• Simon O'Donovan

International Women's Day 8th March

This year's 'International Women's Day 2020' has the theme “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights: An equal world is an enabled world."

Just to note, there will be a separate activities page for Mothering Sunday, which falls on 22nd March this year. It was Shrove Tuesday this week, so we had pancakes and lemon with sugar or maple syrup with our tea and coffee as we did a round of introductions. This and Ash Wednesday signified the start of Lent, so we went around the room asking what people would give up if they had to choose. We then got on to the main focus of interest for the day. A celebration of women and their massive contributions to our lives (after all we wouldn't be here without them) and society. Ask group members to think about who is their heroine - their favourite female singer, movie star, comedian or politician (living or deceased). Or perhaps a strong woman in their family they admire (or admired). Perhaps it’s someone they would like to meet, say thank you to or have around for dinner. Ask members why they so admire the person they have named.


“A woman is like a tea bag - you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Picture Round: Ask members to identify the famous faces of women in history (click on the image above to download the images). Below is a list of names and prompts to assist this activity. Also inspirational quotes from these women are included: Emmeline Pankhurst - British Political Activist and leader of the British Suffragette Movement, which helped women win the right to vote. Died 14th June 1928, aged 69. (It was Emily Wilding Davison who was killed in June 1913 when she ran under the King's horse at Epsom.) "Trust in God - she will provide." Grace Kelly - Former Actress and Princess Consort of Monaco. Died 14th September 1982, aged 52. (Most famous films - 'Rear Window', 1954; 'To Catch A Thief', 1955 & 'High Society', 1956) "I love walking in the woods, on the trails, along the beaches. I love being part of nature. I love walking alone. It is therapy. One needs to be alone, to recharge one's batteries." Audrey Hepburn - British Actress and Humanitarian. Died 20th January 1993, aged 63. (Most famous films - 'Breakfast At Tiffany's', 1961; 'My Fair Lady', 1964 & 'Roman Holiday', 1953) "For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone." Marie Curie - Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. Died 4th June 1934, aged 66 (of radiation poisoning). "Have no fear of perfection; you'll never reach it. Nothing in life is to be feared; it is only to be understood." Mother Theresa - Now Saint Teresa of Calcutta, was an Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and missionary. Died 5th September 1997, aged 87. "Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier." Florence Nightingale - English social reformer and statistician, and the founder of modern nursing (in the Crimean War). Died 13th August 1910, aged 90. She was known as 'The Lady Of The Lamp'.

"It may seem a strange principle to enunciate as the very first requirement in a hospital that it should do the sick no harm." Helen Keller - American author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor Of Arts degree. Died 1st June 1968, aged 87. "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart." Margaret Thatcher - Former (first female) British Prime Minister 1979-1990. Died 8th April 2013, aged 87. She was known as 'The Iron Lady'. "In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man; if you want anything done, ask a woman." Princess Diana - Former Member Of The British Royal Family. AIDS champion. Landmine campaigner. Died 31st August 1997, aged 36. She was known as 'The People's Princess'. “Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” Ann Frank - German-born Diarist and Holocaust victim. Died 12th March 1945, aged 15. (The Anne Frank Museum can be visited today in Amsterdam.) "Everyone has inside of her a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be, how much you can love, what you can accomplish, and what your potential is.” Rosa Parks - Civil Rights Activist. Played a pivotal role in the Montgomery bus boycott. Died 4th October 2005, aged 92. "I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear." Ingrid Bergman - Actress. Died 29th August 1982, aged 67. (Most famous films - 'Casablanca', 1942; 'Anastasia', 1956 & 'Gaslight', 1944) "Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get." Judy Garland - Actress. Died 22nd June 1969, aged 47. (Most famous films - 'Wizard Of Oz', 1939; 'A Star Is Born', 1954 & 'Meet Me In St. Louis', 1944) "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." Whoopi Goldberg - Actress and comedian. Still living, aged 64. (Most famous films - 'Sister Act', 1992; 'Ghost', 1990 & 'The Color Purple', 1985) "We’re here for a reason. I believe that reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark." Oprah Winfrey - Actress & Talk Show Host. (Possible candidate for US Presidential election 2020). Still living, aged 66. "Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough." Hillary Clinton - Failed US Presidential candidate 2016. Still living, aged 72. She was former First Lady 1993-2001, while married to US President Bill Clinton. “Always aim high, work hard, and care deeply about what you believe in. And, when you stumble, keep faith. And, when you’re knocked down, get right back up and never listen to anyone who says you can’t or shouldn’t go on.” Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize Winner 2014. Still living, aged 22. She was shot in the head by the Taliban in Pakistan for her courage as a female education rights activist. “I had two options. One was to remain silent and never to speak and then to be killed by the terrorists. The second option was to speak up for my rights and then die. And I chose the second one.” Amelia Airhart - American aviation pioneer and author. Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Disappeared 2nd July 1937, aged 39. "Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail their failure must be but a challenge to others." Michelle Obama - Lawyer and Former First Lady. Still living, aged 56. Her huaband is former US President Barack Obama. “No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half its citizens.” Marilyn Monroe - Actress. Died 5th August 1962, aged 36. (Most famous films - 'The Seven Year Itch', 1955; 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes', 1953 & 'Some Like It Hot', 1959). She was married to US baseball player Joe DiMaggio. “Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.” HRH Queen Elizabeth - Longest serving Monarch. Head of the Commonwealth. Still living, aged 93. “When life seems hard, the courageous do not lie down and accept defeat; instead, they are all the more determined to struggle for a better future.”

