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

Here is last week's 'Cariad' Dementia Cafe / short CST session. Hope you like it.

We started by looking at this smashing photo of Harry and Megan, taken by @samhussein and discussed how we felt about them leaving for Canada this week.

Next, we looked at this picture of a new James Bond coin, which is minted by The Royal Mint to celebrate the new movie 'No Time To Die' and has a face value of £7,000. It weighs 7 kilos and will, with several smaller coins included, sell at a retail price of £130,000.

We discussed who likes this film genre and listed the James Bond films together, along with the actors and singers:

- 'Dr. No' (1962) - Sean Connery - John Barry theme

- 'From Russia with Love' (1963) - Sean Connery - Matt Monro

- 'Goldfinger' (1964) - Sean Connery - Shirley Bassey

- 'Thunderball' (1965) - Sean Connery - Tom Jones

- 'You Only Live Twice' (1967) - Sean Connery - Nancy Sinatra

- 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' (1969) - George Lazenby

- 'Diamonds Are Forever' (1971) - Sean Connery - Shirley Bassey

- 'Live and Let Die' (1973) - Roger Moore - Wings

- 'The Man with the Golden Gun' (1974) - Roger Moore - Lulu

- 'The Spy Who Loved Me' (1977) - Roger Moore - Carly Simon 'Nobody Does It Better'

- 'Moonraker' (1979) - Roger Moore - Shirley Bassey

- 'For Your Eyes Only' (1981) - Roger Moore - Sheena Easton

- 'Octopussy' (1983) - Roger Moore - Rita Coolidge 'All Time High'

- 'A View To A Kill' (1985) - Roger Moore - Duran Duran

- 'The Living Daylights' (1987) - Timothy Dalton - Aha

- 'License to Kill' (1989) - Timothy Dalton - Gladys Knight

- 'Golden Eye' (1995) - Pierce Brosnan - Tina Turner

- 'Tomorrow Never Dies' (1997) - Pierce Brosnan - Sheryl Crow

- 'The World Is Not Enough' (1999) - Pierce Brosnan - Garbage

- 'Die Another Day' (2002) - Pierce Brosnan - Madonna

- 'Casino Royale' (2006) - Daniel Craig - Chris Cornell 'You Know My Name'

- 'Quantum of Solace' (2008) - Daniel Craig - Alicia Keys & Jack White 'Another Way To Die'

- 'Skyfall' (2012) - Daniel Craig - Adele

- 'Spectre' (2015) - Daniel Craig - Sam Smith 'Writing's On The Wall'

Our first song was 'Goldfinger', sing by Shirley Bassey. Here is a YouTube link to the song with lyrics - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ixny_7WUFCw

Our next story was this one, about a rare specially made piece of Lego modelling Tom Jones which has sold on EBay for £200.

We discussed what members collect, if anything, and what their most valuable piece is. Mine, of course, is a signed Kate Bush album!

We also noted that Lego should probably stop being made, given it is plastic.

@BBCNews reported that a medal awarded to a boxer who helped save the Princess Royal from an attempted armed kidnap in 1974 has sold at auction for £50,000. Former heavyweight Ronnie Russell, 72, punched Ian Ball in the head as he tried to abduct the princess at gunpoint in London. Mr Russell said he reluctantly sold the George Medal as he had been "very unwell for quite some time" and "Want to know that I've done enough to pay for my own funeral".

We all found this a sad story and felt that the Royal Family should have brought the medal then given it back to him again.

A funny story came from @ThePoke this week. We read the tweet together and everyone had a chuckle. As they say, "Boom!"

It was time for some @DadJokeMan jokes ...

Just paid for my friends rhinoplasty operation... Well it's no skin off my nose...

I applied for a job as a carpenter the other day. I had to demonstrate my skill with a piece of wood. I nailed it.

I've had such a bad day... First I got into fight with a guy dressed as Shakespeare, then I almost choked on a German sausage. It's gone from bard to wurst...

I decided that I now identify myself as a roll on deodorant... And before you ask.. Yes, I’m Sure.

I’ve recently been leading an in-depth study into red herrings... I’m a maroon biologist.

You know when you're sitting on the loo then suddenly you realise that there is no toilet roll so you have to get up and do that ‘waddle’ to get a new roll?... Well....... I'm nearly at Tesco..!

Last night our local Chief Constable gave a talk on drugs... I couldn’t understand a word he was saying....

I used to work in a book shop and I was asked for a copy of ‘A Tale Of Two Cities’. The customer said; "Can you wrap it?" "I'll give it a go sir... It was da best o' times, it was da worst o' times...

I was planning on going to Crufts today but the traffic is awful, it’s nose to tail...

I’m trying to find someone to give a lecture on elephant pregnancy but no one wants to talk about the elephant in the womb...

If there's one place I can't stand... It's an ice rink...

