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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  • Simon O'Donovan

International Day Of Human Space Flight - 12th April

NEWS ROUND UP Doris Day reached age 97 on Wednesday 3rd April 2019. Do members remember her hit songs, 'A Secret Love', 'Sentimental Journey' and 'Que Sera'? 'Burger King' has launched a new vegan whopper burger. It's supposed to be so meaty and leaks beetroot juice such that it's very convincing and people don't quite believe it's not beef! It was 'April Fools Day' on Monday 1st April, of course. Some of the best April Fools spotted included: Wales Online - A new 100mph zipwire linking Wales and England is to be built on top of the Severn Bridge. BBC iPlayer - Launched a 'Skip The Sex' button to save embarrassment if watching adult themed programmes with your children. US Open Tennis - Announced they would be adding puppies to their ball person team for the first time. Travelodge - Announced a new 'Bed Share Scheme' to save on hotel bills by bedding down with strangers. KitKat - Launched a new tea bag range to accompany their chocolate fingers. The tea bags come in one, two, three and four finger strength. BMW - Announced they have invented 'Lunar Paint' which when painted on electric cars could charge them overnight using moonlight. British Transport Police - Launched a new crack down on rail passengers who eat smelly foods. Fines of up to £2000 for 'really stinky' foods were announced. (What about noisy passengers?) Do members recall probably the best April Fool by Panorama in 1957, which filmed the spaghetti harvest being picked from trees in Switzerland? This week our theme for Cognitive Stimulation Therapy was Space because it is 'International Day Of Human Space Flight' on 12th April.

IDIOMS Ask members to complete the following phrases... April Showers Bring May - FLOWERS April Fools - DAY Space, the final - FRONTIER May the force (May 4th) be with - YOU Once in a blue - MOON Living on another - PLANET Come back down to - EARTH Under the - SUN Lost in - SPACE Aim for the - STARS Over the - MOON Houston we have a - PROBLEM Live long and - PROSPER (Can anyone do the Spock - Vulcan hand signal?) Thunderbirds are - GO We have lift - OFF Twinkle twinkle - LITTLE STAR (full poem below) Hey Diddle - DIDDLE (full poem below) 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' Jane Taylor, 1806 Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are. Up above the world so high, Like a diamond in the sky. When the blazing sun is gone, When he nothing shines upon, Then you show your little light, Twinkle, twinkle, all the night. Then the traveller in the dark, Thanks you for your tiny spark, He could not see which way to go, If you did not twinkle so. In the dark blue sky you keep, And often through my curtains peep, For you never shut your eye, ‘Till the sun is in the sky. As your bright and tiny spark, Lights the traveller in the dark,– Though I know not what you are, Twinkle, twinkle, little star. 'Hey, diddle, diddle' By Mother Goose The Dorling Kindersley Book of Nursery Rhymes (2000) Hey, diddle, diddle, The cat and the fiddle, The cow jumped over the moon; The little dog laughed To see such sport, And the dish ran away with the spoon.

Click on the above image to be taken to an album of pictures to printed off for the tables.

This is great to allow people with language problems to fully participate. Also it offers a visual identification and recall opportunity.

What does NASA stand for? NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION Where do space craft take off from in the USA? CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA

Where is 'Space Command'?

HOUSTON, TEXAS What were the fleet of spacecraft which landed like an aeroplane called? SPACE SHUTTLES How many of them were there? SIX (5 flew in space) The first orbiter, 'Enterprise', made its maiden flight in 1977, on the back of a 747. It was an unpowered glider. 'Columbia' was the first space worthy orbiter and made its inaugural flight in 1981. 'Challenger', 'Discovery' and 'Atlantis' followed in 1983, 1984 and 1985 respectively. In 1986, 'Challenger' was destroyed in an accident shortly after launch. 'Endeavour' was built as Challenger's replacement, and was first launched in 1992. In 2003, 'Columbia' was destroyed during re-entry, leaving just three remaining orbiters. 'Discovery' completed its final flight on March 9, 2011, and 'Endeavour' completed its final flight on June 1, 2011. 'Atlantis' completed the last ever Shuttle flight on July 21, 2011. What is the name of the spacecraft which orbits the earth at between 205-270 miles above the surface? INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION How long has it been permanently crewed for? SINCE NOVEMBER 2000 How fast does it travel through space? 17,100 MPH (That's 15.5 orbits a day or 92 minutes to circle the earth) What is the name of the British Astronaut who was there from 15 December 2015 for 185 days? TIM PEAK Can people remember when the Apollo 11 moon landing took place? 20TH JULY, 1969 Who was the first person to step on the lunar surface? NEIL ARMSTRONG What was the name of the landing craft? THE EAGLE (HAS LANDED) What were Neil Armstrong's first words? IT'S ONE SMALL STEP FOR MAN; ONE GIANT LEAP FOR MANKIND Who else walked on the moon? BUZZ ALDRIN Who flew the command module? MICHAEL COLLINS Can members remember where they were when watching this happen live on their black and white TV sets? Does anyone believe the conspiracy theory that this never happened? What was the name of the 1977 conspiracy film about fictional Mars landings, starring Elliott Gould, James Brolin, Sam Waterston and O. J. Simpson as the astronauts? CAPRICORN ONE What are the 9 Planets Of The Solar System? MERCURY VENUS EARTH MARS JUPITER SATURN URANUS NEPTUNE PLUTO Which of these planet names was a Disney character? PLUTO Whose pet dog was he? MICKEY MOUSE Which classical musician composed The Planets Suite? GUSTAV HOLZT What does U.F.O. stand for? UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECT What is the highly classified area in Nevada associated with U.F.O.s? AREA 51 Do members believe in alien life?