Greta Thunberg - Climate Activist. Aged 17, she has rallied the children of the world to mass protest against government inaction regarding the climate crisis.

"Until you start focusing on what needs to be done rather than what is politically possible there is no hope. We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis. We need to keep the fossil fuels in the ground and we need to focus on equity. And if solutions within this system are so impossible to find then maybe we should change the system itself."

Are there any other living or deceased female icons we should add to this list? Ask members if we have missed anyone and let us know.


Next, discuss these idioms and proverbs concerning women and their meanings. Note that they are dated in terms of stereotyping and challenge those which no longer ring true with members. - Adam and EVE - A woman's place is in the HOME/KITCHEN - A woman of SUBSTANCE - A scarlet WOMAN - A woman's work is never DONE - Don't teach your grandmother to suck EGGS - A woman of her WORD - A woman of MEANS - The world and his WIFE - Tied to your mother's apron STRINGS - Mummy’s BOY - A woman of few WORDS - Old wives' TALE - Woman of ill REPUTE - A woman after one's own HEART - A woman of the WORLD - Hell hath no fury like a woman SCORNED - A fine figure of a WOMAN - Mother EARTH - Mother TONGUE - Mother NATURE - Watch with MOTHER - Mothering SUNDAY

WORLD BOOK DAY THURSDAY 7TH MAY Next, think about seminal works of literature written by women. Ask members to complete the titles and comment as to whether they have read them or seen film adaptations. Pride And - PREJUDICE - by Jane Austen. Published 1813 Franken - STEIN - by Mary Shelley. Published 1818 Jane - EYRE - by Charlotte Bronte. Published 1847 Wuthering - HEIGHTS - by Emily Bronte. Published 1847 Little - WOMEN - by Louisa May Alcott. Published 1868 Black - BEAUTY - by Anna Sewell. Published 1877 Hei - DI - by Johanna Spyri. Published 1880 Anne Of Green - GABLES - by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Published 1908 Polly - ANNA - by Eleanor H Porter. Published 1913 Murder On The Orient - EXPRESS - by Agatha Christie. Published 1934 Little House On The - PRAIRIE - by Laura Ingles Wilder. Published 1935 Reb - ECCA - by Daphne DuMaurier. Published 1938 The Famous - FIVE - On Treasure Island - by Enid Blyton. Published in 1942 To Kill A - MOCKINGBIRD - by Harper Lee. Published 1960 The Prime Of Miss Jean - BRODIE - by Muriel Spark. Published 1961 The Color - PURPLE - by Alice Walker. Published 1982 Bridget Jones - DIARY - by Helen Fielding. Published 1996 Harry Potter: The Philosopher’s - STONE - by JK Rowling. Published 1997 Ask members to add to the list, if they can... Do members like reading a book, or listening to an audio book. For those with short term memory problems, a radio play might be a good alternative. Recommend the BBC 'Drama Of The Week' podcast.

