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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April - 'National Garden Month'


"The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies."

Gertrude Jekyll

"The kiss of the sun for pardon,

The song of the birds for mirth,

One is nearer God's heart in a garden

Than anywhere else on earth."

Dorothy Frances Gurney

INTRODUCTIONS

This week's 'Friendship Group' cognitive stimulation therapy session focused on 'The Garden' and all things in it, because this month is 'National Garden Month'.

By way of introductions we asked members to say a couple of things they liked or disliked about gardens and gardening. Responses varied from:

Likes: Flowers, bees, butterflies, trees, warmth of the sun, smell of a garden fires and smell of fresh cut grass, to...

Dislikes: Slugs, snails, wasps, spiders, worms, weeds, mowing the grass and having to water the garden.

We moved on to time and place orientation.

NEWS ROUND UP

Next, we looked at some of the news stories from the week...

It was 50 years ago on April 9th that the first prototype of Concorde flew from Filton Airport in Bristol to RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, some 50 miles away. We discussed the look of the first supersonic passenger airliner, which flew from 1976-2003, with production stopping after a fatal crash in Paris in July 2000. Members recalled the retracting nose, the sonic boom and the shape of the delta wings. The fastest Concorde flight recorded from JFK New York to Heathrow London was 2 hours 53 minutes on 7th February 1996.

Also in the news this week, we were mesmerized by the first ever image of a black hole, captured by a network of eight linked telescopes known as the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration. 29 year old computer scientist Dr. Katie Bouman has been credited with leading the creation of an algorithm that successfully photographed the halo of dust and gas, which is situated 500 million trillion kilometers from the Earth.

Members discussed how mind boggling black holes are and remembered Dr Stephen Hawking, who first discovered black holes and who sadly died just last year of motor neurone disease.

Dan Robbins, an artist who created the first painting-by-numbers pictures and helped turn the kits into a sensation during the 1950s had also died this week. He was aged 93. Some members recalled painting-by-numbers when they were children and we looked at some of the new smartphone apps that base their pictures on his method. (These are a great therapeutic opportunity for people with dementia who have diminishing skills to draw or paint freehand, or for people who are looking for alternatives to reading a book, for example.)

Finally, Channel 5 had issued another 'Britain's Favourites' ranking, this time for chocolate bars. Members looked at, and tasted some of these chocolates and stated their preferences ... Mars Bars came top in our survey!

IN THE GARDEN

To facilitate and illustrate the session, we printed off some images of gardeners and gardens (and related things) for the tables and when we came to a discussion point including the person, place or thing asked members to locate the image and hold it up. Click on the header photograph for our images. We included some local parks that members would recognise.

Continuing the discussion, we asked members if they like gardening or if they have a favourite flower, herb or shrub.

We asked members who would say they 'have green fingers'? We discussed the meaning of this phrase.

We asked if any members had an allotment, shed or pond?

We put up on the white board things people like or dislike about the garden ...

Likes included: Flowers, fragrances, smell of garden fire, smell of freshly cut lawn, birds, butterflies, bees and produce for eating.

Dislikes included: Wasps, weeds, slugs, snails, spiders, having to mow the lawn, having to water the garden and digging beds.

Which are members favourite parks and gardens?

SOPHIA GARDENS, BUTE PARK, THOMSON PARK, VICTORIA PARK, ROATH PARK, CEFN ONN PARK

PROVERBS AND IDIOMS

We asked members to complete the following phrases ...

- A bird in the hand is worth two in the BUSH (having something of even lesser value is better than taking the chance of losing it in the process of trying to achieve something more desirable)

- A rolling stone gathers no MOSS (a person who does not settle in one place will not accumulate wealth or status, or responsibilities or commitments)

- The grass is always greener on the other SIDE (the things other people have or their situations always look better than your own, even when they are not really so)

- The early bird catches the WORM (one who arrives first has the best chance for success)

- The apple doesn't fall far from the TREE (a child usually has a similar character or qualities to his or her parents)

- You reap what you SOW (you eventually have to face up to the consequences of your actions)

- People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw STONES (you shouldn't criticise other people for bad qualities in their character that you may have yourself)

- Oops-a-DAISY (expression of encouragement to a child who has fallen or is being lifted)

- A late BLOOMER (a person whose talents or capabilities are not visible to others until later than usual)

- A needle in the HAYSTACK (something that is extremely difficult to find because the area you have to search is too large)

- A shrinking VIOLET (an exaggeratedly shy person)

- Snake in the GRASS (a person who is treacherous or deceitful)

- As fresh as a DAISY (healthy and full of energy)

