Click on the mind map to expand it.
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I have been living with dementia since formal diagnosis in 2010 [and the reality that it started a number of years before that].
Objectively, there is no cure for the neurodegenerative condition I have and generally progression constant.
Subjectively I feel much better now than I did when I was diagnosed.
Over the years, I learned much from other persons living with dementia who live WELL. A number of them write about their experiences in blogs and in groups on Facebook.
I’ve tried to integrate the observations and successes with my training in psychology and practice over 35 years.
I feel better now than I did six years ago. I have medications that do not cure but do help control the symptoms I found most troublesome. I reprioritized my life and focus my energy on those activities most important to me, my family, and others. Even when others cannot fully understand why I do certain things, I take solace in the fact that I have concluded that there is a higher power in the universe and that it is my responsibility to try to understand her and convey what I believe I understand to others.
Click on the image below to see some of the ways I believe one can redirect feelings of anger and despair into living well with dementia and minimize the stress on family and friends.
Click the mind model (map) to expand it.
I love mornings. I wake up with the rush of energy and clarity.
Mid-day, ugh. By 6 PM (dinner) things can be dismal if I did not take a NAP in the afternoon. The most useful naps seem to be those take after lunch.
Evenings can be mundane or great. Certainly not as bad as the afternoons. I need to be careful that I do not stay up too late. If I do, tomorrow afternoon could be worse.
These are MY daily rhythms. They may not be yours (or those of the person in your care). But do watch and see if the time of the day tends to relate to moods and concentration levels and creativity and social skills. When mine get bad, I try to take a nap.
Click on the mind map to expand it.
and here is a “fancier” version (content is identical).
Since 2012, this blog has tried to help persons with dementia and their caregivers learn to use mind maps and other visual thinking tools to simplify the journey through dementia and lessen some of the burdens placed upon caregivers and persons with dementia.
Mind mapping and other visual thinking tools are ways of representing ideas and communicating through pictures and diagrams. In addition to mind maps, other useful visual thinking tools are sketchnotes, doodles, diagrams, and photography.
I focus on mind maps because that is what I primarily use, but sketchnotes and other ways of representing information are also good.
Note that while I use computer programs, you can draw any of these diagrams with a piece of typing paper (if this is not big enough for you, tape a few pieces together), a pencil or pen, and a little care to print legibly. It is best to use a few colored pencils to make the diagram a little clearer but not necessary.
The important part of the diagrams is the organization and the words (ideas) you express.
The mind map below shows some of the people who might benefit from your diagrams including the person with dementia and YOU. Mind maps are a very powerful way of presenting information to others and organizing and remembering your thoughts.
Virtually any kind of information can be presented in a diagram. Here are some examples. As you collect such information you can make it available to others.
Persons with dementia benefit from knowing their schedules and what is coming up. It cuts anxiety. Doctors can absorb information from you rapidly, in context, and accurately. My internist and neurologist like to see them. Family members will like to see what is going on, and this is a way to manage and increase their own involvement in care. Mind maps about what the person with dementia likes and behaves can make your job an easier one for others to assume so that you can have some well-needed respite. Care notes can help everyone know what has been going on for the person with dementia.
Whether these notes are made by a family caregiver and loved one or made by a paid caregiver, they can be invaluable both for maintaining the quality of care and informing others the best ways they can help
Click on the image to expand it.
My dementia is starting to get to the point where I have a lot of trouble remembering how to spell a lot of words. I am also having increasing difficulty writing a sentence that uses the rules of grammar correctly (not that I was ever really proficient in grammar but once upon a time I wasn’t this bad).
I have been trying the program Grammarly which is a grammar and spelling checker far more sophisticated than anything inside any word processing program (notably Microsoft Word and Apple Pages) that I have used. It also can be used with your blog, Twitter and other social media posts, and lots of other programs on the Mac or PC.
To use Grammarly you must be logged into the Internet. It is also fairly necessary to have a subscription instead of using the trial, free version. Subscriptions are about $12.50 per month depending on how you pay (monthly, quarterly, annually). I think it is well worth it for me. Hopefully, the program will help me trick you into believing that I am maintaining spelling and grammar levels even as I know they are fading without the computer assist.