Next, members watched this video together, after trying to decide what different sounds would come from the two glasses. The link to the tweet is here - https://twitter.com/UniverCurious/status/1235365850611429376?s=20

Next, we looked at a story from 'The Guardian', which announced that the rock group 'Genesis' are reforming for a series of UK stadium gigs, for the first time since 2007. Apparently Phil Collins is somewhat frail these days, having suffered fractured vertebrae previously, but his son will be playing drums.

We remembered the names of the other band members - Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks. Also, Peter Gabriel used to be in the band.

Our next song was 'Follow You, Follow Me', by Genesis. Some members were big fans. Here is a link to a video with lyrics - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJO_fP4MNXY

A couple of pet stories came next. Firstly, this dog - Chico, who turned up at a police station in Odessa, Texas, to report himself missing. He was wearing a collar, but his tag was missing. Before Police had a chance to arrange for his microchip to be swiped, he ran home again, more than a mile away. "Good boy!"

Next, we looked at this picture of a massive Maine Coon cat called 'Lotus' from @BoredPanda. Maine Coons are the largest domesticated cat, growing up to 40 inches long and 25 pounds heavy. Imagine all that 'Kitty Cat'!

We talked about who preferred cats and who preferred dogs, but agreed one this big would take a big effort to look after. And the cat flap would need to be huge!!

Talking of dogs, we next looked at this 'Daily Mirror' article about the most favoured breeds in the UK. We guessed at what dogs would be in the top ten and which would be number one. We were wrong! Check out the article linked here - https://twitter.com/ChrisGPackham/status/1236331396563697664?s=20

Our next item was a pig of a story, from @ThePoke. Tadcaster and Knaresbororough firecrews attended a fire to four pigpens near Bramham. No pigs were harmed in the incident. The cause of the fire was attributed to a battery powered pedometer carried by one of the pigs (to prove it was free-range), which was eaten by another pig. After nature had taken its course, it's believed that the copper from the batteries reacted with the pigpen contents and in conjunction with dry bedding, ignited hay. A hosereel was used to extinguish the fire and "save the bacon".

It would have been Karen Carpenter's 70th birthday this week (2nd March), had she lived. She died in 1983, aged 32.

We remembered some of her and her brother Richard's songs (they had seven top ten hits in the UK, no number 1s):

- 'They Long To Be (Close To You)', 1970

- 'Goodbye To Love', 1972

- 'Yesterday Once More', 1973

- 'Top Of The World', 1973

- 'Please Mr Postman', 1975

- 'Only Yesterday', 1975

- 'Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft', 1977

We chose to sing along with another of their classic songs, 'We've Only Just Begun'. Link to video with lyrics here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDf7kFKTB5A

Next, we looked at some great photos from @BoredPanda of people caught sleeping on the job. This gave everyone a chuckle. Here's the link - https://twitter.com/boredpanda/status/1237003172834656256?s=20

Our next story was about a fantastic achievement. 64-year-old Sara Brewer,who only took up rowing six years ago, has become the oldest woman to row an ocean after crossing the Atlantic in 86 days. She achieved the feat alongside her rowing partner, Ann Prestidge, 35.

The pair completed the 'Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge' on just two meals a day after running out of food. The race took them more than a fortnight longer than they had anticipated after they battled 20-metre (65ft) high waves, fought through numerous storms, suffered broken oars and injuries. The pair set off from La Gomera, the Canary Islands, on 12 December last year, rowing 3,000 miles (4,828km) to reach the shores of Antigua on 7 March – just in time for 'International Women's Day'. Their efforts have raised more than £45,000 for the 'Alzheimer's Society' and 'Street League'.

We all agreed this was an amazing feat of endurance and must have at times been quite terrifying. We wondered if their friendship had survived such a lengthy time in close proximity?

We next watched a video clip from BBC's 'The One Show', of Rylan Clark getting scammed by Matt Baker. It's a classic 'Gotcha!' - link here https://twitter.com/BBCSounds/status/1236215009081995264?s=20

Rik Mayall would have been 62 this week. Sadly he died in 2014, aged 56. We remembered some of his best shows:

- 'The Young Ones' (1982-84)

- 'Blackadder' (1983-89)

- 'The New Statesman' (1987-92)

- 'Bottom' (1991-95)

Our last story was from the #NatureNow campaign. We watched this short video about the campaign aims - https://youtu.be/P0B6AxeVNY8

We all agreed that Greta Thunberg, the 17 year old girl from Sweden behind the recent climate emergency school protests, has done an amazing job in highlighting the crisis we are facing and the actions led by her are making politicians across the globe sit up and reassess their priorities.

Our last photo was of Joni Mitchell who recently celebrated her 76th birthday and has been recovering after a brain aneurysm. It was wonderful to see her out and about last week, celebrating (photo from @walkinsauce)

We finished with one of her amazing songs, about nature - 'Big Yellow Taxi'. Link to the song with lyrics is here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2595abcvh2M