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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Dementia Cafe

Here is this week's 'Dementia Cafe/Short CST Session'. Please let me know if these additions to the 'Simon Dementia CST Blog' are useful in your activities planning, or not.

We started with some anniversaries ...

Betty White was 98 this week. We remembered her most popular 80s TV show, 'The Golden Girls', where she played Rose Nylund. Her co-stars were Bea Arthur, who played Dorothy Zbornak, Rue McClanahan, who played Blanche Devereaux, and Estelle Getty, who played Dorothy's mother Sophia Petrillo. The theme song for the show was 'Thank You For Being A Friend', which was originally recorded by Andrew Gold.

Next, we remembered Cary Grant, who was born Archibald Leach in Bristol on 18 January 1904. We completed the titles of some of his best movies:

- Bringing Up BABY (1939)

- His Girl FRIDAY (1940)

- Arsenic And Old LACE (1944)

- To Catch A THIEF (1945)

- Rear WINDOW (1954)

- I Was A Male War BRIDE (1959)

- An Affair To REMEMBER (1957)

- North By NORTHWEST (1959)

We then remembered Humphrey Bogart, arguably the greatest actor of all time, who died on 14 January in 1957. We completed the titles of some of his movies:

- The Maltese FALCON (1941)

- CasaBLANCA (1942)

- The Big SLEEP (1946)

- Key LARGO (1948)

- The Treasure Of The Sierra MADRE (1948)

- The African QUEEN (1951)

This led us to our first song, 'As Time Goes By', from 'Casablanca'. The singer was Dooley Wilson. Ingrid Bergman co-starred. Link here (movie clip) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vThuwa5RZU

Next, we watched a couple of funny dog videos. The first was of a man petting his dog, for ? stress relief ? Link here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzKaOp383vA

The other was of a dog toboganning. Link here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzKaOp383vA

Next, we had some jokes from @DadJokeMan

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?

I’ve lost my job at the farm collecting eggs from chickens. I’ve been laid off.

What do you call a magician that's lost his magic? Ian.

Witness "I saw an octopus rob a bank this morning!" Reporter "Did he have a gun?" Witness "No, but he was well armed!"

I just witnessed a fight between an auctioneer and a hairdresser... They were going at it hammer and tongs...

I just got hit by a rental van....bloody hertz!

Leo Sayer once told me that I look just like Sam from ‘Cheers’.... He made me feel like Danson.

Next, we looked at some weather stories.

Newfoundland had experienced 'Snowmageddon' this week. A massive winter blizzard had buried cars and left thousands without power. The storm on Friday and Saturday dumped as much as 76.2cm (30 inches) of snow on St John’s, the capital, and packed wind gusts as high as 130km/h (81mph). The snowfall was an all-time record for the day for St John’s international airport.

Meanwhile, after the Australian fires New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria had experienced massive damage through flash floods and hail storms. Canberra was worst hit by hail, with homes and cars damaged by 15 minutes worth of being battered by hailstones the size of golf balls. Two tourists were also injured after being struck by lightning.

Nearer to home, we had had some stunning weather and beautiful sunsets in the UK this week. Here is a picture from Sian Dixon, sent in to @BarryDistrictNews.co.uk

We remembered together the old saying, "Red sky at night. shepherds' delight. Red sky at morning, shepherds take warning."

We then looked at a few news stories.

17-year-old Wolf Cukier was three days into an internship with NASA this week when he accidentally discovered a new planet! He was checking images from its super-strength satellite, when he noticed something strange. It turned out to be a new planet, 1,300 light years away from Earth and 6.9 times larger. Thrilled with his discovery, he said, "I don't get to name the planet. My brother had the idea of calling it 'Wolftopia' but I think TOI 1338 b is sufficient."

A rare coin had become the first to sell for £1m this week. The 22 carat gold Edward VIII sovereign was brought by a private collector, who described the chance to bring it back from the US as a "once in a lifetime opportunity". The coin is one of a trial set of six which never went into mass production owing to Edward's abdication in December 1936.

Jamie, Ewan and Lachlan MacLean are the first three brothers to row across any ocean, and the youngest trio and the fastest trio to ever row the Atlantic. They set off from La Gomera, in the Canary Islands, on 12 December and have this week completed the 3,000-mile trip to Antigua in 35 days. Previously, the fastest a trio had ever rowed the Atlantic Ocean was 41 days. The MacLean brothers, known as Broar, overcame seasickness, battery issues, storms, dehydration and exhaustion to reach Antigua in record time.