Want information you created or curated to have the greatest impact? Then put it into a mind map. Not a mono-toned mess of straight lines at right angles but curves with colors and an organic style. A mind map utilizing rules that follow what is fairly well known about visual thinking. A mind map like the one below.
Click on the image to expand it.
Can elephants fly?
Can microwaves spy?
Can Trumpcare provide adequate healthcare for all Americans or is that just another lie?
And Trumpcare does not even try.
The bulk of the posts in this blog document my experiences using mind mapping (and more generally, visual thinking) as a way to deal with my own dementia. My own history of using these techniques is briefly summarized HERE.
Since I starting using mind maps for this purpose in 2010, my use of the mapping techniques has shifted somewhat. More and more I use the mapping methods for helping remember to take medications (and more importantly to avoid double doses if I forget that I have already taken the red pill).
Here are some of the ways I am most often using mind maps in 2017 as my dementia progresses. Please click the image to expand it.
The most important of these uses are the creative ones given in the branch at the bottom labeled “creative.” These uses are the ones that keep me interested and feeling like my contributions can be meaningful each day.
Mom must have said about a million times when I was a kid that just because someone else (or a lot of someone elses) did something, it did not mean I should (or could).
In 2017, Mom probably would have said …
“Just because President Trump does it, does not mean you can (or should). Two wrongs do not make a right.”
The focus of the blog is on the issues shown below. If you click on the image, it will expand.
Click Links Below for Selected Posts
Computer Program Reviews
Personal Story (g j huba phd)
Stories from a Lifetime
Hopes and Wishes
A few years ago I set out — as I have discussed in this blog many times — to “prove” that a person with dementia can use mind mapping in numerous ways to improve the quality of life.
Yes, a big “clinical trial” is the right way to make such a test. But I had no resources to run a clinical trial and even more importantly, no time and energy. And I mean time defined as “productive, predicted remaining life span.”
But I did have a willing participant with dementia (me) and a huge audience on social media. It is now about 4 1/2 years since I first posted a mind map on my blog site. The blog site www.Hubaisms.com now contains more than 1,000 mind maps and more than 700 posts.
Through my blog posts and their observations, usefulness to others, and my medical path, I’ve demonstrated that the technique can by used at least for one person on this planet daily and with results shown on the Internet for all to see.
No one should assume that because I believe that the method has proven effective for me that it will be effective for them. You should consult your own health care providers if you wish to try this for yourself or a person under your care.
There are many, many, many examples of the use of the methods on the blog site. What’s you excuse for not spending an hour reviewing them? My methods are useful with my dementia, but most also apply to — with a few adaptations — many other physical and mental diseases.
Click on the image below to expand it.
It is not because it produces a pretty picture.
It is not because it looks cool.
It is not because it is a nice way for formatting an outline or brainstorming session.
It is because it pushes me into thinking better! What better reason is there than that?
Click image to expand.
Timelines and integrated mind maps can be fairly easily generated in iMindMap, although the process is manual rather than automated by the program.
Combining a timeline with the extra hierarchical information of the mind map produces images which can communicate visual great amounts of data.
Click the image to expand the example.
Having just reviewed the premier mind mapping program iMindMap 10, I want to go on record with my predictions for the next “big thing” in mind mapping.
It is not better computer programs.
It is learning to use the programs more effectively to produce BETTER THINKING.
Click on the image to expand the mind model.
I doubt that there are many people expert in mind mapping who would disagree with me that iMindMap is the most feature-laden of the more than 100 programs for mind mapping to be found all over the Internet.
Once a year — as promised when the program was first introduced — iMindMap has a new release that provides many new features and usability enhancements. And unlike others, they produce a great upgrade every year on time. And free from most bugs that live in Cupertino and Redmond.
How good is iMindMap 10?
Click on the mind map (actually mind model in my terminology) below to expand its size. For those of you with no patience or dramatic sense of the big build-up, you can skip directly to the “9” branch. iMindMap is the 8,000 pound gorilla.
