Info

social, health, political imagery through the lens of George J Huba PhD © 2012-2017

Posts tagged memory

Just seeing this set of pictures and the brief comments will probably elicit a large number associations and feelings you have about each of these public figures. The pictures make the associations strong and emotional.

I also expect that today’s Boomer Generation will have a very broad range of reactions to these stimuli for extracting memories. I certainly find the memories flooding back as I look at this map.

I believe that picture mind maps are very powerful tools for helping people recall memories from throughout their lives. Many maps of this type might be quite useful to those experiencing cognitive impairment or early-mid stages of dementia. The pictures can be associated with many events in a lifetime, most of which have nothing at all to do with the president’s smoking behaviors. [And yup, in addition to claiming “I did not have sex with that woman,” Bill also claimed he did not inhale [marijuana].)

potus  smokus

These days I carry around a MacBook with a 15 inch retina screen and internal 768GB optical drive. Oh to think that I used to be sure I was in computing heaven a decade ago when I carried around a company state-of-the-art laptop (I always carried the top of the food chain machines as I owned the consulting firm and as the senior consultant was on the road a lot). The circa 2003 Lenovo probably had a 1600 by 1200 screen and probably about a 16GB internal drive.

So these days when I take the retina screen machine home with its enormous 768GB optical drive home, I immediately plug it into a Cinema Display and four external hard drives (2 3TB and a 4TB thunderbolt drives as well as a 2TB firewire 800 drive). 12 terabytes of external storage (the emails of a career and 100,000s of digital pics and many thousands of documents, gigabytes of statistical data and outputs, hundreds of older programs I no longer use, and of course a 100+ movies and 8000+ audio files). I often refer to the the external drives as my digital “brain” (although they do have the individual names of Groucho, Son of Groucho, Harpo, and Chico just like major brain structures have individual names). As I fire up the external drives, my “life” gets reattached to my digital “brain” and I can see many more things at once in multiple windows on the 27 inch screen than you can see on a 15 inch internal screen, even one with a retina (rating).

I note that after I plug in those mega-drives the room gets hotter and I sweat a little. And the noise level goes up many decibels. And I feel a little anxiety.

This week I forgot to plug in the 4 hard drives one evening and did not discover it until 5 hours later at midnight when I wanted to watch the most recent episode of Marvel Agents of Shield (*****, 2 thumbs and a big toe up) in iTunes which stores its files on an external drive. It had been silent in the room all evening (optical drives make no sound as compared to the diesel engines in external drives) and I wasn’t sweating and did not feel any anxiety at all. And since I and not used Aperture all evening to see the old photos of my successes and abject failures, I had not really missed the hard drives for anything that important.

Silence. Just data and information from the last year and the Internet. Silence (well almost since after a while I did stream music from the web a few hours into my sojurn). No big distractions. No multiple (distracting) windows open on the 15 inch monitor. A focus on today.

Hhhhhuuuuuummmmmmmm……..

I think I heard, saw, thought, and felt better that evening without having to confront my whole life in 7 windows all the time.

Digital Silence

Missed patients appointments represent a major wasted cost within the healthcare system.

Huge amounts of resources are wasted when patients miss appointments. Expensive healthcare providers in expensive medical office space with expensive equipment and expensive staff are not utilized to their fullest resulting in a loss to the overall system.

To deal with missed patient appointments, clinics often schedule a few more patients than they have time slots in order to compensate for the number of patients who may not arrive or may arrive later than scheduled.

If everybody actually shows up at appointments in the compensatory, over-booked environment, several things happen; doctors and staff get stressed because they have to squeeze patients into the schedule and patients get pissed off their doctor cannot be in their examination room on time or earlier.

So the system needs to get patients into healthcare clinics on the correct day at the correct time. A number of strategies are typically used.

Do you think that the average elderly or cognitively challenged individual (and caregiver) understands and remembers those reminder messages left on their voice mail or those short telephone communications from an obviously harried staff member?

Do you think that the small type, too many words, black-and-white business letter does the trick? Do you think the letters get opened? Do you think that aging folks can all read small fonts or understand a packed letter without white space?

Do you want to increase the rate of patients showing up for appointments? Look at this general framework and the example I provide below.

Use a mind map, improve patient care and help make the service system more efficient.

Click on images to expand.

Reminder  [optional use of name]

Reminder Jill Brown

chapel hill ambulatory

A clerical staff member should review the completed form with a patient or caregiver.

Personally I would send the mind map home (or in the mail) with a few brightly colored refrigerator magnets (with my phone number on them) suggesting that the patient or caregiver put the appointment mind map on the door. I would also send a second copy to be put wherever these things usually go, or to share with the caregiver. Refrigerator magnets are very inexpensive and if printed with your name and phone number will increase the number of times patients will call to reschedule rather than just skip the appointment because they cannot find your phone number (and guess what percentage of elderly or cognitively challenged or disabled or practicing physician adults might not be able to find the business card and did not enter your office phone number into their smartphones?).

