be fun for the brain, but because they’re fun and different.

00:15:17 – 00:20:06

You’re asking your brain to do more so by asking it has to  process more, so it’s using more juice. What does this one say? 

(Jennifer)

This was has look for the – Then all the letters overlapping and laying down, and they’re all around. That ones gonna take me a minute to  decipher that bottom line, L. A. – Does that say laughter? 

(Gabriel) 

 It does indeed. So, let’s go. Well we can start here so this is more of a baseline, so now we’re  entering neuro sauce so the objective here is the imagery has to make a phrase, and has it makes sense at some in some degree and you’re starting from left to right and top to bottom.  

(Jennifer)

Okay we have can you see. 

(Gabriel) 

That is correct. 

(Jennifer)

 So we have a can and a picture of finger pointing and the words C and E that are looking like glasses. And we have an eye and a heart and then a fingerprint pointing at me again. Can you see I love you.

(Gabriel) 

Spectacular!So let’s go here now. It’s a little more involved.

(Jennifer)

 You are – or  your brain is a gift that keeps giving.

(Gabriel) 

Spectacular. Try this one

(Jennifer)

Oh boy. People are – They’re nuts. 

(Gabriel) 

I agree with you. 

(Jennifer)

Took me a second, Like wait a minute. There bolts, they’re nuts and peanuts.

(Gabriel) 

 So, correct going back. That’s a perfect example of -so when I’m making these games, when people ask me questions at the end of sessions I’m kind of already anticipating people are going to say certain things. Now there isn’t a day that doesn’t go by, I’ll be honest with you, that something new doesn’t arise because again to what I told you everyone’s experience is relative to what they associate an image or symbol to be. So people tell me stuff and I go, that kind of makes sense, but for the fact that you have nuts, people say bolts and I go, but where the bolts. I go out to the hardware store and then they go that’s just a peanut. And then they go oh and you get that moment of i see where were going. What you got here? 

(Jennifer)

So, we have a capital letter E that’s made out of wood. Then, we have tails and what does that say? E. A. 

(Gabriel)

 So you’ll see there’s also another layer , its a multi layered program I have here, so I tried to find a way of creating something that lends itself to the design so when I’m designing it I try to find a way to find an association that the individual might see subconsciously or might blatantly see. And I gave you kind of gave you a clue here a big one, if not the answer, but let’s see. 

(Jennifer)

Well there’s basically, the bottom is the word the and big is in  a magnifying glass, and then there’s a picture. So its obviously the big picture. You we have a D and tails and, then, what is this word? E? 

(Gabriel) 

When you think of a schematic or a blueprint what is, In essence, what does one make? The operative word.

(Jennifer)

 So, this is like letters inside. They’re gonna throw me off.  Says E. D. A. I cant tell if thats a O. That word that one’s gonna take me longer than we wanna  fool with since most of this is audio. 

(Gabriel)

 I’ll give you one more clue,  talking about putting things together you have- Okay so the first part we have details blank the big picture. So details blank the big picture and that word is being designed or assembled. The give a synonym for assembly or putting together or making.

(Jennifer)

 So  Oh details make the big picture. Make up the big picture.

(Gabriel)

 What’s the synonym for make? You got six letters there. 

(Jennifer) 

Create. 

(Gabriel)

 Bingo!

(Jennifer)

Details create the big picture. Okay, and that one would have taken me a minute.

(Gabriel)

 Precisely I know and again as you’re going through the session right now. This was thought from my last client, so what it is is.

00:20:06 – 00:25:02

It’s Kinda tailored to where I left off with an individual and I just kind of rev it up or I see how abstract they can be at one aspect. I might throw something else, and then I might bring to an area that they’re more familiarized with, and then come back and I’ll see I have something new, or something more complex. So what he got here?

(Jennifer)

 I see love in your eyes.

(Gabriel)

That’ll work. Again it’s viable, so as long as it makes sense to some degree. So that last image -well  how do I see? It could be a lot of stuff, so it could be – One could argue that they see I see love in your eyes or I see love in your face or I see love in your smile, or you know it’s all whatever they see.Some of them might not lend themselves that loosely know that. 

(Jennifer)

 So this is gravitate towards people who strengthen your – Part of this is behind the word. 

(Gabriel) 

Where do you see the R on your? You said before.

(Jennifer)

 Oh strengthen you – oh lift you! 

(Gabriel) 

 It’s viable. There’s a few there, but that is viable. What you got here?

(Jennifer)

 If you can – you got a stormtrooper reading a book. Thats gonna throw me off, if you can something this  you are not – this little window keeps getting. If you  can read this, you are not blind. 

(Gabriel) 

Spectacular. So let’s try this one. This is a two parter. What you got here? 

(Jennifer)

You got two hands, there both pointed at me; you got a left and right hand. And then the letter R and then a pile of words with an S, can, remote- R. words… This gonna  take me forever. 

(Gabriel)

You identified – You’ve said this word many times through the session thus far I just put two hands now and an R. You’ve actually said this.

(Jennfier)

That’s the word your again. 

(Gabriel)

That is correct.

(Jennifer)

 You throw me off like the two hands. 

(Gabriel)

Well it’s just different.

(Jennfer)

 Your words can- hmmm remote does not make sense.

(Gabriel)

Let me show you the second bit, and well come back to the first bit.

(Jennifer)

We have how,  W and two  croissants – how. You.You have  fingers on Glass or a mirror or something there. Why is it your last image is throwing me?

