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.
June 2 until July 12. That’s a long time for any person. It’s a much longer time for a person with cognitive decline. It is the longest time between posts on Hubaisms.com.
Typically, if you got back through my 800 posts since 2012, you will find that on average the gap between consecutive posts is about 3 days with flurries of activity when I post several times per day.
Why the big gap for the first time? Here are some of the reasons.
11 fantastic days in Spain (Barcelona, Majorca, and Madrid) with wonderful food, great museums, and immersion in another culture
working on a book
preventive activities on my part and that of my medical providers against the rate of increasing cognitive decline
feeling kind of lazy
“malfunctioning” of my personal clock (consistent organization of daily schedules)
video bingeing on The Expanse, Salvation, and Marvel Universe movies (all highly recommended)
working on some new methods of using visual thinking (see next post) to deal with cognitive decline
Here are some of the consequences of the “absent six weeks.”
very rusty on WordPress (blogging software)
very rusty on using the iMindMap program and others for computerized mind mapping
development of some new techniques and variants of old techniques for fighting cognitive decline and improve some of the methods I have been using
During the six week break I did conclude that my life is slowing down and it is getting harder, never easier, to keep a definite “work” routine going. Given that I was in a consistent and fairly invariant pattern of work and other activities, “relaxing” from that set routine has defiitely made it harder to re-establish the patterns that have been keeping me stable over the past eight years. Keeping on a regular schedule of cognitive exercise has been important for me over almost a decade. Time to get back on a regulated at the schedule. At the same time, I am going to try to get other things back to normal and establish
In the next few weeks, I will be posting a lot on mind mapping, improved techniques for effective visual thinking, experiences during my cognitive decline, and new ways to document your daily life (throughout your lifespan and during cognitive decline).
I think it a fantastic time of year for most of the things I like to do in spite of the inevitable 5:15 PM thunderstorms and the usual 5-10 days of 99 degree temperatures.
Row a boat, paddle a canoe, work on your paddle tennis game, walk in the sand of many bodies of water, drop an ice cream cone, and cheer at the baseball park. Take a vacation even if your travels are limited to local pools and nearby state and national parks. Go watch a little league game and take some pictures. Have a picnic. And never get frustrated by the amount of sweat you produce.
Although there is no account of the season in which G-d created the universe within the Torah, Koran, or Old Testament, it strikes me that summer is a most glorious achievement. I conclude it must have been the first season.
The joys of summer. Click on the mind map to expand it.
Think about entering the healthcare system as a patient. You get handed 5 pages of tiny font sheets to fill in with your address, person paying the bills, the medical history of yourself and two generations back every time you go in, You scribble out answers into tiny boxes and hand the forms back. Then they give you 3 small-font pages of legal disclaimers and conditions to read and approve.
Next a nurse takes you aside for a blood pressure reading, a weight assessment, and various other information. He scribbles all of the resuolts into a chart.
Next up the doctor enters. She scans all of the paper you filled out and what the nurse wrote down, and then starts asking you questions in a shotgun approach. When you comment that the answer is still what you wrote down 5 minutes earlier, she is not impressed.
Later the doctor gives you instructions. She goes fast but alo types the suggestions into an EMR (electronic medical record). You may lose the form (common with the cognitive diagnoses I have), not understand everything in the report, and not be able to read 2 point text. but at least you can recover what she wrote.
Don’t they always say a picture is worth 1,000 words? Don’t most people agree with that statement?
For the current aging birth cohort (boomers), images are a way of life. Photos were available when we were born and financially accessible to most by the mid-1960s. The number of pictures increased in newspapers and later on the Internet over the past 50 years. Immediate images and videos from the ubiquitous smartphones have been available to the majority of world-wide families for the past 5 years.
Home black and white television sets became very common in the 1950s and color televisions in the late 1960s.. By the 1990 many US homes had more than one television set. In the 2000s screen (flat panel) sizes at least doubled in size in most homes. 700 channels and 3 TV sets and and nothing on.