- Out of the WOODS (out of danger or difficulty, or being thrown a lifeline)

- Pushing up DAISIES (dead and buried)

- To come up smelling of ROSES (emerge from a difficult situation with one's reputation in tact)

- To hold out an olive BRANCH (do or say something to show you want to end a disagreement with someone)

- To let something go to SEED (a person or thing which is past it's prime and no longer full of life)

- To nip something in the BUD (suppress or destroy something at an early stage)

- To let the grass grow under your FEET (to delay in taking action or an opportunity and risk losing it)

- To lead somebody up the garden PATH (to mislead, deceive, hoodwink or seduce somebody)

- To beat about the BUSH (avoid talking about a difficult or embarrassing situation or subject).

QUIZ

On which occasions would you give flowers?

- Wedding bouquet (ask members to describe theirs, if appropriate) (The person who catches the bouquet is next in line to marry, apparently!)

- Valentine's Day ("Roses are red, Violets are blue, Sugar is sweet, And so are you!")

- Mother's Day

- Birthdays

- ‎Remembrance Sunday (poppies)

- Christmas wreath (holly and ivy)

- ‎Funeral floral tributes.

We asked members to bring the names of some flowers to mind...

Spring flowers - crocus, tulip, daffodil, primrose, bluebell

Summer flowers - rose, geranium, hydrangea, sunflower

Autumn flowers - dahlia, begonia, gladioli, chrysanthemum

Winter flowers - poinsettia, pansies, snowdrop

Weeds - Dandelion, stinging nettles, daisies, ivy.

What are the flowers of the four nations?

Wales - daffodil

Scotland - thistle

England - red rose

Ireland - shamrock.

Name some of the most common herbs. If possible have some cuttings to crush and hand around as a fragrant reminder.

Herbs used with food and drink, or as medicines:

Mint sauce (with lamb)

Dill (pickles)

Parsley sauce (with fish or ham)

Lavender (pomander)

Rosemary (potatoes)

Fennel (pastis)

Sage & thyme (stuffing)

Bay leaf (stew)

Clove oil (dental pain)

Eucalyptus (cold)

Chives (salad)

Garlic (bread).

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

In which garden were Adam and Eve seduced into eating the forbidden fruit by the serpent?

THE GARDEN OF EDEN

What was the 'forbidden fruit'?

AN APPLE

Who is the Patron Saint of Gardens, as known as 'The Little Flower'?

ST THERESA OF LISIEUX

On which device would you tell the time in a garden?

A SUNDIAL

Which common or garden weed provides another 'clock'?

DANDELION

What liquid does a flower produce which attracts bees and butterflies?

NECTAR

What does the term 'perennial' mean?

FLOWERS EVERY YEAR

How do you tell the age of a tree?

COUNT IT'S RINGS

Trees that shed their leaves each year are called what?

DECIDUOUS

Trees that keep their leaves all year are?

EVERGREEN

What is the art of clipping trees and hedges into ornamental forms called?

TOPIARY

What about the Japanese art of propagating miniature trees?

BONSAI

The 'Love Apple' is the traditional old English name for what?

TOMATO

What plant/flower is known as 'The Butterfly Bush'?

BUDDLEIA

What is the sacred flower of Buddhism?

LOTUS BLOSSOM

Which London garden greenhouses have recently undergone restoration and been reopened to the public?

KEW GARDENS

Which biosphere rainforest gardens have been built in a disused quarry in St Austell, Cornwall?

EDEN

Who was the first lead presenter of the TV series 'Gardeners World'?

PERCY THROWER

Alan Titchmarsh, Charlie Dimmock and Tommy Walsh starred in which TV gardening series?

GROUNDFORCE

What was the name of the cynical snail in the children's TV show 'The Magic Roundabout'?

BRIAN

The other characters were?

ERMINTRUDE (COW), FLORENCE (GIRL), DYLAN (RABBIT), DOUGAL (DOG) & ZEBEDEE (SPRING)

Parsley The Lion featured in which children's TV animated series?

THE HERBS

Who was Bill and Ben's best friend in the children's TV series of the same name?

LITTLE WEED

Which children's TV series featured Kiki The Frog?

HECTOR'S HOUSE

What was Basil Brush's catchphrase?

BOOM BOOM

Which 'flower' was associated with the TV comedy series 'Keeping Up Appearances'?

HYACINTH (BOUQUET)

Which flower was associated with Dame Edna Everage?

GLADIOLUS (SHE USED TO THROW THEM TO HER AUDIENCE)

Who starred as Worzel Gummidge and Aunt Sally in the 1979 children's TV series about a scarecrow?

