How to train your brain. There’s an app for that.

mental-health-2313426_1280(1)With a birthday looming that will make the title of this site moot – When I’m 64 forever! – I gave myself a little test. Then I gave myself another and another … and now I’m depressed.

Short backstory: for the past five years I’ve participated in a nationwide study that is marking my decay. Called the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging, it follows the progress and decline of some 50,000 Canadians from 60 to 80. Every three years we are tested on cognitive, emotional and physical fronts. Hearing is tested. Bone density. Coordination. Memory. The works.

As you can imagine, the memory test is the most unnerving (followed, for we women, by bone density).

There’s a lot to the memory piece, but part goes like this:

Tester: I’m going to name several items and ask you to repeat them.

It’s a long list of 25 or so. I repeat many, but  not all.

The test continues with various components then, 15 minutes later:

Tester: Can you repeat that list of items?

Me: Ummmm

With the next testing sessions just a year away, I figure it’s a good idea to be as strong and healthful as I can be on all fronts. So I did what any modern woman would do. I downloaded an app.

Lumosity  offers three free test games per day that focus on memory, attention, flexibility, speed and problem solving.

There’s a fun driving-while-dodging-obstacles test that I’m pretty good at. And there’s a remember-the-stuff-on-the-beach memory test that looks like this at one level:

2018-03-12 09.46.50

and like this at another:

2018-03-12 09.49.30

It can be tricky.

There are also attention games, including one that involves serving coffee, which I seemingly haven’t improved at since my one failed waitress job  40+ years ago. So attention may not be my thing.

I like this app. It reliably shows up every morning with a few minutes of games that get trickier as you progress.

So today, just for the fun, I did a little search for similar apps. There are many and most have several days of free play before they try to part you with your money.

I tried:


Fit Brains,


Elevate and


And now my Ipad screen looks like this:

2018-03-12 16.40.29
Okay, this was gratuitous and goes no distance in enhancing the story. But you have to admit the kids with my mom, way back when, are pretty cute.

I liked Elevate and didn’t mind Memorado.

Some games were similar across all apps. Some were fun, some mildly irritating. One tested vocabulary and didn’t give me a flattering appraisal. That one will be gone by tomorrow.

Anyway, friends and peers. Try one or more. Let me know your thoughts.

Unless you’ve got the memory of a 30-year old. Then I don’t want to know.




6 Comments Add yours

  1. Robyn says:

    CRAP! I don’t even recognize a lot of those items to be dodged. How does that relate to the test I wonder???


    1. Gery Lemon says:

      Download an app. They’re interesting. (And unsettling).


  2. mistimaan says:

    Really good


    1. Gery Lemon says:

      Thank you, Mistimaan

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lloyd says:

    Great read Gery. But I would not dedicate much angst to the results of these apps. They do not measure/sharpen the most essential aspects of the human brain. Would much prefer apps that can measure/sharpen more complex dimensions such as creativity, empathy and, especially, rational thinking ability.


    1. Gery Lemon says:

      An app to shape a kinder, more thoughtful humankind, Lloyd? Wouldn’t that be a marvel. Of course, those who could most benefit would be the least likely to download it.


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