Info

social, health, political imagery through the lens of George J Huba PhD © 2012-2019

Archive for

Once upon a time …

Think how much easier it might be for a person with cognitive dysfunction (dementia or other) to understand and remember the elements of this mind map than “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

Of the course, this is just a little example of making a point. There are thousands of applications of such a method in the daily life of a person with dementia or a child with cognitive challenges.

I made the following mind map at the end of the day yesterday to document what I had done that day. The source of information was a small notebook I carry to scribble incomplete thought during another day of living with dementia. This mind map took about 5 minutes for me to draw (I have a lot of practice) with a pen and a medium-sized page from my sketching pad.

Click on the image to expand it.

 

 

While you see my computer-assisted mind maps on this blog site, I find the hand-drawn maps adequate for simple applications.

Try to draw a similar small map. Do you think you might remember the organized information better and encourage your mind to create associations or brainstorm new thoughts? That’s how it works for me. Using a few colored pencils makes the hand-drawn map even more useful.

When I want to capture and organize more information I use a computer program (either starting with a hand-drawn first draft) or just creating the map from scratch in a computer program.

Here is a computer-assisted map drawn from the first-draft above. It took me about 15 minutes to draw; I added a little more formatting because the map was going into a blog post rather than being just for my use. I could have drawn the computer-assisted map in 10 minutes if it was just for personal use.

Click on the image to expand it.

 

 

After you experiment for free and with materials you already have in just about every room you have in your house — and possibly already in your pocket — you might want to try to develop some maps in free programs or free demonstrations periods for more expensive programs. Programs are available for notebook computers and mobile devices. There are many apps for Macs and PC and iOs (Apple) and Android mobile devices.

I hope this post gives you a little better understanding of why I mind map with dementia to improve my ability to continue to think well. I have found over 10 years that I have been able to retain quite a bit of my cognitive functioning in spite of neurodegenerative disease.

Will this work for everyone? No. Is it worth a try? Well, it costs nothing to try as you already have that pencil and an old envelope around. And you could always work on a mind map during the television commercials instead of running to the refrigerator.

Give it a try.

Neurodegenerative conditions progressing in typical ways can cause many different type of altered psychological functioning. Psychiatric medicines may help control some of the psychological conditions caused by brain disease or create additional psychological problems as side effects.

You need to discuss psychological problems that you experience every time you see any of your medical care providers.

Psychiatric drugs used for those with neurodegenerative disorders may be prescribed differently than they are for psychiatric patients without neurodegenerative conditions. Hence if you are being prescribed psychiatric medications for a neurological condition, try to see a healthcare provider who has been trained in both neurology and psychiatry.

Click on the image to expand its size.

As soon as you are diagnosed with dementia, it is important to start to use techniques of “living smart with dementia.”

  • Time Frame: reorient yourself to the ways things are now, not what they used to be.
  • Medications: work with your doctor on drugs that can help with your symptoms and follow your doctors’ instructions.
  • Anxiety: ask your doctor for help.
  • Gratitude: Appreciate and acknowledge all those who help you.
  • Communicate: Use appropriate methods for your current cognitive strengths not necessarily the way you have done it in the past.
  • Apathy: Take steps to actively reorient yourself when you just don’t feel like doing anything.
  • Think Small: Your goal is to live well and make as few problems for others as possible. You are not going to rebuild your career or Rome. Identify what you can do and work hard to do.

The mind map below shows a synthesis of these ideas. Click on the image to expand it.