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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Cariad Dementia Cafe

This week's news stories, which were used as the basis for a short CST session and singalong, were as follows.

Banksy installed a piece of art in Birmingham this week to highlight the growing homelessness problem in the UK. https://t.co/1a1dNiXil5

We all agreed this was an excellent awareness raiser and went on to remember the song, 'Rudolf The Red Nosed Reindeer'.

We remembered the names of the reindeer in the story 'The Night Before Christmas' were Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen.

Here's a link to the song, with lyrics - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ifzaff5woBA

CBS News

Next, we looked at another piece of art?!?! A banana duct-taped to a wall was sold this week for $120,000 at Art Basel Miami. David Datuna, performance artist, then went on to eat the banana.

We discussed what constitutes art? And if any members would want a banana stuck to their wall with duct tape?


Things From The Past @moodvintage

Next, we looked at the above photo (without reading about it first) and discussed it. Members agreed the man in question looked quite trendy and it was a 'selfie' to be proud of.

We then learned this was the first ever self-portrait photograph. It was taken by Robert Cornelius, an American pioneer of photography, in 1839. Amazing!


Our next story was about the 35th anniversary of the song 'Last Christmas' by Wham this week. Released on 3rd December 1984, the iconic Christmas song reached Number 2 in the UK Chart and stayed in it for 61 weeks.

We remembered that 'Wham' featured George Michael (Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou) and Andrew Ridgely.

Some of their other hits included:

- 'Young Guns Go For It', 1982 (Reached Number 3 in the UK Chart)

- 'Wham Rap', 1983 (Number 8)

- 'Bad Boys', 1983 (Number 2)

- 'Club Tropicana', 1983 (Number 4)

- 'Wake Me Up Before You Go Go', 1984 (Number 1)

- 'Freedom', 1984 (Number 1)

- 'I'm Your Man', 1985 (Number 1)

- 'The Edge Of Heaven', 1986 (Number 1)

This was our next song. We watched the original video and sang along. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8gmARGvPlI

Over the last few weeks, we have looked at Christmas adverts, old and new. Here is one released this week by Hafod Hardware shop based in Rhayader, Powys. Apparently, it cost only £100 to make and has, as they say, "gone viral". Here's a link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDtCXO71FJU

Staying with the warm glow of kindness at Christmas, here is another story from 'The Poke' this week, about an Amazon delivery driver's reaction when he realises that the home owner has left him some Christmas cheer and a thank you note. Watch the video here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1LVW-mxmK0

We next looked at a story about the largest gold nugget ever found in the UK coming up for sale. The lump of pure gold, which weighs 121.3g (4.2 oz), was unearthed in a mystery location in Scotland in May this year. The two pieces form a doughnut shape and could be worth £80,000. However, gold panning experts are remaining sceptical until its provenance can be confirmed.The treasure was discovered in two pieces but fits together perfectly, earning it the name 'The Reunion Nugget'.


This led us to our next song, 'Gold' by Spandau Ballet. Link here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntG50eXbBtc

Sadly, it was announced this week that Bob Willis, the former England cricket captain, had died aged 70. The pace bowler made 90 Test Match appearances for his country and took 325 wickets, placing him fourth in the all-time list of England bowlers. He famously played a key part in the memorable 1981 third Test defeat of Australia at Headingley that was won from a seemingly impossible position, taking a career-best 8-43. He enjoyed a long career in broadcasting after his retirement in 1984, first for the BBC and then latterly on Sky.

The Guardian published an obituary - link here -


We discussed who likes cricket and follows the sport?

Changing the subject somewhat, @BBCArts released a smashing video compilation of all your favourite incompetent sleuths. We watched the 4 mins long video and paused as we identified actors and characters (the end titles list the movie clips).

This seemed appropriate, as it has been announced this week that the new James Bond movie 'No Time To Die', starring, for the last time, Daniel Craig will be released on 3rd April 2020.


This led us to our next song. The TV theme from 'The Pink Panther' - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bii-PIGprv8

@IvyLineGB announced the 'Top 10 Gifts Most Likely To Be Returned By Brits'.

We discussed what might be in the list, before revealing the answers:

1. Shoes

2. Kitchen Appliances

3. Video Games

4. Sweets

5. Candles

6. Gym Wear

7. DVDs

8. Toddler Clothing

9. Glassware

10. Make Up

We discussed who likes to 're-gift' presents? And what are the easiest or best gifts to buy, which are least likely to be returned.


Next, we looked at the story from Newport, Wales, of (possibly) the oldest sisters in the UK. She may be turning 100 years old - but Lil Thomas is still the youngster when it comes to her sister. Lil has just become a centenarian, following in the footsteps of her 108-year-old sister, Amy Winifred Hawkin. With a combined age of 208, between them, they have received six birthday cards from the Queen.

There's a nice video link in the BBC news article -


Lil's advice is spot on, "Never lose your sense of humour because if you can't laugh, especially at yourself, you will never get through it all."

The final news story we looked at was Classic FM polling for 'Britain's Favourite Carol'. You can vote here -


We looked at results from last year and asked members to pick one or two carols to sing together.

(Maybe have some song sheets at the ready?)

1. O Holy Night.

2, Silent Night. ...

3. In the Bleak Mid-Winter - Gustav Holst version. ...

4. Hark! ... The Herald Angels Sing

5. O Come All Ye Faithful. ...

6. In the Bleak Mid-Winter - Harold Darke version. ...

7. O Little Town of Bethlehem. ...

8. Carol of the Bells. ...

9. Once In Royal David's City

10. Joy To The World

Hope you like this week's 'News Round Up'? Feedback would be gratefully received.