• Simon O'Donovan

American Pie

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty." John F. Kennedy "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Thomas Jefferson INTRODUCTIONS Begin by asking members to introduce themselves (providing assistance where necessary). Ask members to say what they like about America or Americans. Ask who has visited and who would like to. Ask if anyone would like to say something about an American holiday or person. To get the discussion going, click on the image below to link to a PowerPoint of American Icons. Ask members to identify people from the following list and ask the associated questions. Allow time for people to express thoughts and feelings about each person, especially if they have a particular like or dislike for that individual.

25 AMERICAN ICONS Donald Trump - Born 1946. 45th and current President of the United States Of America What is Donald Trump's current wife's name? - MELANIA What US reality TV series did he host? - THE APPRENTICE USA Barack Obama - Born 1961. US President from 2009-2017 Where was he born? - HONOLULU, HAWAII What is his wife's name? - MICHELLE Marilyn Monroe - Lived 1926-1962. Actress. 'The Blonde Bombshell' Real name? - NORMA JEANE MORTENSON Who did she sing 'Happy Birthday' to in 1962? - J.F.K. Elvis Presley - Lived 1935-1977. Singer/performer. 'The King Of Rock And Roll' Where did Elvis live? - GRACELAND What was his other nickname? - Elvis the - PELVIS Dolly Parton - Born 1946. Singer songwriter. 'The Queen Of Nashville' Where does Dolly Parton live? - DOLLYWOOD What is her charity mainly concerned with? - LIBRARIES AND PROVIDING BOOKS TO SCHOOL CHILDREN Tom Hanks - Born 1956. Actor. Some of his best films - BIG, CASTAWAY, THE GREEN MILE, TOY STORY, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE, THE DA VINCI CODE, FORREST GUMP Complete this phrase - "Moma always said life was like ' A BOX OF CHOCOLATES" Bill Gates - Born 1955. Businessman and philanthropist. 'The Richest Man In The World' Founded? - MICROSOFT Estimated worth? - $103.5BN Michael Jackson - Lived 1958-2009. Singer songwriter and performer. 'The King Of Pop' Where did Michael Jackson live? - NEVERLAND His top selling album? - THRILLER (66M COPIES, MAKING IT THE BEST SELLING ALBUM IN THE WORLD OF ALL TIME) Martin Luther King - Lived 1929-1968. Preacher and civil rights activist. 'M.L.K.' In which year did M.L.K. deliver his 'I have a dream' speech? - AUGUST 28, 1963 YouTube link to speech here - Christopher Reeve - Lived 1952-2004. Actor and disability rights activist. 'Superman' The 'Christopher Reeve Foundation' lobbied for improved rights and treatments for which condition? - SPINAL CORD INJURY Aretha Franklin - Lived 1942-2018. Singer songwriter and performer. 'The Queen Of Soul' Her biggest selling UK hit single, aside from her duet with George Michael in 1987 'I Knew You Were Waiting' was what? - 'I SAY A LITTLE PRAYER' (NUMBER 4 IN 1968) Mohammed Ali - Lived 1942-2016. Three times World Heavyweight Boxing Champion. Advocate for Parkinson's disease. 'The Greatest' First title? - 1964 Complete the following phrases - "Float like a butterfly - STING LIKE A BEE", "I am the - GREATEST", "My toughest fight was with - MY FIRST WIFE" Former name? - CASSIUS CLAY Whitney Houston - Lived 1963-2012. Singer, performer and actress. 'The Voice' Biggest selling worldwide hit record? - 'I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU' (From the 1992 film 'The Bodyguard', also starring Kevin Costner) (Number 1 in the US Billboard Chart in the same year for 14 weeks) Who wrote this song? (Their photo is also on the table!) - DOLLY PARTON John Wayne - Lived 1907-1979. Actor, filmmaker and recipient of the Presidential Medal Of Freedom. 