We all use images constantly and reading text is going down. We primarily get our news from pictures on the Internet, in print media, and shared with friends or on social media. Pictures are used to influence our attitudes, behaviors, preferences, and to sell us products.
I have been working hard at creating and using images in my own healthcare for the past 9 years after I was diagnosed with a progressive neurocognitive disorder.
About six months ago I had a PET scan of my brain as well as my fourth MRI since 2010. I now have two neurologists. The secondary one (a cognitive neurologist who ordered the scans) emailed me a one page written report wit the results. No images were shown on that report. At my following appointment she discussed the report with me. She commented that there were no images to see. I then asked her if she was going to correct the conceptual typo in the report. In the first summary paragraph of the report it said that my PET scan was normal; the remaining two-thirds of the report gave numbers that indicated portions of my brain were not functioning well. Then the first paragraph was repeated at the end but this time the summary was identical in all but one word which said that my scans indicated significant problems. The doctor sent an email to medical transcription while I was there pointing out the problem.
I asked to see the scan and was told that there was nothing for me to see. I was more than a little surprised by that (well a lot surprised!). I had thought that it would be cool to see which parts of my brain were goners and which were lighting up.
A month later I saw my primary neurologist who has been in charge of my care for more than 9 years. I asked her if she had read the report on my PET scan and last MRI. I explained that I was really surprised that the other neurologist told me that there was nothing for me to see. So she then went to her large clinical display, called up my file and showed me sequential MRI and PET scans. It was pretty easy to see changes in my brain over time. Nice pictures, too. I learned a lot about my treatment and disease progression over time.
A picture is worth 10,000 words. Five scans over 10 years is a treasure trove.
Visual patient-provider information exchanges can be aided by images. Self management and that by a caretaker can be aided by images. Memory can be enhanced with images. An understanding of the problem may be more easily achieved by family members and the patient when supported by images. This is a win-win-win-win situation.
The system I used for creating images to manage information allows me to manage myself better, relieve stress I put on caregivers, understand medical research better, and communicate with my doctors clearly. It primarily uses mind maps. Both neurologists have concluded that I use my techniques to compensate for some of my neurological (brain functioning) problems.
There are about 700 posts on this web site about issues in using mind maps, how to do it, my experiences, and “real” examples of using visual thinking methods as my cognitive functioning declined.
Oh … It should be noted I estimate that using visual methods of processing medical information for ONE YEAR are very inexpensive in comparison to ONE Emergency Room visit, ONE primary health care visit, ONE week of a patient’s period of acceptable cognitive functioning, ONE day of wasted homecare, ONE day out of work for a family caregiver. Now let’s multiply that by the number of Americans receiving healthcare through self pay or public insurance programs (Medicaid, Medicare, others) or private company managed health insurers.
Here’s another mind map about how the healthcare system might be made better (and less expensive) by incorporating health care information into mind maps and passing them around among patients, caregivers, family members, friends, physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals.
When you have (or have a family member or a patient under your care has) a long-term medical or behavioral condition, it is important to monitor how the disease symptoms change over time.
Individualized treatment in dementia can consist of attempting to control the illness through medications and behavioral techniques to slow the progress of the disease. While in many cases the condition cannot be eliminated, often it can be slowed. There is no cure for dementia and very few medications have been demonstrated through clinical trials to work. The medications that work usually do so with only small changes in the functioning and quality of life and are only approved for Alzheimer’s Disease, only one of the conditions that are accompanied by dementia symptoms.
For a patient or healthcare professional, an important means of summarizing changes in medical and psychological functioning can be through a comprehensive mind map (or other visual display) summarizing the current status of symptoms of the disease. A huge benefit of documenting change over time is that it can “force” both the person with a disease and healthcare providers to view the condition in a wholistic way.