As a note, my review was conducted about six weeks after receiving the program and using it exclusively rather than earlier editions. I use a Mac only, and my review was conducted on a 2013 Macbook Pro. I have worked with the program both on an internal 15″ retina macbook screen and a 27″ external monitor. [I actually like using the Macbook screen better.]
Chris Griffiths and his team at OpenGenius have taken the work of Tony Buzan and in the process of developing a program expanded and formalized that conception in a creative way that is brilliant in its overall utility and ease of use. iMindMap 10 is my favorite mind mapping program, but most importantly my favorite and most useful thinking tool. For those of you who do not follow my blog in general, I live with Frontotemporal Dementia and iMindMap has served as a “brain assistance tool” for me since 2010 in daily living and in continuing my professional interests in a creative way. I can accurately say that the various versions of this program “changed my life.”
This is a tool formulated by expensive consultants who want to help corporations make more money while at the same profiting from that help. But the tool has come to greatly exceed the original vision and is intuitive to use and most adults and all children can learn to use the program for free using Internet trainings. Don’t be scared off by all of the publicity about a $3500 training and a certificate signed by a consulting firm (not an accredited educational institution). You do not need a course to learn this program and it is not clear to me that expensive courses help you learn to apply this program in the real world. If you are willing to invest a few hours you can be doing adequate mind maps; if you invest 10-20 hours you can be doing accomplished mind maps.
Get over the hype and realize that you CAN learn this program quickly on your own and even more rapidly if you study examples available without cost at many blogs including this one (Hubaisms.com), a depository of many thousands of mind maps at Biggerplate.com, and many other sites including youtube.com where many training sessions are presented.
While there are four “views” in this program, the primary mind mapping module is the reason for using this program. The other three views are largely alternate ways of looking at the same information and data. While they may be “quicker” ways to collect information together from a lecture or library research, at the end they feed their data into the mind mapping module where the actual thinking work, theory building, model development, and communication is done.
I have a few criticisms of the program, but these criticisms do NOT change my overall rating of the program as A+.
- The time map module is really just a Gantt chart of interest to but a few mid-level corporate managers and high level executives who have not yet adopted better ways of team management. As a Gantt chart the module is fine, albeit about the same as most existing software in that area. Unless you are like a friend of mine who manages 10-year projects to send landers to Mars with 10,00 team members, I cannot imagine why you would want to use a Gantt chart.
- In my view and that of many other potential users, a “time map” is actually a timeline that incorporates mind map features. While others have tackled this issue (most notably Philippe Packu and Hans Buskes), my formulation was the original. The resulting blog post (click here for a new window) has been the most read one about mind mapping methods on my blog site for FOUR years. I’d urge the iMindMap developers to look at my model of time maps which requires a lot of custom work that I am sure they could easily automate.
- For almost all mind map users, the future is using pre-made templates designed by content experts. Purchase a template package and then you can then create your own mind maps by adding your information to the pre-designed expert map for your area whether it be healthcare or project management or writing a term paper or designing a research project or selecting the right clothes for a 5 day business trip. At this time iMindMap does not yet have a way of protecting the intellectual property of template developers which provides little incentive for developing templates as a business and therefore stunts the growth of the mind mapping community.
- For this program and all of its competitors, the icon and image libraries are never big enough. On the other hand, you can purchase separate icon and image sets from third-party packagers on the Internet if you have special image needs. iMindMap allows you to use such external pictorial elements extremely easily. My favorite new feature is that you can add icons to their library and size the icons in a custom way. iMindMap’s included images should more fully capture the fact that users of mind maps and their audiences are much more diverse in terms of ethnicity, race, gender, gender-orientation, education, and age than the included image libraries. And hey OpenGenius folks, how about some icons for numbers in colors besides orange and lime so that the color schemes of my mind maps are not destroyed if I number ideas.
- More free online trainings would be desirable, and most importantly trainings that do not run at the speed of a bullet train. Two minute presentations that cover 20 minutes of material are somewhat counter-productive. The current videos run too fast for new users and at time for even the most experienced users.