'The Duke' What was his real name? - MARION ROBERT MORRISON Some of his best films? - TRUE GRIT, THE ALAMO, RIO BRAVO, THE SEARCHERS, MCLINTOCK Complete this quote from 'True Grit'? - "Get off your horse and - DRINK YOUR MILK" Oprah Winfrey - Born 1954. Talk show host, actress, media executive and philanthropist. 'Lady O' What was the name of the 1985 film in which Oprah starred alongside Whoopi Goldberg in the story of early 1900's black women's struggle against abuse and oppression? - THE COLOR PURPLE James Stewart - Lived 1908-1997. American actor and Second World War veteran. 'Jimmy' Best films - IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, THE PHILADELPHIA STORY, REAR WINDOW, VERTIGO, MR SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON & THE GLEN MILLER STORY Steve Jobs - Lived 1955-2011. Founder of Apple. Inventor of the iPhone True or false. There is more computing power in today's iPhone than in the whole of the Apollo NASA programme? TRUE (apparently if you had to go back to the Moon with an Apollo craft, you probably could transfer the necessary programs onto an iPhone app!) Bob Hope - Lived 1903-2003. Comedian, actor and singer. Recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal in 1963, for services to his country. 'Old Ski Nose' His comedy partner in 'The Road' movies was? - BING CROSBY Which of his songs won the Oscar For Best Song in 1939? - 'Thanks for - THE MEMORIES' Frank Sinatra - Lived 1915-1998. Actor, singer and performer. 'Old Blue Eyes' One of the 'Rat Pack' (a group of entertainers performing on the Las Vegas casino scene), with who else? - DEAN MARTIN, SAMMY DAVIS JR, PETER LAWFORD & JOEY BISHOP Barbra Streisand - Born 1942. Singer, actress and film director. 'Babs' Won a Best Actress Oscar for which 1969 film? - FUNNY GIRL Won a Best Original Song Oscar for which 1977 song? - EVERGREEN Won a Best Director Oscar for which 1984 film? - YENTL Steven Spielberg - Born 1946. Film director. 'The King Of Entertainment' Name his top three biggest box office hits? - 1. 'Jurrasic Park' (1993) $938.8m, 2. 'Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull' (2008) $786.6m & 3. 'E.T. The Extra Terrestrial' (1982) $717m Also on the Top 10 list were 'War Of The Worlds' (2005), 'Saving Private Ryan '(1998) & 'Jaws' (1975) Billie Jean King - Born 1943. Former world Number 1 professional tennis player, winning 39 Grand Slam titles, including 12 in Singles. Advocate for gender equality and social justice. True or false. Michael Jackson's song 'Billie Jean' was about Billie Jean King? - FALSE (Jackson said it was based on false claims made by 'Groupies' about his brothers) Neil Armstrong - Lived 1930-2012. American astronaut and first person to walk on the moon. What was the date of the moon landing? - JULY 20, 1969 The name of the landing craft? - THE EAGLE Complete this quotation - "It's one small step for man - ONE GIANT LEAP FOR MANKIND" (Note it is the 50th anniversary later this month) YouTube link - Harvey Milk - Lived 1930-1978. Gay rights activist. California's first openly gay elected official. Assassinated November 27, 1978. "Imagine a world without hate!" What was the name of the riots in Manhattan in 1969 that were said to have been 'the tipping point' for the Gay Liberation Movement in the USA? - STONEWALL What celebratory march took place in London this week that marked the 50th anniversary of Stonewall? - PRIDE John F Kennedy - Lived 1917-1963. US President January 20, 1961 to the date of his assassination November 22, 1963. 'J.F.K.' Who shot J.F.K.? - LEE HARVEY OSWALD Where did it happen? - DALLAS, TEXAS Ask members if any key individuals are missing from this list and discuss the reasons why they should be included.