The visual display can also provide information useful suggestions for individualized behavioral and non-pharmaceutical interventions to help alleviate symptoms.
Face it. You are going to age. You could have an accident and injure your brain. You might develop a brain condition due to disease or environmental toxicity.
Learn the mind mapping skills that can help preserve your memory and thinking processes. Learn it as early in your life as possible. Develop mind maps about your life experiences. Save the copies and computer app setups should you have cognitive decline and wish to reference them.
Mind maps and related methods can help you use visual thinking to fight against cognitive decline and dementia. These methods can also help you maintain physical and mental health by maintaining control, making good decisions, remembering key information, and planning. Or, maintaining self-sufficiency, control, and independence so as to retain an acceptable quality of life.
This is post is part of a projected series of at least 20 posts. Searching for any of the keywords given above in the search box for this site will list all of the tweets in this series. The search box is located in the upper left corner of each post. The most accurate search should come from TGVTM or #TGVTM.
In the two prior posts (Prologue, Part 1) I have discussed a model for a general model of cognitive information process for improving thinking It is my belief that the model can be used by adults with typical patterns of aging as well as those with cognitive impairment and dementia. The model is characterized by several major features. These are
a large percentage of the information input and process and outcome information are in visual form;
the model uses a unique blend of methods of processing combinations of primarily visual materials.
I call the model The Great Visual Thinking Machine™. The acronym is TGVTM™. The TGVTM is not a physical machine like a computer or automobile. Rather it a combination of procedures and knowledge as well as computer and commonsense algorithms that allow you to easily process large amounts of visual and verbal information. The key to the TGVTM is a way of using “pictures” to organize information, thoughts, and the results of processes. It can aid in better understanding related information, coding complex information into high-information images, an advanced way of increasing the likelihood that the information can be retrieved. The intent of the TGVTM is to produce generally better overall thinking.
Some examples that you might want to consider to visualize my concept are:
the laboratory of Dr. Emmet Brown in the movies Back to the Future I, II, and II;
the chocolate factory of Willy Wonka in the film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory;
and — of course — the machines built by Cyberdyne Systems for Skynet which then produced the machines in The Terminator and its numerous sequels;
and the last but the best analogy is the programs, environment, and thought processes of the characters living inside The Matrix I, II, and III. Plug Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus into the Matrix and watch their information process become almost entirely visual as they battle Agent Jones and Agent Brown.
The following mind map summarizes some of my visual thinking about The Great Visual Thinking Machine and is procedures and processes.
Who benefits from using TGVTM? Originally I developed it for adults to compensate for Cognitive impairment and Dementia (in many of various forms). Then I considered adults with typical aging processes and believe that it is just as relevant for them, especially if they want to have tools for combatting cognitive decline and disorders. So, every adult.
My conception of TGVTM was partially derived from Tony Buzan’s work on mind mapping; research and theory by J. Singer, J. Antrobus, and G. Huba on daydreaming; research and theory R Gardner, D. Jackson, and S. Messick as well as H. Witkin in individual differences in cognitive process and their relationship to personality and intelligence; R. Sternberg on cognition and intelligence; M. Rohde on sketchnoting and doodling; and S. Brown’s seminal publication on doodling. My ideas about how to implement TGVTM were heavily influenced by C. Griffiths monumental work on the program iMindMap expanding and computerizing Buzan’s theories of mind mapping). Of course, research and writings of dozens of others have also influenced in many different ways.
Oh, one other significant fact. I developed my entire theory and procedures between 2010 and the present (now 2019) during a period when I had cognitive impairment and dementia (of a type which is not Alzheimer’s Disease but rather a type of frontotemporal lobar degeneration) I started with a knowledge. The work started with ideas I had developed since the release of the computer program MindManager 2 a decade earlier and my experimentation with it and later versions.