- My experience — admittedly infrequent — is that Technical Support is fairly “rigid” in that there are lots of forms to fill out before you get a real chat session going and too many requests to send them esoteric files on your computer. All in all, as technical support goes, while everybody is trying quite hard to be helpful, they ask you to conform more to what is convenient for them than what a confused user can deal with. When I want help or to make a suggestion or make a request for a new feature or default, I want to just compose a short email so OpenGenius can get the right person there in contact with me. I most definitely do not want to complete an overly complicated form. Too much technocracy in that process.
- Besides the books of Buzan which are not all that useful for learning the program or how to do real visual thinking in real world applications other than rudimentary management, OpenGenius needs to develop some easier access, very practical books that act as “manuals” and present information in more comprehensive ways than is done now. Old fashioned manuals that are (or can be) printed have a lot of appeal to many.
In summary, this is an amazing program that is much more than a program for mind mapping. It is unsurpassed among mind mapping programs. Additionally it is what I call a “visual thinking environment” or VITHEN. My “criticisms” are minor and do not in anyway diminish my overall evaluation of the quality of the program.
My blog at Hubaisms.com on which you are reading this review was designed and “written” largely in “iMindMap.” Most of the mind maps I use to guide my own “complicated” life were developed in iMindMap.
Exemplary job folks at OpenGenius. Version 10 is an additional large step in the evolution of the program and mind modeling.
Mind modeling (advanced mind mapping) is a method of drawing out ideas so as to facilitate thinking.
I think that mind modeling works well for some people with early and middle stages of dementia. And I think that most people from 6-60 can master this method of visual thinking and memory retention before the onset of cognitive impairment and dementia.
Here is a brief visual summary of this visual method. Click on the image to expand it.
Click on the image to expand.
Click on the image to expand it.
The key principle is “That was then, THIS IS NOW.”
I have frontotemporal dementia. Over years I have not responded well or appropriately when receiving gifts.
So I thought it would be a good idea to put together a mind model of things you might want to consider when purchasing a holiday or birthday gift for a loved one living with dementia.
Here are three mind models (mind maps) on the gift giving process when the recipient is living with dementia or cognitive impairment.
For each of the images, click on it to expand.
The first diagram shows a set of practical considerations you should think about when selecting a gift.
The second diagram is a list of possible gifts that might also help both the person with dementia and the caregiver. Most of these suggestions are relatively inexpensive.
The third diagram shows the primary consideration in gift giving for persons with dementia.
Each of these mind models is derived from my own experience as well as my training in psychology. The models are merely ones that apply to myself and may not fit your situation. Hopefully, though, even if the models do not fit your loved one, these mind maps will get you thinking that a somewhat different approach to gift giving might be appropriate at this time.
My suggestions are focused toward gifts that might help the person with dementia and the caregiver deal with some of the symptoms of the disease.
Do realize that with certain types of dementia, there is a significant possibility that the person with dementia will not respond well to the gift. In that case suggest that you can return it, but don’t rush to do so as the longer reaction after a couple of days may be very favorable.
Happy Holidays and special occasions to all.
People who learn to take responsibility for their own actions could save me a lot of money.
- have less kids born into families that cannot support them saving me money on social programs
- are less likely to contract STDs especially HIV thus saving me money on STD prevention and treatment programs
- graduate from high school (and college and grad school) thus qualifying them to be in higher tax brackets and save me from higher tax rates and subsidizing their living costs
- live longer because they forgo tobacco and drinking alcohol to excess thus saving the entire health care system from huge wasted services
- pick up their garbage and put it in trash receptacles thus saving me having to pay someone to pick up after them
- recycle thus cutting the bill for environmental cleanup
The USA should incentivize self responsibility by granting payments to
- every student who ever graduates from high school
- every student who ever graduates from college
- every student who ever earns a graduate degree
- every 18 year old who has never had an STD
- every 18 year old woman who has never been pregnant
- every 18 year old man who has never fathered a child
- every 21 year old who has never been convicted of a DUI offense
- every 21 year old who has never used tobacco
- every 21 year old who has a “normal” weight and is neither obese nor dangerously underweight
- every 40 year old who has a “normal” weight and is neither obese nor dangerously underweight
- every 50 year old who has never been convicted of a DUI offense
- every 60 year old who has a “normal” weight and is neither obese nor dangerously underweight
Incentives would be in the form of one-time tax credits for the individual or the individual’s family. This means that incentives are only paid to workers and their families.