JOHN PERTWEE AND UNA STUBBS

Which flower inspired William Wordsworth's poem 'I wandered lonely as a cloud'?

DAFFODIL

Which classical musician composed the glorious 'The Lark Ascending'?

RALPH VAUGHN WILLIAMS

Which flower field is poisoned by the Wicked Witch in 'The Wizard Of Oz'?

POPPY FIELD

How much did it cost Julie Andrews to 'Feed The Birds' in the 1964 film 'Mary Poppins'?

TUPPENCE A BAG

In which 1968 film did the Rose Seller sell two blooms for a penny?

OLIVER

If you get stung by nettles, which plant's leaves should you rub your skin with to soothe it?

DOCK LEAVES

Complete this children's nursery rhyme,

Ring a ring a rosies....

A POCKET FULL OF POSIES

A TISSUE A TISSUE

WE ALL FALL DOWN

What is this about?

THE BLACK PLAGUE

Which science fiction book takes it's premise of human killing moving plants as it's horror theme?

DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS BY JOHN WYNDHAM

What food substance derives from the crocus flower?

SAFFRON

Which flower's name lends itself to the name of a pair of rubber gloves?

MARIGOLD

Which tree has seeds which children call 'Helicopters'?

SYCAMORE

From which tree would you collect conkers?

HORSE CHESTNUT

In the Second World War, what was the campaign which promoted growing your own vegetables and allotments generally?

DIG FOR VICTORY

If you wanted to buy a bunch of flowers for a loved one, which shop would you visit?

A FLORIST

If you were to arrange flowers in a decoration, which green block would you stick your flowers and foliage into?

OASIS

GARDEN MUSIC QUIZ Spotify Playlist Link here... https://open.spotify.com/user/1154769589/playlist/1OraJGYihgOIX88cMkbP6Q?si=jp8GTyplS7i8exFw3kKaqQ 1. An English Country Garden - Nana Mouskouri Listen carefully, try to remember some of the flowers in the first verse of this song? "Daffodils, heart's ease and flox Meadowsweet and lily stalks Gentain, lupine and tall hollihocks

Roses, foxgloves, snowdrops, forget-me-nots."

Which country is Nana Mouskouri from?

GREECE

2. All Kinds Of Everything - Dana In which year did Dana win the 'Eurovision Song Contest' with this song? 1970

What country is Dana from?

IRELAND 3. Tulips From Amsterdam - Max Bygraves Amsterdam is the capital city of which country? THE NETHERLANDS

Max Bygraves catchphrase was?

LET ME TELL YOU A STORY 4. Edelweiss - Sound Of Music Soundtrack Who sang this song in the 1965 film? CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER (CAPTAIN GEORG VON TRAPP)

His co-star was?

JULIE ANDREWS

5. All Things Bright And Beautiful - Traditional Hymn In the book of Genesis, how many days did it take God to create the Heavens and the the the Earth? SIX - he rested on the Seventh

How did God create Eve?

FROM ADAM'S RIB 6. Scarborough Fair - Simon & Garfunkel Name as many herbs as you can?

INCLUDING PARSLEY, SAGE, ROSEMARY, THYME In which English county would you find Scarborough? NORTH YORKSHIRE 7. On A Bicycle Built For Two - Nat King Cole What is a bicycle built for two called? A TANDEM

How about the bicycle with a very large front wheel and a small back wheel?

PENNY FARTHING Ask female members to describe how they would make a daisy chain? 8. Where Have All The Flowers Gone? - Marlena Dietrich What does this song protest about? IT IS AN ANTI-WAR SONG (the flowers representing the fallen men)

Where was Marlene from?

BERLIN, GERMANY

9. Build Me Up Buttercup - The Foundations What does a buttercup tell a person about another? IF THEY LIKE BUTTER (IT GLOWS YELLOW UNDER THEIR CHIN)

Which margarine famously is made from sunflower oil?

FLORA 10. Woodstock - Matthews Southern Comfort Who wrote this song about the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969, which she was unable to attend? JONI MITCHELL

Can members name any trees, from which wood could be used for furniture?

PINE, OAK, BEECH, MAHOGANY, WALNUT 11. San Francisco - Scott McKenzie What is the famous red bridge which crosses San Francisco Bay? THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE

How about the infamous island prison there?

ALCATRAZ 12. (I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden - Lynn Anderson Who played Rose Neiland in the US hit TV comedy series 'The Golden Girls'? BETTY WHITE

Complete this phrase ...