As to the proof that The Great Visual Thinking Machine works, they are limited to the development of the method to personally assist me while having dementia and trying to lead a productive and full life with the condition. However before you run away muttering I’m nutz or live in a state where marijuana is legal,, consider the objective indices I would use to support the positive effects of The Great Visual Thinking Machine on me. Between 2012 and now (early 2919), I have built a following of about 135,000 on Twitter. I have about 5,000 additional followers on other social media platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest). I wrote a well-reviewed book. I appear on many top 10, 25, or 100 lists of social media experts-influencers. I do my laundry, remember the places I loved most for vacations, have organized memories of everything from favorite movies and Allman Brothers songs to special moments and sporting events and concerts I went to. I’ve analyzed many daily-life decisions and their impacts for me and my family. Without the TGVTM I’ don’t believe I would have accomplished any of this, and the next post will explain why.
I looked at this application when it first came out a couple of years ago.
It has improved significantly.
This is easier to use than my favorite program iMindMap. It is also a lot less expensive.
[Do not confuse this app with Xmind 8, which is the more complete but harder to use version. Xmind 8 is much more expensive. Xmind ZEN produces more attractive maps and works MUCH better on small screens (mobile phone, pads).]
I will continue to use iMindMap 11 because of its status as the very best mind mapping app and I use all of its features. If you do not need all of the fancy options, this is a very good program for a beginner (and expert).
A few years ago, I introduced the term VIsual THinking ENvironment to describe applications that provide a number of visual thinking tools like mind maps, concept maps, flow charts, diagramming, statistical graphics, and visual representations of models, theories, and new knowledge in an integrated way within a single application.
As I used and experimented with new (or newly revised) mind mapping applications every year, I noticed how they were evolving from mind mapping to thinking environments by continuing to implement new and easier ways to process diagrams, figures, photography, sketches, doodles, and logic models together and build integration among tools that permit input visualization and visual output.
The best (and right now the only) evolving mind mapping application to include related new or adapted visual information processing methods is iMindMap 11. It is the only application that provides a well-conceived suite of techniques to form a Visual Thinking Environment (VITHEN). I believe that iMindMap should be rated A++ as a mind mapping program and A as an evolving VITHEN. I fully expect the entire iMindMap 11 suite to be as useful and developed as the mind mapping module within an iteration or three.
So, what is a VITHEN? The following mind map (created in iMindMap 11) incorporates my definition. A fully developed VITHEN not only will produce mind maps and other graphics but most importantly encourages intelligent use in model and theory building and optimizing creativity and effective knowledge development and presentation.
Click on the image to expand it.
The next posts include a “formal review” of iMindMap 11, examples of advanced mind maps (which I characterize as MIND MODELS), and an analysis of advantages of a VIsual THinking ENvironment over traditional mind mapping and other graphic thinking tools.
After working hard (or some would say, “struggling) to continue having a good life with dementia, many (including me) find they must eventually come to the final obstacle of almost debilitating apathy and hurdle over it. It is very hard to commit the energy and time to fight back against the apathy which naturally results from knowing you will have to keep working so hard at fighting back for the rest of your life.
Take a deep breath. You can do it and then do it again tomorrow. Do remember that all of us who deal with dementia face the same general set of obstacles every day. And maintaining a “normal” or typical lifestyle is well worth it.
A mind map showing the major issues. Click on the image to expand its size.
A caregiver looking at a person with (advanced) dementia can easily conclude that it is impossible to motivate them to do tasks that are “easy” (washing dishes, taking the garbage to the recycling bin, calling and making their own doctor appointment, or cleaning out the garage).
Motivation from the standpoint of the person with dementia such as myself is a much more complicated phenomenon. If you don’t have dementia you may not see it the way I do. Most people who have dementia will not articulate these issues in the way that I do (I have had 30+ years as a psychologist and this medical-psychological language is natural to me). I am convinced, however, that most people with dementia feel some of the things that I describe below. I not that I object to cleaning the garage but rather that in order to clean the garage I have to overcome dozens of fears and anxieties and find different ways to do simple things because I can no longer remember the order of the steps needed to do what seem to be simple tasks.
