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Memoirs/Dementia  XML
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Colin Haynes

Joined: 08/08/2008 11:36:13
Messages: 3

I am a semi-retired author living in Ireland working on a project to help people capture their life stories, which could have important health and social benefits, including helping to combat dementia in the elderly (eg Alzheimers).

Mindmapping generally has a lot of potential for this, particularly in the light of research indicating it more naturally mirrors brain function than linear processes, such as writing books.

Vue seems to have applications in this field, and I would appreciate any comments and suggestions, particularly on how to make the program accessible to people with very limited computer knowledge, eg many of the elderly.

Would I do better to focus on mindmapping software designed primarily for children? (But there seem to be no suitable open source options available.)

This could become a big project and there might be EU funding available as a result of efforts in Europe to forster projects for the elderly and to improve computer skills.

Thanks for your attention

Colin Haynes
melanie st.james

Joined: 08/08/2008 11:36:13
Messages: 124

Your project sounds really interesting, and I believe VUE could be a tool to help you gather the life-stories of elderly people.

When designing VUE's interface, we aimed to create an easy to use product based on Apple's Human Interface Guidelines. This said, no matter which application one uses, a basic understanding of how computers and mapping work is required. For some people, the issue is not with the software or computers, but with representing their thoughts visually (mapping). It takes a little practice.

For your project, the basic VUE functionality should do it: creating nodes and links, and possibly linking to online resources or adding photos to the maps. Some more advanced users might want to create a narrative through the map using the pathways tool. At your end, "Merge maps" and using an ontology might be helpful in analyzing the maps (but not necessary).

Thoughts about helping participants:

1. We have a step-by-step user guide which can be downloaded here:
A basic walk-through or tutorial using VUE with participants might be required.

2. You could find a core group of elderly persons who are more at ease with computers and ask to help others with using the program. (peer-to-peer works great for all ages!)

3. Or do as I did with a professor conducting interviews for research purposes: have someone else create maps during the interviews, while the interviewee talks.

Please let us know if we can help you further!. We're always happy to brainstorm ideas.
David Kahle

Joined: 08/08/2008 11:36:13
Messages: 4

Hi Colin,

Following up on Melanie's post, I think VUE has potential for your project. One method of determining what level of support or VUE refinements would be required for this audience is to run a small pilot project with representative members. The lessons learned would inform the development of a broader implementation. I would be interested to see how VUE could be used to capture life stories.


Colin Haynes

Joined: 08/08/2008 11:36:13
Messages: 3

Many thanks for the feedback - and encouragement!

I'll keep you posted on developments and will always be open to more suggestions

All the best

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