TREE OF LIFE Using a large sheet of paper, flip board size, draw the trunk of a tree and branches. Ask members to colour images of birds, insects, animals etc to decorate the tree. Also stick on real leaves or coloured in leaves to fill in the branches. Make a collage if you have time, with stream and flowers under the tree. Be imaginative and creative. You can find a lot of outline images on the internet. here's an outline of Adam and Eve to start you off...

MOTHERS DAY CARDS Another idea for an activity would be to make a Mother's Day card for March 31st. Most people will have lost their mother, perhaps recently, so take care preparing for this activity. But if it is well supported then it can be a nice opportunity for reminiscence, with members saying a 'thank you' to their mother and reflecting on their positive qualities. Another caution is some members may not have had such a positive relationship with their mother and wish to opt out of this activity. So give them the choice and provide an alternative. Perhaps colouring in the art deco templates of women linked here would be a relaxing and enjoyable activity, linked to this week's theme.

PLAYLIST HERE - 1. Wuthering Heights - Kate Bush

True or False. Kate Bush shares a birthday (30th July) with Emily Bronte? - TRUE When did she have a hit with this song? - JANUARY 1978 Her first album was called? - THE KICK INSIDE 2. Woman - John Lennon

Which woman was this song written about? - YOKO ONO How old would John Lennon have been this year? - 80 (Born 9th October 1940)

How old was he when he died? - 40

Who killed him? - MARK CHAPMAN

3. No Woman No Cry - Bob Marley What were the backing group called? - THE WAILERS What religion was Bob Marley? - RASTAFARIAN What three colours are associated with this religion? - RED, GOLD & GREEN 4. 9 To 5 - Dolly Parton Which three women starred in this 1980 film about three secretaries getting even with their sexist boss? - DOLLY PARTON, LILY TOMLIN & JANE FONDA

What is Dolly Parton's ranch called? - DOLLYWOOD

5. Like A Virgin - Madonna

What was Madonna's real name? - MADONNA LOUISE CICCONE What year did she have a hit with this song? - 1984 (Did anyone see her backwards fall in The Brits 2015?) 6. I Wanna Dance With Somebody - Whitney Houston

How old was Whitney Houston when she sadly died? - 49 Which 1992 film did she star in alongside Kevin Costner? - THE BODYGUARD (The hit song from this film was 'I Will Always Love You', written by Dolly Parton!) 7. Woman In Love - Barbra Streisand

Who wrote the classic novel 'Women In Love'? - DH LAWRENCE Can anyone name any of her movies? - 'A Star Is Born', 1976; 'The Way We Were', 1973 & 'Funny Girl', 1968 were her top movies. 8. For Your Eyes Only - Sheena Easton

How many James Bonds can the group name? SEAN CONNERY: 1962–1967, 1971 AND 1983. DAVID NIVEN: 1967. GEORGE LAZENBY: 1969. ROGER MOORE: 1972–1985. TIMOTHY DALTON: 1986–1994. PIERCE BROSNAN: 1994–2004. DANIEL CRAIG: 2005–PRESENT 9. What's Love Got To Do With It - Tina Turner

What is Tina Tuner's real name? - ANNA MAE BULLOCK What city was named in one of her most famous songs? - NUTBUSH 10. Xanadu - Olivia Newton John & ELO

Which classic poem refers to the mythical place, Xanadu? - 'KUBLA KHAN', BY SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE What was ELO's 1979 single about a diary? - THE DIARY OF HORACE WIMP 11. Both Sides Now - Joni Mitchell

Which Joni Mitchell album was this song from? - CLOUDS How old is Joni Mitchell? - 76 YEARS - she was born 7 November 1943 12. It's Too Late - Carole King

Which album did this song come from? - TAPESTRY Which musical, currently playing in the West End, is based on the life of Carole King? - BEAUTIFUL 13. Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Diana Ross

