Zoom Pals

We would like to introduce you to the Brain Exercise Initiative and Esin at UCLA. It’s a new program that UCLA is trying to start at BEI called Virtual Connections. With all our in-person initiatives being put on hold due to COVID-19, we wanted to continue to reach out to seniors and maintain connections with residents within our community.

We are pairing volunteers with seniors to meet once a week through virtual means (phone, skype, zoom, etc.) for a friendly chat. Our program aims to pair volunteers from the existing chapter we are partnered with. Also, we partner with other students from different universities across the United States. With The Brain Exercise Initiative, our goal is to go to retirement homes and do brain exercises with elders. There are numerous studies that discuss how stimulation of the brain on a daily basis can help improve the memory of those with Alzheimer’s.

The Program Includes

With research, the Brain Initiative found that simple math exercises and reading aloud for just 30 minutes a day can have a significant impact on memory for those with Alzheimer’s. This is currently being done extensively in Japan. It was discovered by a Japanese doctor, Ryuta Kawashima. It consists of math exercises (addition, subtraction, multiplication) and reading aloud short stories. When it was done for just 30 to 45 minutes a day, 5 times a week, they observed significant improvements in Alzheimer’s patients.


It is currently being done in 1400 care homes. There are 18,000 Alzheimer’s patients all over Japan and has had great success. Many individuals showed improvements in communication and behavior. Additionally, they began to feel happier. It is very successful in Japan. We believe that there is no reason why it wouldn’t be just as successful here. Because of this, we decided to link up with the Brain Initiative program. For more information on this program, please contact Esin Gumustekin egumustekin@ucla.edu

image of establishing in-person and virtual connections at Tequesta Terrace
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