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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Dementia Cafe

We recently started 'Cariad Dementia Cafe', for young onset clients, supporters, friends and families in Cardiff and Vale. It is a cognitive stimulation therapy based session, with a multi-sensory quiz based activity, a physical exercise session and a news and music round up, based on memory and recall. My intention is to publish a weekly blog of the 'News Round Up' part of the CST session for others to dip into and use in their own activities planning. Also to add occasional additional blog posts about the other elements of the sessions, as they take place. As usual, I am grateful to my supportive friends and colleagues for permission to let you know what we have been getting up to in improving well-being for younger people with dementia locally.

The weekly themed 'CST Friendship Group' blog posts will continue to be published as they are developed and updated, but without the 'News Round' segment, which these posts will replace.

I hope this make sense. Please let me know your thoughts about this change. Feedback regarding what works best is always gratefully received. And please continue to spread the news about this free CST resource.


A great photo here of Dan Biggar, about to take a kick in the Rugby World Cup (? practice session). Sadly Wales lost to South Africa this week, missing out on the final after a close match. Final score, Wales 16 - South Africa 9.


England were rather more successful, beating New Zealand 19 - 7 and making it into the final. They will play South Africa on Saturday. We discussed who has been following the games.


The clocks went back this week. We discussed what it was like to have an extra hour in bed, as well as the chore of re-adjusting all the clocks in the house. (Harold Lloyd appears in this famous image.) We asked members if they remember in their childhood, from 1968-1971, when the clocks were not put back. This led to much darker early mornings and children were issued with high vis arm bands.

We had our first snow of the year in Wales this week. Derek Brockman ('Weatherman Walking') put up a photo on Twitter from the top of the Snowdon Mountain Railway showing a couple of inches had fallen. We discussed who likes the snow and the change in scenery it brings. https://twitter.com/DerekTheWeather/status/1188107401792241665?s=09

Sue and Noel Radford announced to the 'Manchester Evening News' that they are expecting their 22nd child in April 20. Sue is aged 44 and Noel 48. Their oldest child is age 30. They own and run a bakery and do not rely on support from the State.

We try to make the 'Cariad Dementia Cafe' sessions more multi-sensory by including well known song clips, for members to sing along with and answer reminiscence based questions on. To accompany this story we chose the following YouTube clip, namely the opening sequence from 'The Waltons'. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOBE43qsw3M We remembered "Goodnight John Boy" and named the children - John-Boy, Jason, Mary Ellen, Ben, Erin, Jim-Bob and Elizabeth. We discussed the pros and cons of coming from a large family versus being an only child.

The Australian daytime soap 'Neighbours' was first broadcast in the UK 33 years ago in 1986 this week. We sang along with the theme tune here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64tOb0IqWZo and remembered the show was set on Ramsay Street. Also that Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan, aka Charlene and Scott, were the two stars of the show that went on to have international acclaim as pop artists and actors.

It was Diwali in the UK and around the world this week, where Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities celebrate the 'Festival Of Lights' - the victory of light over darkness and good over evil. Jeremy Corbyn issued this smashing video. https://t.co/nK1W0JCjgJ

We looked at the new 2024 Paris Olympic Games logo which was issued this week. An Olympic flame yes, but also a French woman with a bob cut and lipstick. We all agreed this was a very French image, and very classy. We reminded ourselves that the 2020 Olympics next year are being held in Tokyo.

Next, we looked at a video clip - https://t.co/fsFBLenDBR - of a brown bear in Yellowstone National Park showing way too much interest in the family inside a car. Fortunately he didn't get in or smash any windows! We linked this story to a video clip of the 'Bear Necessities' song from 'Jungle Book' and sang along. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ogQ0uge06o We remembered the bear's name was Baloo and the boy was Mowgli.

Next we watched a video clip of a blue whale breaching, just alongside a tourist boat - https://t.co/XM0H0AtkaP The images were pretty terrifying, though the whale probably didn't mean to create any panic amongst the human visitors to his patch. We remembered the 1852 book by Herman Melville and the 1956 film starring Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab, 'Moby Dick'.

Staying with the theme of the ocean, we watched a video clip from Twitter this week of a German pro surfer, Sebastian Steudtner, riding this 115 foot wave at Nazare, Portugal. Simply awesome. https://t.co/tF7eKEK3O1

We discussed who has ever surfed or whale watched. And sang along with a Beach Boys You Tube video, 'Surfin' USA' - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2s4slliAtQU

Next, we looked at this story about a chap who appeared on 'Antiques Roadshow' with a watch that he brought for £35. The look of shock on his face when his watch was valued at £40,000 was priceless. https://onlinearticles.net/antiques-roadshow-man-bought-watch-for-35-its-now-worth-40000/

We remembered that the BBC show is currently hosted by Fiona Bruce and before her, Michael Aspel, Hugh Scully and Arthur Negus.

Finally, we look at this BBC news story about the wildfires in California, which are thought to have been started by wind damaged cables. We discussed the bravery of firefighters who put their lives at risk every day of the week and where would we be without them.

We moved on to discussing who had visited California and the beauty of the US state. We finished the session with singing along to 'The Mamas And Papas' song, 'California Dreaming' - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NJayW1kOeM