If this is more than the second time you have ever read a post on my blog, you know that Donald Trump is not “well received” on my blog site.
Here is the worst tweet he has ever posted.
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!
Mind maps are extremely useful for expressing an opinion or conclusion. Along with my conclusion that Donald Trump should be forced to resign, I also espouse full human rights for all without regard to the cost, banning all weapons of mass destruction held by ALL countries, and the full array of universal human rights specified by the United Nations. I also support allowing the figure-skating, Olympics-qualified couple from North Korea to attend the 2018 games in South Korea and enjoy the kindness of the host country and the support and friendship of the athletes of the world.
The President and his sycophants like Senator Graham need to be evaluated for their fitness to hold public office.
XMind was one of the original open source programs on the PC and Mac for mind mapping. A high percentage of the “simple” mind maps you have seen online were generated with that program. As time went on, a Chinese company used the open source code as the basis for a commercial product which has many advanced features while still being easy to use and very fast. An enhanced version of the original program is still available on the website and has been promised to continue to be circulated for free.
This week XMind was released for the first time as an iOS (iPhone, iPad) app. It is currently being offered for free on a limited time basis.
My initial impression of the app is that it is one of the two best mind mapping programs for the iPhone and iPad (iMindMap continues to be #1). XMind is especially well adapted for the small screens of the iOS devices and is very usable on an iPhone. XMind employs a “keypress” user interface which is generally more accessible for most users at the beginning stages of use.
What XMind iOS lacks — and what I suspect will end up as an additional feature you have to pay for — is the ability to add images to the mind map. For most maps where one wants to use images throughout the diagram, this is a limitation. I expect you will see another version very shortly. XMind iOS mind maps can easily be imported into other mind map programs to add images and advanced formatting. In exporting images, the app is limited to only medium resolution.
This version of the program will suffice for most basic note taking and simple brainstorming applications. Many might find this the only mind mapping program they need.
For now, the initial version is free. Available on the iOS app store for Apple products. More information here.
For every case of dementia, mind maps can potentially be used to improve the quality of life of the patient, caregiver, and family. Many people in the later stages of dementia are confused at times, frequently unresponsive, have minimal access to their memory, and can be aggressive and otherwise difficult to deal with. In spite of this, the care of almost every dementia patient, even one at a very late stage dementia, can be improved by mind maps and other visual thinking tools and better care will almost always produce a better quality of life.
Mind maps and other visual thinking methods are better ways to capture, store, manipulate, share, and understand an individual case. Image that. A method that costs pennies per use can improve the efficacy of $200 doctor visits, $20 pills, $3000 emergency room visits, $150 of home healthcare, and $1000 consultations because at the end of all the fancy stuff, mind mapping is an intuitive, easily understood method of communicating among and coordinating among the many parties that collectively are the care system for an individual person with dementia. No, simple mind maps will not substitute for medical treatments, but they can make the individual healthcare system developed for a person with dementia more efficient and help cut service redundancies and unneeded tests and treatments resulting from poor patient-doctor-family communications.
Among other ways, mind mapping and other visual thinking methods can be used even with patients with advanced stages of dementia. While people in advanced stages might be limited in their ability to draw maps, they may be still quite skilled in reading them and picking up on associations. Whether or not patients with dementia can draw (or even read) mind maps at the end, caregivers, doctors, nurses, families, and others may use these visual methods of communication to easily share information among themselves. If the patient has created a “pre-dementia” set of diagrams for her or his life experiences, there will be a useful baseline for healthcare providers to better understand the individual case.
Good communication. Good coordination. Knowing the issues. Applying the best thoughts of all people in the care team (including the family, caregivers, and patient). Using the best treatment methods useful for the individual with dementia. And all because mind maps (compelling visual methods of producing insights into complex issues in a simple way) make communications clearer and more reliable, allow a patient to take part in her or his own treatment, and do so at a low-cost that makes the care team more effective and the patient and family happy about the quality care the patient is receiving.