Which female group did Diana Ross sing with? - THE SUPREMES What is the highest mountain in the world? - MOUNT EVEREST IN THE HIMALAYAS 14. Respect - Aretha Franklin

What does T.C.B. mean in the song? - T.C.B. IS SHORT FOR TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS What was her nickname? - THE QUEEN OF SOUL 15. Feeling Good - Nina Simone

Open Question: Ask group members what makes them 'feel good'? Go around the room. 16. Birds Of A Feather - TV Theme

What are the names of the three main characters in this TV comedy? - TRACEY STUBBS, SHARON THEODOPOLOPODOS & DORIEN GREEN (PLAYED BY LINDA ROBSON, PAULINE QUIRKE & LESLEY JOSEPH) 17. Charlies' Angels - TV Theme Who originally starred in this popular 1970s TV show? - FARAH FAWCETT, KATE JACKSON & JACLYN SMITH Who was their go to man? - JOHN BOSLEY 18. Thank You For Being A Friend - Andrew Gold

A version of this song was used as the title music for the American TV comedy series 'The Golden Girls'. What were the four lead characters' names in that show? - BLANCHE DEVEREUX, DOROTHY ZBORNAK, ROSE NYLUND & SOPHIA PETRILLO (PLAYED BY RUE MCLANAHAN, BEA ARTHUR, BETTIE WHITE & ESTELLE GETTY) 19. Candle In The Wind - Elton John

Who is the Norma Jean referred to in this song? - NORMA JEAN MORTENSON, A.K.A. MARILYN MONROE Whose funeral did Elton sing a version of this song at? - PRINCESS DIANA ('Goodbye English Rose') 20. Bette Davis Eyes - Kim Carne

Name some Bette Davis films? - JEZEBEL 1938, ALL ABOUT EVE 1950, WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE 1952, NOW VOYAGER 1942 21. Wonder Woman - TV Theme

Who starred as 'Wonder Woman' in the popular 1970s TV series? - LYNDA CARTER How did she change into Wonder Woman? - SHE WOULD SPIN AROUND 22. Something - The Beatles

Who was this song written about? - PATTIE BOYD, GEORGE HARRISON'S FIRST WIFE What instruments did George Harrison play in The Beatles? - GUITAR & SITAR 23. Let It Be - The Beatles

This song was re-released as a fund raising single for which disaster in 1987? - FERRY AID / ZEEBRUGGE DISASTER 24. Don’t Cry For Me Argentina - Judy Covington Which musical does this song come from? - EVITA Who was this about? - EVA PERON, FIRST LADY OF ARGENTINA FROM 1946-1952 25. Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves - Annie Lennox & Aretha Franklin A positive song about the strength of women to finish this round. Who sang the Irving Berlin song 'Sisters', which featured in the 1954 movie 'White Christmas'? ROSEMARY CLOONEY & VERA-ELLEN (Well, actually Rosemary Clooney sang both parts of the duet!)

About Me

Simon O’Donovan MBE has worked in NHS Wales for most of his adult life, supporting people with dementia, their carers and families and developing and improving services to benefit this client group. 

He recently retired from working as a Community Mental Health Nurse within a Young Onset Dementia Service and continues to contribute to weekly CST 'Friendship Group' sessions as a volunteer co-facilitator.


He has been keeping a weekly 'Young Dementia CST Blog' to share and archive tried and tested activities resources, with the ultimate aim of providing an 'off the shelf' resource library of weekly themed CST sessions which can be used on rotation throughout the year. 


The main aim of this website is to share experience and resources freely, in order that others can dip in and out and use some or all of the materials provided in their own CST work. Thus it is hoped, facilitating and supporting the provision of uplifting and enjoyable sessions that optimise people with dementia's quality of life.

This site is not owned by or affiliated to any organisation. It’s a personal commitment, a not for profit exchange of ideas and a resource library which aims to enable more widespread use of CST approaches for people with dementia. 

To this end, 'Guest Blogs' are VERY welcome, but bearing in mind that no images of clients are to be used without their express written informed consent.

Please note that some images are reproduced on this blog from the internet under the 'fair use copyright' principle, in that they will only be used for educational purposes with disability groups and in no way will be linked to profit making activities.


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