Imagine how difficult it might be for someone with cognitive impairment–dementia to look at a list of information types in a small front in the middle of a page text. Now imagine that there is a better way. Look at the two diagrams (click to expand) and see if you think that some graphics scattered around a web page or report might make it a little easier to understand what is being said. Even for a PhD with 35 years of experience in work directly related to dementia.
And the cost of creating accurate and compelling is not that much.
I have argued for several years, especially in my book “Mind Mapping, Cognitive Impairment, and Dementia,” that communication among persons with dementia, their caregivers, and healthcare providers can be greatly improved by using visual thinking methods.
Mind maps are probably easier to understand for many persons with dementia than the traditional forms, small font information sheets, lists of to-do items, pharmaceutical labels, and guidelines. Mind maps can be used for visual journals and diaries that can still be understood at later stages of the disorder.
To use these methods effectively, it is imperative that healthcare providers and caregivers be trained in effective mind mapping methods. While many medical students are shown how to mind map, the techniques used are actually very ineffective ways of visual outlining that employ few, if any, of the real strengths of the method. These outline maps are clearly not appropriate for persons with dementia. Hence caregivers and healthcare providers need to be trained in “real” mind mapping methods AND how to communicate with these methods with persons with dementia.
Most of the trainings and mind mapping books and web sites are oriented to business users, especially at the management level. I have yet to find training sessions especially geared to both the mind mapping and patient care and management issues implicit in healthcare and caregiving. So how should we train healthcare professionals and caregivers to use mind maps effectively for the benefit of the person with dementia? The following mind map is a set of suggestions for how to train such individuals effectively. The trainings are designed to produce mind mapping experience specifically focused on patient care and management of those with dementia.
People who have fun using a technique will tend to incorporate it into their day-to-day life.
Consistent use of a technique known to enhance memory, spark creativity, and most importantly ENGAGE the user may result in better thinking by retraining the damaged brain to use different pathways.
That’s my unproven theory. If you don’t believe me, run empirical studies and disprove my theory. When you design those studies, please include another technique which you think may work better.
I’ve been doing my own studies on myself for several years to determine what might work best for a person with dementia to jump start the process of using new and better ways of thinking in a “damaged” brain. If you have something that can be empirically demonstrated to work better than what I have proposed, I have a very strong PERSONAL stake in seeing your findings so I can change what I do.
At any rate, this is my theory (at least until the end of the day). And, if you have something better, please tell us as there is much at stake.
Click on images to expand.
or in 3D …
or as an animated presentation (using PowerPoint installed on your computer; click to download; click file to start in PowerPoint; click the start presentation box at the top of the screen; move through the presentation by clicking the right arrow at the bottom of the screen).
Have dementia? So do I. You and I and others can use Twitter responsibly to provide information and observations and comments to millions of others, any one of whom might use that information to make a difference in treatment systems, the development of pharmaceuticals, priorities for the use of tax dollars, or the care of a family member.
Pssstttt… these techniques are for anyone advocating for just about any social issue. Pick a good topic you know something about and become a One Person Advocacy Organization.
Click on image to expand.
I have written a book on using mind maps to deal with issues that arise in cognitive impairment and dementia. The left sidebar provides links to two online bookstores that sell the book.
Since the beginning of this blog in 2012, I have consistently — with each new version — concluded (from dozens of comparisons with other programs) that iMindMap is the single best program for developing mind maps. Period.
With version 8.0, iMindMap is no longer the world’s best mind mapping program. Rather, it is the world’s best mind mapping program PLUS additional features that make it the world’s best visual thinking environment (or VITHEN using my coined term). Period.
What makes iMindMap 8.0 so valuable as an overall mind mapping and visual thinking tool is that it encourages you to use iterative, hierarchical, nonlinear, big-picture, creative ways of generating ideas, communicating those ideas, and integrating the ideas with the data of images and statistics. There is no tool I know of that is better for these overall tasks and the building of creative models.
I use iMindMap between 3 and 10 hours per day on the Mac, iPad, and iPhone 6 Plus.
Version 8 exceeds Version 7 in that the program has been significantly speeded up both for computer processing and in general usability of all of its advanced formatting features. The increased speed with which advanced formatting can be done encourages more precise and creative visual thinking.
Did I mention it has a very good (becoming excellent) 3 dimensional display mode and provides a much better presentation tool than the PowerPoint standard? The new Brainstorming Mode (file cards on a corkboard metaphor) allows those who like to see words rather than images to brainstorm in the mode most natural to them. I’ll never use the mode but I project many will embrace it.
The iMindMap program has been the best tool I have had to allow me deal with a neurocognitive neurodegenerative disorder and continue to be productive over the past five years. The program permits me to think at a very high level which I cannot do nearly as well with other techniques or other mind mapping programs.
All seven maps shown here are identical except for their format.
[I intentionally did not use any clipart because I did not want distract from the basic creative thinking and model development-presentation functions of iMindMap that are the real core of the program. With any of the variations of this map, if you spend 10 minutes adding selected included clipart or icons, the map will be even more visual.]
The remainder of my review is — appropriately — presented as a mind map.
Click images to expand.
Three styles provided with the iMindMap program.
4 Custom Styles I Use in My Own Work and 4 Variations on the Same 3D Mind Map