What 'incident' refers to an alien autopsy being carried out in 1947?

THE ROSWELL INCIDENT Who wrote 'The Time Machine', published in 1895? H.G. WELLS This futuristic dystopian vision had which species at odds with each other? MORLOCKS & ELOI

He also wrote which 1897 book, about Martians landing on Earth?

WAR OF THE WORLDS Who wrote 'The Day Of The Triffids', published in 1951? JOHN WYNDHAM What happens to most people on earth when there is a meteor shower in this sci to novel? THEY WENT BLIND, THEN THE MOVING PLANTS BEGAN TO EAT THEM Who starred in the 1978 version of the film, 'The Invasion Of The Body Snatchers'? DONALD SUTHERLAND What was the name of the underground living animal in the children’s TV show ‘The Clangers’? SOUP DRAGON

Can anyone make any Clanger noises?

Which instant food product had aliens saying, "Earth people peel their own potatoes with their metal knives, boil them for twenty of their minutes, then smash them all to bits"

(Singalong) FOR MASH GET SMASH What was the name of the popular 1980s computer game where you shot at alien craft before they landed? SPACE INVADERS Who is the physician who died last year, famous for his theory of black holes? PROF STEPHEN HAWKING (Clue, he spoke using a computer) Who hosted a TV programme about astronomy from 1957-2013 (772 episodes, which is a Guinness World Record for presenting)? SIR PATRICK MOORE (Clue he wore a monocle and played the xylophone) From this list, ask the questions. Then ask members to rate their Top 3 all time Sci Fi Movies. '2001: A Space Odyssey', 1968 Director - Stanley Kubrick Name of the computer - Hal 'Planet Of The Apes', 1968 Starring - Charlton Heston & Roddy McDowall What famous American landmark was on the beach towards the end of the movie? - Statue Of Liberty 'Alien', 1975 Director - Ridley Scott Cast - Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt & Ian Holm Ship computer - Mother Ask members if they remember the first Alien contact scene? 'Close Encounters Of The Third Kind', 1977 Director - Steven Spielberg Starring - Richard Dreyfuss Ask members if they remember the musical signal? Can anyone sing it? 'Star Wars', 1977 Which characters did the following actors play? Mark Hamill - Luke Skywalker Carrie Fisher - Princess Leia Harrison Ford - Hans Solo Spaceship - Millennium Falcon Arch enemy - Darth Vadar 'Star Trek The Movie', 1979 Starring whom and as what characters? - William Shatner (Cpt James T Kirk), Leonard Nimoy (Spock), DeForest Kelley (Leonard 'Bones' McCoy), James Doohan (Montgomery 'Scotty' Scott), George Takei (Hikaru Sulu), Walter Koenig (Pavel Chekov) & Nichelle Nichols (Lt Uhura) The name of the space ship was? - US Enterprise

What species was Spock? - Vulcan 'Bladerunner', 1982 Director - Ridley Scott Starring - Harrison Ford Rutger Hauer & Darrell Hannah were - Replicants 'ET The Extra Terrestrial', 1982 Director - Steven Spielberg Children stars - Henry Thomas (Elliott) & Drew Barrymore (Gertie) Catchphrase - "ET phone home!" Do members remember the flying bicycles scene? 'The Terminator', 1984 Director - James Cameron Starring - Arnold Swarzenneger Who became politician where? - State Governor Of California 2003-11 Catchphrase - "I'll be back!" 'Back To The Future', 1985 Starring - Michael J Fox As whom? - Marty McFly How did he travel back in time? In a DeLorean car 'Jurrasic Park', 1993 Starring - Sam Neill, Ellie Sattler & Jeff Goldblum Where did scientists get the DNA to recreate the dinosaurs? MOSQUITO (BLOOD) TRAPPED IN AMBER What event is said to have wiped the dinosaurs out? ASTEROID (Chicxulub crater in Mexico - 66M YEARS AGO) 'Apollo 13', 1995 Directed by Ron Howard Starring - Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon & Gary Sinise TRUE OR FALSE There is more computer power in a first generation iPhone than there was in the Apollo mission? TRUE 'Independence Day', 1996 Starring - Will Smith, Bill Pullman & Jeff Goldblum What day is Independence Day in the USA? 4TH JULY

