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 Dementia Cafe

We started our short CST session this week by discussing the news that Price Harry and Megan Markle are to step back their royal duties and spend much of their time in Canada. People generally agreed with the way Megan is being hounded by the tabloids and given the way Princess Diana was treated by the paparazzi they couldn't be blamed for wanting to improve their lives.

Twitter was less kind. Here are a couple of images from this week, from @DadJokeMan and @christhebarker

Happy Birthday to 'The King Of Rock And Roll' Elvis Presley, who would have been 85 this week! (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977) We discussed who liked his music and remembered that he lived in 'Graceland'. We completed some of his UK hit song titles:

Heartbreak - HOTEL (1956)

Blue Suede - SHOES (1956)

Hound - DOG (1956)

Love Me - TENDER (1956)

All Shook - UP (1957)

Let Me Be Your - TEDDY BEAR (1957)

Jailhouse - ROCK (1958)

King - CREOLE (1958)

Are You Lonesome - TONIGHT (1961) It's Now Or - NEVER (1961)

Wooden - HEART (1961)

Can't Help Falling In - LOVE (1962)

The Wonder Of - YOU (1970)

Return To - SENDER (1962) Crying In The - CHAPEL (1965)

The Wonder Of - YOU (1970)

Way - DOWN (1977)

A Little Less - CONVERSATION (2002)

We chose one of the above songs as our first sing along, namely 'Can't Help Falling In Love'. Here's the link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YFYRYUoCPQ

A riddle next, from @ThePoke.

The answer, of course, is 'E'.

Next, a story from @BBCNews, relating to 'Veganuary'. So successful has been the new vegan sausage roll launched by 'Greggs' last year, that staff are set to share a £7m payment after a 'phenomenal year'. This will mean a £300 bonus for every person.

@OKeating commented - "I can't do Veganuary, but I'm fully signed up for Flabuary, Starch and Cakepril."

Sadly, Christopher Beeny had died this week aged 78. He found fame as an actor in the TV drama 'Upstairs Downstairs' in the 1970s and later in 'Last Of The Summer Wine'. Members tried to recall the title music from both shows. Links here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYtzXmlYyco - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYYo91NOAsc

Next, some jokes from @DadJokeMan ...

I need to tell someone about my coconut touching habit... But I’m just feeling a little shy.

I got arrested by a blonde policewoman last night. It was a fair cop...

I visited a monastery and as I walked past the kitchen I saw a man frying chips. I asked him “Are you the friar?” He replied “No, I’m the chip monk...”

I just called Sea World. They said my call would be recorded for training porpoises.

I came home drunk last night and didn’t want to wake anyone up so I just stuck two French pancakes to my feet and crêped up the stairs...

“Knock knock” “Who's there?” “Agad” “Agad who?” “Push pineapple shake the tree”

What do you call a man with rabbits living up his bum? Warren.

As I regained consciousness in hospital from last night's car crash, the doctors were trying to convince me I'm actually a Swedish bloke who has forgotten his identity... But I wasn't Bjorn yesterday...

Two pebbles on a beach,first one says,"Are you married?" Second one replies,"No I'm shingle."

Apparently the Queen is even more angry that her new chair has been made of jelly... She’s throne a wobbly...

My mate bet me £100 that I couldn't do a butterfly impression... I thought, ‘that's got to be worth a little flutter’...

Is Mick Jagger’s phlebotomist the only person ever to get blood out of a stone?

A 17th-century church remembered David Bowie this week, on what would have been the legend's 73rd birthday. They rang out the bells to play 'Life On Mars'. We discussed who liked David Bowie, whose nickname was 'The Thin White Duke'. We completed some of his UK hit song titles ...

Space - ODDITY (1961)

Life On - MARS (1971)

Heroes (1971)

Changes (1971)

Oh You Pretty - THINGS (1971)

Ziggy - STARDUST (1972)

Star - MAN (1972)

The Jean - GENIE (1973)

Rebel - REBEL (1974)

Young - AMERICANS (1975)

Fame (1975)

Golden - YEARS (1976)

Fashion (1980)

Ashes To - ASHES (1980)

Under - PRESSURE (1981)

Modern - LOVE (1983)

China - GIRL (1983)

Let's - DANCE (1983)

Absolute - BEGINNERS (1986)

Dancing In The - STREET (1993)

And chose 'Life On Mars' as our next song. Here's the link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZKcl4-tcuo

Next, we discussed the iPhone which was launched on 9 January 2007. We asked who had one on their person and how essential they had become in everyday life. We remembered Steve Jobs was the CEO of Apple who launched the product. He died of pancreatic cancer in 2011 and was replaced by Tim Cook.

Next, we looked at the 'Guardian' news story of the fastest driverless train being launched in China. The new bullet train connects the Chinese cities of Beijing and Zhangjiakou and is capable of reaching a top speed of up to 217mph (350km/h), making it the world’s fastest autonomous train in operation. The new service, launched in the build-up to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic games, will reduce travel time between the capital and Zhangjiakou, which will stage most of the skiing events, from three hours to less than one.

We discussed who would like to take a ride on this driverless train and who likes train journeys generally. The Cardiff to London High Speed Train has a top speed of 125mph, so what would the feeling of travelling nearly twice as fast be like?


10 January saw the first Wolf Moon of the year, but also with a partial lunar eclipse. This video from @bbcweather explained the phenomemon. We discussed who had seen it and next chose a song from the following list we generated about the moon.

Blue Moon - The Marcels

Total Eclipse Of The Heart - Bonnie Tyler

Moonshadow - Cat Stevens

Fly Me To The Moon - Frank Sinatra

Walking On The Moon - The Police

Dancing In The Moonlight - Thin Lizzy

Moon River - Audrey Hepburn

We chose 'Moon River', of course -


The legit classic Batman live-action television series, starring Adam West and Burt Ward, debuted on 12 January in 1966! The Dynamic Duo battled The Riddler in their first adventure, "Hi Diddle Riddle." We tried to recognise the other arch enemies from the beow picture and remembered Batman's proper name was Bruce Wayne. We also remembered the Batmobile, the Batcave, the Batphone and Alfred, his butler.

They are Cat Woman, The Riddler, The Penguin and The Joker.

As it happens, 'The Joker' starring Joaquin Phoenix has received the most Oscar nominations. The awards ceremony takes place on 10 February and a CST session dedicated to movies will be available shortly afterwards.

We finished with a Beatles story. The very first Beatles record to be played on the radio is going up for auction. 'Love Me Do' first aired in 1962 - the record is expected to go for £20,000 later this month.

At the same time, the Beatles album 'Abbey Road' was was the top selling vinyl album of the 2010s in the US. We looked at the track list and chose a song to play from it as our last track.

Side one

"Come Together"Lennon


"Maxwell's Silver Hammer"McCartney

"Oh! Darling"McCartney

"Octopus's Garden" Starr

"I Want You (She's So Heavy)"Lennon

Side two

"Here Comes the Sun" Harrison

"Because"Lennon, McCartney and Harrison

"You Never Give Me Your Money"McCartney

"Sun King"Lennon, with McCartney and Harrison

"Mean Mr. Mustard"Lennon

"Polythene Pam"Lennon

"She Came In Through the Bathroom Window"McCartney

"Golden Slumbers"McCartney

"Carry That Weight"McCartney, with Lennon, Harrison and Starr

"The End"McCartney

"Her Majesty" (as a hidden track) McCartney

Because we had just experienced Storm Brendan, with 80mph winds in some places, we decided on 'Here Comes The Sun'. Here's the link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUNqsfFUwhY