Facebook – Memory aid for Alzheimer’s?
Facebook (FB) has a feature that reminds users of their status update from a year or more, ago. The reminder occurs on the anniversary date of when the user added the post. The user has a choice to share the memory as I’ve done below.
Imagine how convenient this is; especially, when you try to keep track of important dates like birthdays and anniversaries. If your friends have included their birthdays in their profiles, FB will send you a reminder.
I’m often surprised by the memories. Life moves like a river. It’s hard to stop the flow and look back, at times.
After setting a goal in my early 30s to run a marathon after I turned 50, I did run all 26.2 miles of the Los Angeles Marathon. The day before, I ran a 5-K. (They promoted it as a warm-up run before the marathon.) After finishing in 27 minutes, I felt good! Picked up my numbered runner’s bib and T-shirt, and returned home to rest. Below is the reminder FB sent of the post I had written about my significant milestone in 2011.
And if that’s not enough, FB also offered a year in review for 2016.
Ironically, I can’t find it, now. How will I remember what I did in 2016?
In case, you want to look back on the days of your life, scroll along the left margin (where it appears as of this writing) and look for the heading “Explore.” Scroll down a bit more until you see “On this Day.” Click to see your status updates from that date. If none, scroll down further as FB offers you earlier dates.
For example, on March 31, FB showed me three posts – one from last year, one from two years ago, and another from 7 years ago, which means I didn’t post anything on March 31, three to six years ago.
Exoskeletons for Memory
I got to thinking. Just as robotic powered exoskeletons allow people who are paralyzed to move about, these FB memory prompts serve a similar function for the mind.
Consider that years ago, To Do lists were written painstakingly day after day on lined paper. I never finished what I wrote on those lists! So, each day, I’d copy most of the list onto a fresh list. (I like to start with a clean slate.) When Post-it notes came along, it made it easier to move To Dos from one date to the next, instead of having to rewrite everything. Somewhere along the way, we had Day-Timers and other analog calendar notebooks to keep track of our lives. Today, thanks to online calendars, I’m in scheduling heaven. My Google calendar even reminds me of my next appointment. WOW!
There’s so much going on today. Our lives are filled with details. We can’t dependably rely on our memories as my hubby fondly recalls doing with his 80+ paper route customers.
It seems every month, I get several emails of new apps designed to help people track when to take medications and more.
For people in the earlier stages of dementia and their caregivers, these tools ease the burden of tracking details allowing greater independence.
Until people become more comfortable with these tools, popular social media sites like Facebook and online calendars provide people with convenient ways to remember – like, exoskeletons for memory.