NEWS ROUND UP Move on to discuss this week's news stories. Add your own as you wish. There was a total eclipse of the sun in South America this week. We remembered the last total eclipse that we had in the UK, on August 11, 1999. Wimbledon started this week. We discussed favourite tennis stars of the past - Billie Jean King, Virginia Wade, Stefi Graf, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Tim Henman, Bjorn Borg etc.

Gay Pride celebrated its 50th anniversary this week. Whilst it is a day of celebration and visibility for the LGBTQ community, in many countries you still cannot be the person you are or love who you wish. And, of course, it was 'American Independence Day' on July 4th, hence the theme for this week's CST activities page. YOU SAY POTATO Next, ask members to guess at the alternative American words for everyday English words. Maybe just select a few of them? Biscuit - COOKIE Chips - FRENCH FRIES Crisps - CHIPS Aubergine - EGGPLANT Courgette - ZUCCHINI Spring onion - SCALLION Beetroot - BEETS Herbs - HERB (WITH A SILENT H) Basil - BASIL (WITH THE S SOUNDING LIKE A Z) Coriander - CILANTRO Porridge - OATMEAL Treacle - MOLASSES Mincemeat - GROUND BEEF OR PORK (Remember the 'Trifle' episode of 'Friends') Cutlery - SILVERWARE Ice lolly - POPSICLE Sweets - CANDY Alcohol - LIQUER Candy floss - COTTON CANDY Jam - JELLY Jelly - JELLO Trainers - SNEAKERS Jumper - SWEATER Tissue - KLEENEX Nappy - DIAPER Dummy - PACIFIER Vacuum - HOOVER Flat - APARTMENT Lift - ELEVATOR Toilet - RESTROOM Tap - FAUCET Underground - SUBWAY Pavement - SIDEWALK Zebra crossing - CROSSWALK Toilet - RESTROOM Chemist - PHARMACY High Street - MAIN STREET Lorry - TRUCK Estate car - STATION WAGON Motorway - HIGHWAY Flyover - OVERPASS Diversion - DETOUR Car park - PARKING LOT Petrol - GAS Boot - TRUNK Bonnet - HOOD Queue - LINE Post - MAIL Post code - ZIP Timetable - SCHEDULE Rubber - ERASER Torch - FLASHLIGHT Mobile phone - CELL PHONE Takeaway - TAKEOUT Rubbish - GARBAGE OR TRASH Holiday - VACATION Autumn - FALL Noughts and crosses - TIC TAC TOE Football - SOCCER Tick - CHECK Full stop - PERIOD Discuss these language differences. What about accents? America also has many languages. Ask members to guess at those which are most commonly spoken. 1 - English - 231,122,908 2 - Spanish - 37,458,470 3 - Chinese (incl. Cantonese, Mandarin, other Chinese languages) - 2,896,766 4 - French and French Creole - 2,047,467 In the music playlist is a link to the song ‘Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off (You Say Tomato ... )’, to finish on this section. IDIOMS Next, ask members to complete these well know American based phrases. Stars and STRIPES Star spangled BANNER As American as Apple PIE Piece of CAKE Fanny PACK In that ball PARK Jump on the band WAGON Let's go DUTCH More bang for your BUCK Spill the BEANS Take a rain CHECK Go cold TURKEY The whole nine YARDS I smell a RAT It's not rocket SCIENCE Break a LEG It knocked my socks OFF Straight from the horse's MOUTH Plenty more fish in the SEA Working the graveyard SHIFT I could care LESS Put lipstick on a PIG Long in the TOOTH She's a KEEPER First BASE Up my ALLEY Don't be such a wet BLANKET Under the WEATHER I'm a Yankee Doodle DANDEE Tell me about IT Shoot the BREEZE

QUIZ Here is a general knowledge quiz about America and all things American for members to complete. What date is 'American Independence Day'? 4TH JULY Where would you find the White House? WASHINGTON DC Who are the current and previous US Presidents? DONALD TRUMP & BARACK OBAMA How many US States are there? 52 What is the name of the US flag? STAR SPANGLED BANNER or STARS AND STRIPES Which is the biggest US State? ALASKA Which city is known as the 'Big Apple'? NEW YORK Where would you find the 'Liberty Bell'? PHILADELPHIA How about the 'Golden Gate Bridge'? SAN FRANCISCO And the 'Empire State Building'? NEW YORK Which city is known as the 'Windy City'? CHICAGO

Which US State is known as the 'Orange' or 'Sunshine' State?


Where was the 1884 book 'The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn' set?

ALONG THE BANKS OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER Which mountain has the faces of four US Presidents carved in it? MOUNT RUSHMORE (Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington & Abraham Lincoln) What is the name of the waterfalls between the Canadian province of Ontario and the US state of New York? NIAGARA FALLS What is the name of the boat which goes behind the falls? THE MAIDEN OF THE MIST What are the 'Five Great Lakes'? ONTARIO MICHIGAN HURON ERIE SUPERIOR Which cartoon character lives in 'Jellystone Park', named after Yellowstone Park? YOGI BEAR Which geological feature has been carved by the Colorado River in Arizona? THE GRAND CANYON What is the name of the tallest structure in Las Vegas that has theme park rides at it's highest point? STRATOSPHERE What is the name of the tower in New York which lights up a red heart on Valentine's Day? EMPIRE STATE BUILDING What four letters were removed from the Hollywood hillside sign in Los Angeles? LAND Where is Disneyland? AHAHEIM, CALIFORNIA Where is Disneyworld? ORLANDO FLORIDA Which cartoon character is most associated with Disney? MICKEY MOUSE Which food company's outlets are signified by a Golden M? MC DONALDS If you were in Times Square which city would you be in? NEW YORK And what would to colour of the taxi cabs be? YELLOW What is the name of the road which runs from Chicago to Los Angeles? ROUTE 66 If you wanted to catch a bus along this route, what company would you travel with? GREYHOUND What date was the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers? 9 / 11/ 2001 Where would you visit to honour those who lost their lives on this date? GROUND ZERO (There were 2,996 victims - 265 on the four planes, 2,606 in the World Trade Center and surrounding area and 125 at The Pentagon.) What date were the attacks on Pearl Harbour in Oahu, Hawaii? DECEMBER 7, 1941 When the Titanic sank on April 15, 1912, where was it sailing from and to? BELFAST TO NEW YORK If you wished to visit any of these places, what is the US currency that you would need to take with you?