Oh, the government would supply free voluntary services to all residents on birth control methods including condoms freely available to all children old enough to conceive, unlimited voluntary counseling on avoiding self destructive behaviors, unlimited voluntary counseling on leading a healthy life, and unlimited voluntary counseling for reasons of family instability, mental health, child rearing, and birth control. None of these free services would include any components related to any religion. And legitimate and effective education at all levels from preschool through college would be free to any American resident of any age and with support services to ensure anyone can graduate.
If the USA were to provide fairly significant incentives for learning and exercising self responsible behaviors we could produce a citizenry that creates less problems and is less dependent upon social network and support programs for themselves and their children. This will leave a lot of money to spend on those who truly cannot deal with their own medical and psychological problems no matter what they personally do and probably leave some over for lower tax rates.
Wow. Incentives for studying, working hard, becoming a productive member of society, and paying for needed and fully effective programs for all of those who have mental or physical or developmental disease and cannot legitimately assume full responsibility for all aspects of their lives.
I’d love to see a similar set of ways to incentivize healthcare and education workers. Small increases in productivity and job satisfaction among these critical citizens saves a lot of money and produces a much more healthy society.
Oh, I know, I am a dreamer. After all, my proposal could never make it through Congress. Even though it will save lots of money, promote better lives through self responsibility, and leave sufficient resources for those who truly need medical and mental health services because of factors beyond their control, this is truly an anti-American proposal that expects self responsibility and does not let big religion bully small religions, agnostics, or atheists around.
Every once in a while we need a little revolution.
[Musings of a very liberal, very capitalist, individual who believes in self responsibility and taking care of anyone who cannot take care of themselves with first-rate, state-of-the-art programs.]
Click on the image to expand it.
For those of you who think that the term Dementia Monster is insensitive, do remember that I have one who lives inside of me. Increase my anxiety levels and out he comes. I spend much of my energy trying to limit his ability to feed on the anxiety.
Click on the mind model (mind map) to expand it.
Click here to see Part 1 of My Vision in a separate window.
The mind model (aka mind map) below discusses my vision in developing the dementia focus on this website. I started to build the web site about two years after being diagnosed with a neurodegenerative condition (2012). Thus the entire blog is the work of a developer experiencing dementia while designing and preparing the content for the site. The site discusses my progression through cognitive impairment and decline into dementia. More importantly it discusses how I tried to help myself coordinate and use to full advantage the support and professional expertise made available to me by family, friends, the community, my doctors, and the general world-wide of patients and professionals the major issues.
Nothing in this blog post (or any other on blog post or page on the site) is intended to be, or promoted as medical, psychological, or any other form of treatment. The ideas in this blog are about using some commonsense note-taking and visual thinking methods to possible help you live better with dementia. I tried it on myself (only) and I am encouraged although I freely admit that full scientific study is needed.
These methods and comments will not substitute for medical and other professional treatments. They do not cure dementia. They do not slow down the progress of dementia. For me, at least, the methods have sustained and increased my quality of life and I do spend more time with my family and am more independent and in my opinion think better. But my dementia is not being treated and getting better; what I propose are methods that may make it easier to independently manage selected parts of your life, be in a better mood because you are trying to help yourself, be less of a burden to your caregivers, and report better to doctor what your experiences have been since the last appointment.
Many people are miserable almost all days when they have dementia. If simple, inexpensive cognitive tools can improve some or many of those days, the development of such techniques is a huge step forward.
I hope that others will examine the information here and use it to improve the decisions they, their caregivers, and their doctors and nurses must make about their formal medical treatment.
Here is what appears in the blog posts and elsewhere on Hubaisms.com.
Click on the image to expand it.
Click here to see Part 2 of My Vision in a separate window.
Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks in mirror image handwriting
I set up the Facebook group Dementia Mind Maps for those who may be interested in using mind maps to aid in dementia care, research, education, prevention, and general information.
