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

Cariad News Round Up - Short CST session

The world's first printed Christmas card went on display this week, at Charles Dickens Museum in London. The artwork, created in 1843 went on to spawn a global industry. It sold for a shilling (quite a lot in those days!) and was sent via the Penny Post.

We asked who had written and sent their Christmas cards yet? How many did people send? Did they use Scout Mail?

We looked at this image, which announced a 90mph zip wire coming to Margam Country Park next year. The ride will take forty seconds to complete and will be 1.5km long.

We asked who fancied having a go? Who would brave it? Who has a fear of heights?

Next, we look at a YouGov survey, which asked "Of Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn ...

- Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with? - (Johnson 44% vs Corbyn 50%)

- Who do you think would successfully organise the office Christmas Party? - (Johnson 66% vs Corbyn 17%)

- Who would be less likely to pay you back a tenner?" - (Johnson 57% vs Corbyn 24%)

(Answers in brackets.)

The Guardian announced it's pick of the best supermarket luxury mince pies. The results (Top 5) were as follows:

- M&S - £2.50

- Iceland - £1.89

- Asda - £1.50

- Waitrose - £2.50

- Aldi - £1.35

We had some mince pies on stand by, ready to taste and rate.

It was 'World Hello Day' this week. By way of celebration, we looked at a video clip of a Bear waving at visitors to an animal sanctuary. Here's the clip


Next we looked at Richard Browning demonstrating his jet pack to Royal Navy colleagues. The First Sea Lord, Tony Radakin, said on Twitter this would be a huge step forward in addressing defence and security challenges.

Link here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xL02e4L-RQo

It was time for our first singalong. After the jet pack story, we had to choose 'Walking In The Air', from the film 'The Snowman'. We reminded ourselves that Aled Jones had sung the song and Raymond Briggs had written the book.

Link here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcKxc_wqF6E

There had been a big turn out in Barry this week, to watch Nessa (Ruth Jones) turn on the Christmas lights. We all agreed that we were looking forward to the new 'Gavin And Stacey Christmas Special', which is to be shown over the holidays.

We noted that it was the 91st anniversary this week of Mickey and Minnie Mouse making their world debut. They both 'appeared' in the film 'Steamboat Willie' on 18th November 1928.

We asked who had visited Disney World/Land and who would like to go there? We discussed favourite Disney movies.

To follow up this story, we sand the song 'When You Wish Upon A Star', sung by the character Jiminy Cricket (Cliff Edwards) in the 1940 Disney movie 'Pinocchio'.

Here's a link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKh6XxYbbIc

The Royal Mint had announced a new £5,000 coin this week. Unfortunately, being the size of a dinner plate, it was too small to fit into your purse. So we all decided against getting one!

The Royal Mint had also produced a 2019 Sixpence, worth £30. We discussed the tradition of putting one of these in the Christmas pudding and what a risk it had represented. Bah humbug!

Freddie Mercury's anniversary was this week. He lived 5th September 1946-24 November 1991. He died aged 45. He would have been 73 had he lived.

We discussed favourite Queen songs. Here's a list of their top selling UK hits:

- Bohemian Rhapsody, 1975

- We Are The Champions, 1977

- Under Pressure, 1981

- Don't Stop Me Now, 1979

- Crazy Little Thing Called Love, 1979

- Radio Ga Ga, 1984

- I Want To Break Free, 1984

- Somebody To Love, 1976

- Killer Queen, 1974

- A Kind Of Magic, 1986

We asked members to choose a Queen song to sing from this list.

'Bohemian Rhapsody' was the choice. Here is the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJ9rUzIMcZQ

Finally, it was 'Thanksgiving' this week. We discussed the US holiday and how it is celebrated. (The photo is of Snoopy at the Macy's Parade.)

We went around the room and said what each of us were thankful for.