Space Music Quiz Spotify Playlist link here https://open.spotify.com/user/1154769589/playlist/7dDvLw6IFhOFojMYMFkyuW ​ Space music questions: ​

Also Sprach Zarathustra, Op 31 - Richard Strauss This music was used in which film we mentioned earlier? '2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY' Space Oddity - David Bowie What year was this song released in? 1969 What was his character with the lightning bolt across his face called? ZIGGY STARDUST Rocket Man - Elton John What is Elton's real name? REG DWIGHT Who is he married to? DAVID FURNISH Blue Moon - The Marcels What horror film character is said to come to life on a full moon? WEREWOLF What 1981 film about a Werewolf was this song used in? AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON Fly Me To The Moon - Frank Sinatra What was Frank's nickname? OLD BLUE EYES Breathe - Pink Floyd What album did this track come from? DARK SIDE OF THE MOON

Who was lead guitarist? DAVE GILMOUR Moon River - Audrey Hepburn. What film included this song? (Breakfast at Tiffany's) Total Eclipse of the Heart - Bonny Tyler Can anyone remember where they were for the total eclipse of the sun on August 11th 1999? (11mins past 11am was the start of totality) Fanfare for the Common Man - Emerson Lake and Palmer The classical and original version was by which composer? AARON COPLAND Dr. Who - TV theme

Lets name the Doctors (William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi & Jodie Whittaker) Joe 90 - TV theme Who produced this show? GERRY ANDERSON Captain Scarlet - TV theme Who was the arch enemy? THE MYSTERONS X Files - TV Theme Name the investigators? FOX MULDER (DAVID DUCHOVNY) & DANA SCULLY (GILLIAN ANDERSON) Thunderbirds - TV Theme What was the model that the children’s TV magazine show ‘Blue Peter’ guided viewers to make that was associated with ‘Thunderbirds’? TRACY ISLAND Forever Autumn - Justin Hayward. Who was speaking at the beginning of the song? (Richard Burton) Which album is this song from? JEFF WAYNE’S WAR OF THE WORLDS

Justin Hayward was lead singer of which group? - MOODY BLUES Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft - The Carpenters Who played the drums? KAREN

And piano?

RICHARD I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper - Hot Gossip Who was Sarah Brightman married to? ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER Star Trekkin - The Firm Singalong Can anyone remember the catchphrases in the song?





'YA CANAE CHANGE THE LAWS OF PHYSICS' Aquarius - The 5th Dimension What are the 12 Signs Of The Zodiac? Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces Does anyone believe in Astrology or read their stars? (Maybe read someone's stars out?) Name the famous Astrologist who featured on BBC Breakfast Time? RUSSELL GRANT

What musical does this song come from? HAIR Venus and Mars - Wings Who was Paul McCartney's wife? LINDA MCCARTNEY What is she famous for today? HER VEGETARIAN FOOD PRODUCTS Starry Starry Night - Don McLean

'Starry Starry Night' was painted by? - Vincent Van Goch Voyager 1 is a space probe launched by NASA on September 5, 1977 to study the outer Solar System. Apparently, on board there is a gold disc of sounds from the earth and an image of a man and woman holding their hands up in peace, in case alien contact is made. Also a diagram of Earth within the Solar System, so we can be found. If you could send something into space to let aliens know what human life is all about, what would it be? (Someone in our group said 'David Attenborough's Life On Earth' DVD Series, which was a great suggestion) Star Man - David Bowie Richard Branson's 'Virgin Galactic' company is focused on sending tourists into space within the next couple of years (it's been pushed back a few times). Who would book a place if they could, and why?

ACTIVITY Using black card and coloured chalk pens, draw a space picture - alien life force, the sun and moon, saturn and it's rings or whatever. Or make models of flying saucers or aliens with modelling clay. All for later display. Give out space related sweets - flying saucers, space dust, Mars Bars, Galaxy chocolate & Milky Ways for refreshments.