If you would like to discuss the topic with persons with dementia, adults aging typically, healthcare professionals, decision makers, the general public, educator, mind mappers, and the curious lifelong learners, please join the group.
The group is an open one.
This is the link for joining the group.
Being mindful while developing a mind model (mind map) can produce a map of much greater quality, usefulness, and validity whether the map is developed by an individual or as part of a (brainstorming or other) group. Get calm and focused on the present and devoid of emotional states that may inhibit creative thinking and your map should be much better both after the first draft and after it is edited.
Remember mind mapping is a creative process focused on visualization. Psychologists have known for more than 50 years that visualization is a powerful tool best used when in a relaxed and focused state.
Give this try and you may improve your maps greatly. As I developed the concept of being in a mindful state over several years, I saw the creative process in my own maps become much better and easier to enter.
Click on the image to expand it.
A second post discusses how the act of developing a mind map or mind model can itself help you to become more mindful. Click here to see that post in a new window.
Not the past, not what might happen in the future. Fuzzy, intuitive, today’s emotions. Nonlinear, visual, big picture. Attention flows toward good, bright, happy visualizations.
Opening your mind to nonlinear thinking may provide cognitive reserve that helps you as cognitive functions start to decline perhaps precipitously into dementia. Neuroplasticity is a mechanism that the brain will uses to reassign functional processing from one area to the brain as it is damaged by trauma or disease.
One very good way to encourage the development of cognitive reserve and neuroplasticity is to practice nonlinear thinking methods that can help promote mindful solutions. Should the brain become damaged, it may be able to use nonlinear, symbolic visual thinking to cope, at least for a while. And while you practice you may also experience strength in your resolve and understanding.
Do note that the above comments are speculative. There is NO formal research on mind mapping nor other comments about this in the literature (other than my own). Also this is based only on my own experience and generalizations from my earlier research on daydreaming and imagery. So do not go about thinking that this proven. Rather it is speculative.
While I theorize that mind mapping is related to mindfulness in SOME applications, even if it turns out that it is not — from the results of formal empirical studies — there are other demonstrated benefits from mind mapping, so the actual use of mind mapping should still be encouraged.
Biggerplate.com is a repository of mind maps created by most of the major mind mapping programs. The maps may downloaded without cost for study of the technical issues in making the map and its content.
Biggerplate.com is an important and often-used “library” of mind maps used by the world wide community of mind maps and related tools for visual thinking. It is a potentially a wonderful opportunity to learn more about mind maps.
So how valid is the information? Is it a fact that 32% of all UK residents do X while 39% of all USA residents do Y valid? Are the brain diseases listed correctly in the usual way? Are explicit and implied facts correct? Was the map developed by an expert in using the method of mind mapping to enhance visual thinking? Is the author/developer an expert in the content of the map such as a professor or a recognized expert?
Can you answer any of my questions in the previous paragraph from information presented on Biggerplate.com? ABSOLUTELY NOT. There is no review of the content validity of the maps nor any review of whether the purported mind map meets the standards of an effective use of a tool to improve visual thinking.
Peer review is the gold standard of assessing the quality of intellectual property. In this case peer review is probably not required for 95% of the mind maps on Biggerplate.com where the content is typically commonsense or is information available in accepted textbooks. On the other hand, some information like that in medicine or science or legal opinions or statistics begs out for peer review.
The mind model (aka mind map) below suggests at least a minimally acceptable solution in the cases where peer review is probably not needed. At this time we do not know if a mind map author/developer sees herself as an expert or novice in both the theory of mind mapping and visual thinking as well as content of the map. We should at least ask the author to provide information about his qualifications using self ratings. While not a great solution it is a simple and quick one that would help improve the use of the information archived on the extremely useful website Biggerplate.com.
Click the image to expand the mind model.
This mind model (aka mind map) below shows a “Circle of Care” for persons successfully living well with dementia. The ability to access such a network when needed is a goal that the healthcare and social care systems should strive to attain.
While this may appear to be a daunting task, remember that most of these services exist in some form in most places but in most instances are not coordinated nor aware of the contributions of other sources. The key to making the “system work” is successful (care or case management) of the individual.
Click on the image to expand it.