Once upon a time there was this thing called a map. It was a large paper graph showing bridges, roads, highways and signs. Today the need for this type of map has become obsolete. Maps have been replaced by a worldwide radio navigation system formed from 24 satellites. These satellites have ground stations connected to our smart phones and blue tooth systems to give us turn by turn directions. This Global Positioning System is more commonly called a GPS.

I remember when I first heard that voice saying “recalculating,” I remember thinking “how did they do that?” What kind of technology is there that knew where I was located and how did it know to get me back on track? I quickly discovered the system was flawed when it instructed me to make a turn on a one-way going the wrong way, and to turn left on a railroad track.

I slowly began to trust the system that now allows me to put in an address and listen to the instructions. I never bother remembering addresses anymore. I just tell the system what to do and it does it for me; thereby leaving my brain partially unengaged.

There is really no more need to order maps from my travel company or even download one from google. I have another person i.e. Satellite navigator at my side. No more stopping alongside the road to ask for directions from strange people who did not look like they knew where they were, let alone give me directions. I remember spending hours driving around Dallas, Texas looking for something that was 30 minutes away, and every time I asked for directions, I was given something different. One good thing about living in a small town; directions are simple; “hang a left at the corner by the big brown brick house.”

When I finally got a GPS, it was portable, and I could walk around downtown with instructions on where every business was located and finally how to get back home. This was awesome! No more staring at signs, time to disengage the mind.

I remember my first cell phone. It was huge! I carried it around with me, and due to the cost of making calls, I could only use it once or twice per week. Now, I have an iPhone and it has it all! I can text, video chat, skype, play music, watch television, read a book, use the navigational app and so much more! It speaks to me all day long letting me know there is a twitter notification from America Out Loud or one of my social media clients. I have the world in my hands.

I never bother to remember a telephone number anymore. I ask for the person and the phone makes the call. There I go, turning my memory over to technology. Instead of typing my text; I can speak to the phone and it will type it for me.

I did not grow up with computers. I grew up in the typewriter age. I took typing in school and made my first “C” learning to type. My dad finally broke down and bought me a typewriter and I practiced until I broke the sound barriers with my typing, of course by then I was ready to graduate. But, I left school with my typewriter, determined to become a better typist.

Today, If I do not feel like typing every word; I can pull up my voice activation software and let it type for me. I am still a better talker than typist and it is good when both worlds collide to complete my projects even faster. I like knowing I can sit in front of my computer and have it do the work for me. However, that system is not flawless. Due to my mixed dialect; the system sometimes confuses my words and I end of editing more than I care to. At least this part of my brain is still engaged.

Almost all Americans either owned or have access to a computer. We can sit at the keyboard and have access to the whole world. We can use google to go global and connect with almost anyone about anything.

Gone are the days of the heavy boxes of Britannica. They were expensive but filled with all the wonders of the world. I love books and always enjoyed the research from my Britannica Encyclopedias. Some of you may ask “What is an encyclopedia, doesn’t she mean Wikipedia?”

No, Encyclopedias were treated as honest and reputable account of history and research on any subject. You had to pick up a book back then. Books felt good in my hands. My brain loved those books!

Speaking of books; I just released a new book “Our Father’s DNA.” It is on Amazon and will soon be in other stores. Unlike previous works, this book can be read on your phone, Kindle, Computer or any device. The creators of Britannica never dreamed of the day where we could carry research in the palm of our hands, do research within minutes and create a report all at the same time. They must be looking down upon us from heaven in total amazement.

While we busy ourselves to simplify our lives, we seem to be leaving behind our ability to think and process information. With Dementia appearing in epidemic proportions we continue to lend our minds to gadgets and gizmos.

The family dinner hour has become extinct with texting and gaming taking front and center. There are fewer opportunities for personal interactions than ever; yet we cry for more technology and more ways to move faster to do more.

We are created not to be alone, yet many of us find ourselves alone. After being diagnosed with symptoms of early dementia by his PCP my dad was advised to be around people; to interact with people as often as possible and to avoid staying alone watching television all day. Why? Because most of television is mindlessness.

Dementia symptoms may vary from one person to the other; however, there are some common core impairments.

• Memory: Recalling the who, what, when, where and why in our everyday lives. It is the process of storing and recalling that information. How much of this are we losing through technology?

• Communication and language: The way we share or transfer information. Do you remember all the details? How is technology affecting your communication and language skills?

• Ability to focus and pay attention: How many people including children are experiencing attention deficit disorder due to technology?

• Reasoning and judgment: The information overload syndrome leaves people at a loss of what good common sense is and they find themselves becoming an expert at nothing.

• Visual perception: Visual perception is the ability to interpret our environment. Spending time with nothing more than our computers or cell phone distorts our view.

Dementia is nothing to take lightly. It is destroying lives all around the world. It saddens me to watch my dad and others who are affected by this disease. I see a trend between those who abuse technology and Dementia.

It is my opinion that we should consider spending more time thinking about how we communicate. Read more hardcopy books. Let dinner time, be dinner time. Go out with friends and take time to attend school functions with your children and grandchildren again.

Losing our human connection will cost us more in the long run than we could possibly imagine.

Summary: Giving your brain over to technology could mean early dementia and a loss of vitality. I think we need to receive this warning and begin making some serious changes in this over dependency on technology. This information is based on my own assessment and a good deal of common sense along with a snippet of research on Dementia. May God bless each of us to keep our minds from becoming a gadget.