Oh, and even if the form slips off the refrigerator and is whisked off to recycling by a rushed and harried house cleaner, the refrigerator magnets will still be there so the patient can call to get the scheduling information.

Try something like this. If it works you save a lot of wasted time and loss of income and frustration. Your patients get better healthcare because they remember to see you when it is medically desirable to do so. The caregivers will like it because it makes their jobs easier.

And if it doesn’t work better than the same-old, same-old, you have only lost a few hours of clerical time spent implementing a system of mind map appointment reminders.

A Life in Hats

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Symbols bring back a lot of memories. 1951 and being born (literally) in that tiny corner of the Bronx where Yankee Stadium faced the Polo Grounds (home of the New York, now San Francisco, Giants). My Dad told a story of studying for his college classes while caring for me as an infant and listening to the sounds coming from the two ball parks on the same summer evening. 1957 was the start of a life and elementary school in Massachusetts where my grandfather was the world’s longest suffering Boston Red Sox fan. In 1968 I left high school after 11th grade without graduating with the intention of being a physicist, discovered psychology soon thereafter, and graduated from Fordham College in 1972. In 1976 I left Yale after completing my PhD program. The Yale hat is the most important one of my life. 77 saw me at the University of Minnesota freezing my butt off and the next year I was in Los Angeles at UCLA warming it up. In 1980 I received my psychologist license and then went through the 1980s and 1990s as a committed, harried, stressed out Los Angeleno. In 1988 I started my own company and promptly appointed myself president. The 2000s were a time for becoming a committed North Carolinian, relaxing, and learning to say y’all. 9/11, of course, was the day most Americans started rethinking many issues in their lives.

The important part of this timeline is that these simple symbols mean a lot to ME and each evokes hundreds of direct memories and thousands of extended associations.

There is a lot to be said about trying techniques like this timeline to bring back cherished memories that you haven’t thought about in a while. Maybe the right symbols for you are concerts or movies or births or vacations or stages in the lives of your family members. Consider using symbols; a lot of our memories are encoded around images and not around words.

The University of Minnesota hat evokes some really funny stories like buying an ice cream cone in 20 degree weather (probably in October or April) from an outside vendor and walking down the street not having to worry about drips. Or playing marathon games of pinball or the first video games (pong, pacman) with a fellow assistant professor. That California Angels hat makes me think of standing in line from 2am on to purchase tickets for the American League (baseball) championships and then two or threes weeks later standing in line all night to get opening Saturday tickets for the Empire Strikes Back and becoming one of the first to know Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker’s father. Little things, big things, all stringing together in my memory from various symbols.

You might want to try this yourself. Works for me; may work for you too.

Aside 1: My grandfather had Alzheimer’s disease. Any time you put a Red Sox symbol in front of him you heard about Ted Williams, and the damn NY Yankees, and the Green Monster, and the times he took me to minor league baseball games as a kid, and how good (really bad) I was at baseball, etc. My baseball memories of him are those of the years before the dementia when he multi-tasked (in the 1960s) by having TWO different baseball games going on the radio at once (cacophony in that house) and a baseball game on TV. At times he was reading the then new magazine Sports Illustrated at the same time or the local sports section. If you asked him what had happened recently in any of the three games, he would tell you the last 10 plays or so or what Carl Yastremski had done in his at bats that day. And yes, he took me to at least 50 minor league (AA; Springfield Giants) baseball games every spring and summer. And I’m pretty sure he purchased a hot dog and popcorn for me at every game where we always sat in the same seats behind home plate.

Aside 2: If you look around my office or other living space, you will see that it is filled with small symbols that evoke memories (in my case baseball hats, pens, coffee mugs from meetings and vacations and schools, old office equipment in a big stack). If you look around most homes, you will see something parallel to my office. Why did you think we all patronize the souvenir shops at the national parks and airports and sports stadiums and try to keep our kids out but only half-heartedly? Symbols to organize and elicit memories.

MMforKids

Toni Krasnic is an established expert in coaching and student development who is well-known in mind mapping circles as a superstar. Mr. Krasnic has written an accessible, concise, and research-based book on using mind maps and other visual learning tools with beginning students. In my opinion, the methods Mr. Krasnic introduces will be an increasing part of elementary school education in the next few decades. Usually in mind mapping books, the method of mind mapping in one computer program or another is the primary focus of the book. Mr. Krasnic places the emphasis where it should be: on using mind mapping tools to SUPPORT EFFECTIVE LEARNING STRATEGIES. This is a book about learning and teaching and coaching and classroom exercises using visual learning methods. Mr. Krasnic does not tie the book to any commercial product but rather pairs the book content to learning theory, issues, and techniques. Many of the major mind mapping commercial products are introduced and there are many exceptional examples of mind maps that address real learning issues and support skill acquisition. This books is not about a flashy new computer program that makes pretty pictures. The book is about using powerful visual learning methods starting in elementary school and continuing through life to achieve mastery in many learning situations.