(Gabriel)

 Because It’s a It’s not as familiar, but the kicker is at the end of all the games once it’s solved you realize it’s not that involved. You know it’s just we’d all -It takes a minute.So, think of your senses and just look at the image and associate it with somewhere.

(Jennifer)

 Oh, so that’s how you feel .

(Gabirel)

Maybe, so what you got here now? 

(Jennifer)

 Your words can change how you feel. 

(Gabriel)

Hey that valid.

(Jennifer)

When you say that’s valid that means that’s not necessarily an answer. You’re looking for it.

(Gabriel)

 No, it means my job isn’t to give you a definitive all the time. My job is just to make your brain use  a way you don’t typically use itself so that’s kind of I will get neuro size.

(Jennifer)

 Well especially the remote to me is not it’s not a changer. Even that’s when a remote control does I was being literal with that picture. 

(Gabriel)

Right, but what you’re doing is precisely what I experienced daily is individuals have an idea of something and all I’m doing is if it makes sense to you, it  makes sense to you. And  how you interpret that change or that control or whatever you wanna call that ultimately is going to have an effect with the individual right. So, let’s see, try thins one. Im gonna wrap on this one.

(Jennifer)

How do you throw a something party  – hold on a  second I gotta move this window again.

00:25:03 – 00:30:01

So you are your planet. Bottom word is planet and got the finger pointing at me again. Oh, how do you throw a star party,  you planet. Got it. 

(Gabriel)

Some categories displayed on the website and others that I I’ve just been using in my sessions and stuff so I try to have it not always predictable or I guess try to keep some of that stuff so I’m doing my sessions. You know people aren’t exactly sure what im gonna do, but I basically come up with different games and manners in which different types or areas of cognition can can play, so those might be more involved. Maybe more abstract and that I might have things that are not as involved, but might be more of a distributor or a visual spatial component, I might have images that seem more faint, more far away that you know. You might not be able for individuals that arent able to articulate very well. All I need them to do is identify something you know, but because I have so many things in the way. You know it might take a little more time for them, so that’s kind of where I play. I get I basically try to make things in different capacities, so people can have the opportunity to use their brain and hopefully get a kick. An entertaining hour or whatever time duration out of it.

(Jennifer)

 So now is neurosize going to be available like an APP online for people to download? 

(Gabriel)

I’m doing everything with the online one on ones and I’m offering the program, and it’s basically I have a starter program. You get forty five games, and then I’m going to do every month,  ten new games, as  I’m doing with you. I talked to them for an hour. Some of my games people have questions like how I come up with these things, etc, then some of the games have questions that people start having conversations about that dont involve the game. Theyll see an interesting phrase, and we’ll start talking about it because I like to play with words so as of right now Im offering , I’m gonna offer it as a digital you know you can start, you can stop. It’s probably best if you keep going with volumes, you know as it evolves because there’s other things tied to it 

(Jennifer)

 Make Sense. So where can we find neurosis, obviously online?

(Gabriel)

 You can find it online. You can find on all the social media platforms. I’m on instagram, tiktok, facebook, and the  website is the theneurosize.org 

(Jennifer)

 So it’s theneurosize.org right?

(Gabriel)

Correct. 

(Jennifer) 

It amazes me the vast amount of ingenuity that comes out of caregivers who are dealing with people who take up a lot of mental and physical energy.

(Gabriel) 

An exorbitant amount, its a lot,  like a crazy amount. So when I read some of these posts that caregiving blogs do,  people think what I do yeah, it looks interesting and there’s a lot to it. But its because I can do it, if I had to do what caregivers do, it’s a whole other mindset.

(Jennifer)

So it’s nice that there’s so many of us providing information and different things for people taking care of loved ones with memory loss.

(Gabriel)

 One hundred percent I could, I mean. I think it’s a blessing we have technology. Its a blessing ’cause, could you fathom not very long ago at all as a matter of fact, just not having all these outlets all these all these ways of connecting with something that could add  some sort of value to your day.And you know it’s a good thing.

(Jennifer)

 It’s definitely a good thing. I appreciate this. I’m definitely gonna  check out the website because that was fun and good luck with neurosize. I’m sure that you’ll be greatly successful!

(Gabriel)

Whats that saying? From your mouth to God’s ears.

(Jennifer) 

If you didn’t get a chance to pull up the still images from the social media channels be sure to take a few minutes and check them out on the Youtube Channel, I think you’ll get a lot more out of them there. I hope you enjoyed the session with Gabriel and I, the games are really a lot of fun, and they do really make you kind of think in a fun way. It’s not a brain challenge like many of the cognitive games that we’ve probably all played and the best thing about this is you can probably play this with your loved one.

00:30:02 – 00:31:10

If they are in the earlier or middle stages of their disease. It’s also something you can maybe do as a family. 

I spent months looking for ways to connect with my mom to have enjoyable visits and do things that were good for her and not just sit around and watch TV.And I really wish neuro size had been around much earlier in her disease. Mom would have really enjoyed these games because they’re creative and they’re fun and they didn’t involve math. I don’t like math. Most listeners know that.

 Also be sure to check out our fully revamped website. There are lots of articles, resources, even recipes from yours truly all designed to help caregivers and people living with Alzheimer’s or dementia navigate their life. It’s designed for healthy lifestyles, information and resources. That, you’ll probably going to need sooner or later in the journey.

I hope you enjoyed this episode. I hope you have a fantastic week, and as always I will be in your ears again next Tuesday.