Spotify Playlist link here American Pie - Don McLean Which recently deceased artist is Don singing about when he sings "the day the music died"? BUDDY HOLLY (RIP February 3, 1959) New York, New York - Frank Sinatra What is the first landmark that people see as they sail into the Big Apple? STATUE OF LIBERTY San Francisco - Scott McKenzie Which mode of transport do San Franciscans use to get up the hills? CABLE CARS Oh What A Beautiful Morning - Oklahoma (Howard Keel) What US soap opera did Howard Keel go on to star in? DALLAS Breakfast In America - Supertramp What would you have for breakfast in America? PANCAKES WITH MAPLE SYRUP, EGGS SUNNY SIDE UP OR OVER EASY, WAFFLES ETC I'll Be There For You - The Rembrants Who were the characters of 'Friends'? CHANDLER BING, JOEY TRIBBIANI, ROSS & MONICA GELLER, RACHEL GREEN & PHOEBE BOUFFET And their Cafe? CENTRAL PERK Where Everybody Knows Your Name - TV Theme Where was 'Cheers' set? BOSTON Who played Sam? TED DANSON And the barman? WOODY HARRELSON Soap - TV Theme Which two families was the show about? THE TATES & THE CAMPBELLS Who starred as Joey? BILLY CRYSTAL The Simpsons - TV Theme Name the family members? HOMER, MARGE, BART, LISA & MAGGIE What was Homer's job? NUCLEAR SAFETY INSPECTOR AT SPRINGFIELD NUCLEAR PLANT Kids In America - Kim Wilde What is her TV occupation now? GARDENER Living In America - James Brown What film did this song feature in? ROCKY 1V What was James Browne's nickname? MR DYNAMITE Rhapsody In Blue - George Gershwin Ask members to name as many shades of blue as they can? SKY, NAVY, AQUAMARINE, TURQUOISE & CORNFLOWER Summertime - Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong Which musical was this song from? PORGY AND BESS There Is Nothing Like A Dame - South Pacific Name some Dames. JUDI DENCH, HELEN MIRREN, MAGGIE SMITH, DIANA RIGG, JULIE ANDREWS & ANGELA LANSBURY Maria - West Side Story Name the two rival gangs? JETS & SHARKS Gone With The Wind - Film Score Who were the lead characters and actors? SCARLETT O'HARA (VIVIEN LEIGH) & RHETT BUTLER (CLARK GABLE) And the name of the homestead? TARA Moon River - Film score Who sang this song? AUDREY HEPBURN Which character did she play? MISS HOLLY GOLIGHTLY Deadwood Stage - Doris Day Which movie was this song from? CALAMITY JANE Who is Calamity Jane said to have had a relationship with? WILD BILL HITCHCOCK Happy Days - TV Theme Who were the main characters and actors? THE FONZ (HENRY WINKLER) & RICHIE CUNNINGHAM (RON HOWARD)

Arthur's Theme - Christopher Cross

Who starred as Arthur in the 1981 film of the same name? And what about his Butler?


All That Jazz - Film Soundtrack

Which US city is this music associated with?


Which two actresses starred in the 2002 film?


Who is Ms Zeta-Jones married to?

MICHAEL DOUGLAS When You Wish Upon A Star - Louis Armstrong

Which Disney movie did this song come from and which character sang it?


Born In The USA - Bruce Springsteen

What is Bruce Springsteen's nickname?


Star Spangled Banner - Whitney Houston

Which animal is a symbol of the USA?


ACTIVITY Pebble Painting - We picked up some pebbles from a local beach and asked members to decorate them with paints and felt tip pens. Several members chose to go with the American theme, whilst others went for a more freestyle design.

It's always great having a 'product', so to speak, that members can take home to show family and friends what they have been up to in the 'YOD CST Friendship Group'.


We discussed American foods and drinks and had some of these on standby for a taste test.

Apple Pie

Pecan Pie

Hot Dogs



Coca Cola

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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