• Simon O'Donovan

Guest Blog - Apps

Jay Coakley, Therapy Technician

Cardiff And Vale Young Onset Dementia Service

11th November 2019

Apps for CST groups or stimulating 1:1 activity

Here I will detail some popular apps that have been tried and tested on a 1:1 basis and in CST groups. All of the apps are free to download and use Android software. The apps listed have been used on the Lenovo YOGA Tab 3 Pro, although most should be downloadable on any android tablet. I believe similar apps are also available on Apple devices. I have included the app icons so that you know which ones to look for in the app store.

The Lenovo YOGA Tab 3 Pro is an amazing multi tablet (others are available) regularly used by healthcare professionals in order to engage a range of individuals living with dementia in stimulating activity both ward based and in the community. The tablet has a handy projector built into the device meaning that anything displayed onto the tablet will be projected on the wall, perfect for group activity or for immersive 1:1 experience.

YouTube- Perfect for streaming music and film videos. You can create a playlist within YouTube if you want to plan ahead in order to include videos that fit within your session’s theme. We have found that this app works very well when using the projector function of the Lenovo tab in order to project the video giving a much larger screen size to engage more people within the session.

Quiz Apps

There are many interactive quiz apps available. Each quiz has a different theme i.e. Animals, Logos, Flowers, Flags and ‘say what you see’ and Famous Monuments. There is even a National Anthems app whilst allows you to hear or guess the National Anthems from countries around the world.

'Animal Quiz' - Andrey Solovyev

'Company Logos Quiz' - Lemmings At Work

'Flowers Quiz' - Andrey Solovyev

'PicToWord' - Kooapps Games

'Famous Monuments Of The World' - Andrey Solovyev

'Flags Of All Countries Of The World' - Andrey Solovyev

'National Anthems' - Cygnus Software

Each app/quiz allows you to select a difficulty level with varying quiz modes such as multiple choice or timed. Again this works really well when it is projected on the wall if being used as part of a CST group.

Creative Apps

The tablet is great for 1:1 creative activity with apps that allow the user to colour or sketch.

The 'ColourFeel Coloring Book' app is a digital mindful colouring book. It allows users to colour in a variety of drawings under different topic; florals, mandalas, famous paintings, animals and many others.

The 'Sketch Book' app allows users to draw free hand using their finger or a pointer pen. These app could also be projected onto the wall and users could work in groups to create a piece of art together. The 'Sketch Book' app allows users to choose different modes in order to create different artistic effects.

If your service users are less confident with technology but also enjoy being creative the 'Magic Fluids' app can allow users to produce beautiful colours and waves that move across the screen as they touch it. Some users have also found this to be a relaxing experience.

'Colorfeel Colouring Book' - Coloring Games Free

'Sketch Book' - Autodesk Inc

'Magic Fluids' - Mad Scientist

Multi- Sensory apps

If you want to engage your service users in multi-sensory or relaxation activity the following apps have worked well with our service users. They require minimal physical interaction with the tablet and can be eye catching and stimulating. Sound options can also be added to some of these apps to enhance the multi-sensory experience.

The '3D Aquarium' allows user to immerse themselves in a beautiful tropical ocean full of colourful fish and coral reefs. This app is slightly interactive in that the user can move around the ocean looking from different angle and discovering shells with pearls inside.

'Ambience' is a sounds app that can aid relaxation or reminiscence. The app contains a vast amount of relaxing and recognisable sounds including rain sounds, ocean sounds, river sounds, night sounds countryside sounds and wind/fire sounds. The sounds can be

For the animal lovers out there we have a 'Live Cat' app this includes a recording of a beautiful ginger cat. You can watch and listen to him purr. You tube is also very good for videos of animals in numerous environments or levels of activity.

'3D Aquarium' - Dynamic Art Creator

'Ambience' - Mikdroid

'Live Cat' -


The only downfall to the apps being free is that the apps do contain advert pop ups, these can be a little distracting but are easily removed or last for a few seconds only. These are just a few of the apps that can be used for stimulating activity there are many more to discover. We would welcome any additional recommendations.

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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