Sounds almost too good to be true. It isn’t.
Click on the mind model (mind map) shown below to expand its size.
I know that a simple version of the outlined model has worked super well for my (dementia) care. It could also work super well for you or a person with dementia for whom you provide care.
Mike Rohde’s seminal work on #sketchnotes is a brilliant contribution to the knowledge base on communicating and using visual thinking methods.
I have recently done much work on using mind map methods to assist those with typical aging, dementia, and cognitive planning for their futures which may include cognitive decline with age or after brain trauma.
Mike #Rohde and his disciples say to hand sketch when using his visual thinking model. I am moderately good at simple sketchnoting. See here for early posts on hand-drawn sketchnoting (with examples) for those with dementia (by someone — me — who has dementia).
But how might you use a computer program to generate a sketchnote? Here is an example prepared with the superb mind map program iMindMap of my guidelines about how to combine strengths of mind mapping and sketchnoting.
Of course, I prepared this as a computer-assisted sketchnote with iMindMap.
Within my application space of developing visual displays for those with typical aging or dementia or brain trauma or concerns about future cognitive decline as they age, I think the best applications of sketchnoting would be instructions for various methods and issues, historical records, and visual thinking for people who usually acquire new information through written or verbal media (conversations).
Before reading this post, consider reading my earlier post on the CODER algorithm for mind mapping by clicking HERE.
Click on images to expand them.
The CODER algorithm suggests developing mind maps that explicitly state information in order to …
C – Communicate
O – Organize
D – Decide
E – Explain
R – Report
The CODER algorithm specifically addresses deficits in abilities to communicate, organize, decide, explain, and report which are a significant part of dementia or cognitive impairment. I have been using the technique of mind mapping since 2010 to address issues in my own dementia, and I judge it to be extremely effective. Putting information into a visual thinking environment (VITHEN) so that it can all be seen provides a way to communicate with others, examine context, make decisions, explain ideas and conclusions to others, and report using the mind map itself.
As a note, I consider the iMindMap computer program (currently on Version 10) to be the best way to create and use mind maps or mind model (a term I created for advanced mind maps).
Since 2013 when first presented, my CODER algorithm has been one of the most accessed posts on www.Hubaisms.com. Recently it has been “rediscovered” and is now being accessed frequently.
So I decided that I should take a look at it and see if it needed to be upgraded. In fact, I discovered that my views were about the same on how to develop a meaningful and informative mind map. Consequently, I just made a few very small and largely inconsequential content changes to the map.
The map has been reformatted. The program in which this was originally drawn (iMindMap) has been enhanced significantly and annually since 2013.
The original mind map from 2013-2015 can be accessed HERE The original post includes textual material about the map.
Drum roll, please. Here is the 2017 revision. Click the image to expand it.
The USA currently has a huge shortage of GOOD leaders of all races, political parties, sexual orientations, national origins, religions, education levels, and gender.
Time to get rid of some BAD leaders sitting in positions where they can do a lot of damage be it to the social integration of all, equal treatment under the law, safety, human services, politics, economic trends, healthcare, financial services, international relations, or educational opportunities.
It is pretty easy to spot the BAD leaders. Here’s a mind map to help you do so. Click to expand the image.
Click here for Part 2 (in a new window) on the Fourth Characteristic of the “Bad” Leader.
Lighten is a new app for the iPhone and iPad. This is a very simple program to use, very fast, AND fits well in the smallest iPhone screen. Lighten is a simplified version of the XMIND program for the PC and Mac that has been stripped of unneeded commands so that it works extremely well on the handheld devices.
The universal version for both iPhone and iPad currently costs $2.99.
If you read my blog and wonder how to get started in mind mapping, this is a very good starting point. Simple to use, easy to understand, very well designed mind maps that are easy to read.