The world's shortest man, who could walk, as verified by Guinness World Records, died this week at a hospital in Nepal, aged 27. Khagendra Thapa Magar, from Nepal's Baglung district, measured 67.08cm (2ft 2.41in). His brother told AFP news agency he died on Friday following a battle with pneumonia. He paid tribute to Mr Magar, saying he "didn't let his small size stop him from getting the most out of life".

It was 'Martin Luther King Day' on 20 January. For over three decades, the U.S. has dedicated the third Monday of every January to the memory and legacy of the civil rights icon. King was born on Jan. 15, 1929, and would have turned 91 this year. He was assassinated on 4 April 1968, but his memory lives on as a national holiday with parades throughout the country and the closure of many public services and stores.

20 January also marked the 90th birthday of Buzz Aldrin (born Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Jr. 1930). Aldrin was an American mechanical engineer, USAF pilot and the astronaut who was the Lunar Module pilot on Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing in history.

We watched a clip from the movie 'First Man', which recreated the moon landing in it's 50th anniversary year 20 July 1969. Link here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpkUDzB6WEc

This led us to our next song. 'Breathe' from 'Dark Side Of The Moon' by Pink Floyd. Here's a link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOW2pfZKF4Y

It was also Tom Baker's 86th birthday on 20 January. Having a few moments discussion about Dr Who seemed appropriate after our lunar landings reminiscence. We tried to see if we could name all of the Dr Whos over the years since it first aired in 1963.

- William Hartnell

- Patrick Troughton

- Jon Pertwee

- Tom Baker

- Peter Davison

- Colin Baker

- Sylvester McCoy

- Paul McGann

- Christopher Eccleston

- David Tennant

- Matt Smith

- Peter Capaldi

- Jodie Whittaker

Stephen Fry reminded us that it was 'Winnie The Pooh Day' on 18 January. We remembered his friends were Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore, Owl, Kanga and Roo, and that A.A. Milne had created the character in 1926.

This led us back to some @DadJokeMan jokes ...

Winnie The Poohs gone to the Caribbean. - Antigua? - No, I think he went with Piglet...

I've been invited to a fancy dress party with a Tupperware theme... I can hardly contain myself...

Someone has smashed up all the Chinese dumplings I was going to have for my dinner... It was an act of wonton destruction...

I'd like to thank my neighbour for placing a cover over my car last night when it was frosty. Ta, Pauline.

I used to date a girl who loved to be covered in cheese... She was a cracker.

What did the cheese say to itself in the mirror? Halloumi.

I was busy in my garden and the neighbour looked over the fence and said.. “What are you doing?” I said “I'm putting all my plants in alphabetical order...” She replied “Really? I don't know how you find the time..!” Oh that's easy I said, “Its right next to the sage.”

My Doctor says that I have developed ‘German sausage phobia’. I fear the wurst....

Two conspiracy theorists walked in to a bar.... Or did they...?

We finished with two choices for 'Story Of The Week', this time both from BBC News.

A couple who were unwittingly photographed getting engaged at a beauty spot have been traced after their photo was shared 17,000 times. Charlene-Louise Johnstone took the photo while walking on Cleeve Hill near Cheltenham on Saturday. She then appealed for help in tracking them. The newly-engaged couple were visiting the Cotswolds from London but said they wished to remain anonymous. They added the weekend would be "one we will never forget." Charlene-Louise said it did not feel right to approach them and intrude at the time, but later posted the photo on Facebook and made an appeal to track down the couple to share it with them. She confirmed that they had contacted her on Monday and were "over the moon" with her picture and all the warm messages they had received.

A man who found a 190 million year old ichthyosaur fossil on a Somerset beach hopes it can be named after his dogs, if it is confirmed as a new species. Jon Gopsill was on Stolford beach just before Christmas when his spaniels Poppy and Sam led him to the fossil. The extinct marine reptile fossil was extracted on 27 December and is due to go on display in Somerset. Mr Gopsill said: "I had goosebumps when I saw it, I walked away and walked back and kept shaking my head in disbelief. If it is a new species I hope to name it Poppyisamosaur, although I'm not sure that's allowed as an official name. But mostly I can't believe I found it. I've been looking all my life so it was a dream come true."

Our final song was 'Bridge Over Troubled Water', which was released on 20 January 1970, so is fifty years old this week. Here is a link to a clip of Paul Simon talking to Michael Parkinson about the song. He said how Garfunkel wasn’t impressed by it, but sang it to standing ovations, anyway. “This is how partnerships break up,” said Paul Simon. https://twitter.com/carlquintanilla/status/1219368951647477761?s=20

Here is a link to the song, with lyrics - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9-fdHqBJ98