A rose between two - THORNS

13. Strawberry Fields Forever - The Beatles Devon or Cornish cream tea? (Strawberry jam on top or bottom) START A DEBATE

Who is singing this song?

JOHN LENNON 14. The Floral Dance - Brighouse And Rastrick Brass Band Which TV chat show host and radio DJ had a hit with this song in 1978? TERRY WOGAN

Name some of the instruments in a brass band?

TRUMPET, FRENCH HORN, EUPHONIUM, TUBA, CORNET, FLUGELHORN 15. Take Me Home Country Road - John Denver Ask members to say where they were born and grew up (know about them to help them tell their story if needs be)

Which road would members travel on if they wished to travel from Cardiff to London?

M4 16. Lily The Pink - The Scaffold What is the real name of the character Lily Savage? PAUL O'GRADY

Which animal related programme does he now host?

FOR THE LOVE OF DOGS (BATTERSEA DOGS HOME) 17. Morning Has Broken - Cat Stevens Name some common garden birds: BLACKBIRD, THRUSH, ROBIN, SPARROW, BLUE TIT, WREN, CROW, STARLING, MAGPIE

What do you call a flock of starlings flying in formation?

MURMATION 18. Annie's Song - John Denver What is the forest called where Robin Hood and His Merry Men robbed from the rich and gave to the poor? SHERWOOD FOREST

Who was Robin Hood's girlfriend?

MAID MARIAN 19. Flowers In The Rain - The Move Hippies were associated with which peace movement in the 1960s? FLOWER POWER

What was the logo of CND?

20. The Laughing Gnome - David Bowie Has anyone got a Garden Gnome? What colour were the gnomes associated with Esso? BLUE ("Boom, boom, boom, boom, Esso Blue") 21. Lilac Wine - Elkie Brooks Ask members to name their favourite wine. Some old fashioned wines include: BLACK TOWER, BLUE NUN, LIEBFRAUMILCH, MATEUS ROSE, BULLS BLOOD

Ask members to hold hands up saying which wines they prefer?

RED, WHITE OR ROSE 22. Love Is Like A Butterfly - Dolly Parton Who starred in the hit UK TV sitcom 'Butterflies'? WENDY CRAIG Name some common butterflies? RED ADMIRAL, MONARCH, CABBAGE WHITE, COMMON BLUE, PEACOCK 23. Green Green Grass Of Home - Tom Jones Does anyone in the group suffer with hayfever? What is it that is produced by a flower, grass or tree that makes you sneeze? POLLEN What tablet might you take to help you stop sneezing? ANTIHISTAMINE 24. Tie A Yellow Ribbon 'Round The Old Oak Tree - Dawn From which seed does an oak tree grow? AN ACORN

What signifies dawn?

SUNRISE, DAWN CHORUS, SOUND OF A MILK FLOAT 25. The Wombling Song - The Wombles

Which common did The Wombles live on?

WIMBLEDON

What were they concerned with?

RECYCLING

Fantasia On Greensleeves - Ralph Vaughn Williams

The Lark Ascending - Ralph Vaughn Williams

These songs are included as a wind down in readiness for the relaxation or mindfulness activity which may follow. (Or play them during the physical activity session?)

ACTIVITIES Planting seeds - cress and mustard. For making sandwiches in a later session. Planting tomato plants - or similar. Having produce to taste is a great reward for your efforts. Pressing flowers. An alternative to layering and pressurising flowers (the traditional method) is to bang flowers between blotting paper on the floor with a rolling pin. The colour discharges and remains on the paper, making instant prints. Arranging flowers. Bring a few bunches of flowers and a couple of vases and have members arrange the flowers as they wish. A nice mindfulness activity to use with the 'Greensleeves' classical music track is to hand each member a flower to look closely at and observe in fine detail - look, colour, texture, smell, memories it brings to mind etc. (Caution. Just be aware that some clients with more advanced dementia may have hyperorality as a symptom and be at risk of putting flowers into their mouths. If there is any concern regarding this maybe don't use this activity.) Painting flowers. As an alternative to flower arranging, ask members if any of them would prefer to have a go at painting the flowers. Display products with pride. Smells box. In the 'Resources' page, there is a link to a reminiscence smells box which provides a great activity. Fresh herbs and fruit smell and taste session. Try: - Tomatoes with basil and chives - Cucumber with dill and vinegar - Strawberries with mint and sugar - Apples with honey and yoghurt. Maybe with a glass of Dandelion and Burdock pop as a refreshment and another reminiscence opportunity. (Cautions. Be aware of any allergies. And any swallow concerns.)


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