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

Last week's 'Cariad Dementia Cafe' short CST session focused on the following stories. It was accompanied by the 'Musicals Picture Quiz' - https://www.simondementia.co.uk/post/musicals-picture-quiz

We started with the sad news that Nicholas Parsons had died this week, aged 96. We remembered his hit TV quiz show 'Sale Of The Century', which came "Live, from Norwich" from 1971-1983. Mr Parsons also hosted Radio 4's 'Just A Minute' comedy show from 1967-2019. Many members had watched and listened to both shows.

Our next story was the sad news of the death of Paul Farnes, the last surviving Battle of Britain ace pilot from World War Two, who had died aged 101. Paul Farnes was among the 3,000 airmen, “The Few”, to whom the many should remain forever grateful.

Sir David Jason celebrated his 80th birthday this week. Johnny Vegas presented 'A Lovely Jubbly Celebration' of his contribution to British television. Link here (it's half an hour long, so instead we watched a couple of YouTube clips from classic moments from 'Only Fools And Horses' - see below) - https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000f2cf

- Chandelier sketch - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFuYIi5-igc

- Bar sketch - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63rcdLeXiU8

- Auction sketch - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiIIkQO95z4

Next, we remembered Gene Kelly, who died on 2nd February 1996, aged 84. We discussed his most famous 1952 movie, 'Singing In The Rain', in which he co-starred with Debbie Reynolds and Don O'Connor.

This led to our first sing along, YouTube link to 'Singing In The Rain' here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1ZYhVpdXbQ

Next, it was time for some jokes ... (@DadJokeMan)

My mate Dave likes to wear an abacus on his head. He’s a bit odd but a good friend and very reliable. You can always count on him...

The man who makes the giant eclairs at our local patisserie is retiring next week. There will be some big chouxs to fill when he goes...

My plane was delayed because the pilot said there was too much weight in the hold. I suggested putting some French snails on board so there was l’escargot...

Confuse Geordie physiotherapists by telling them you've got knee complaints...

At a recent job interview I was asked if I could perform under pressure. I said I didn't know that one but would ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ do ?

Just had my car waxed. No idea how it gets so hairy...

Once I hit my 40s I bought a red sports car and started hanging around maternity wards offering to help deliver babies. I was having a midwife crisis...

I wouldn't say my mate was thick but he thought that Reuters were novelists from Birmingham...

My friend got badly hurt making butter on his farm... It was a really unfortunate churn of events.

Took my car in for a service yesterday... The vicar at the church was not impressed...

Our 'Story Of The Week' came from @ThePoke. Charlie Kristensen appeared on 'BBC Breakfast' this week, as part of an anti-bullying campaign. Charlie had been bullied for liking musical theatre and #CheerUpCharlie had seen thousands of messages of support, from other children, parents, teachers and celebrities. During his television interview, Charlie was contacted by Michael Ball, who told him to "Stay cool and stay musical." His face was a picture. The video is in the article linked below.


Wales were to play Ireland in the 'Guinness Six Nations Rugby Union Championship' this weekend, so our next song was Molly Malone. We had a fantastic singalong to the Dubliners track with lyrics, linked here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9Deeh9n-VI

Then we discussed our love of Ireland and Irish people, also we named as many shellfish as we could!

In other news ...

People reported an escaped leopard this week, found dead on a road near Chester Zoo. It was actually a leopard patterned dressing gown!

The silk vest worn by King Charles I when he was beheaded, in 1649, is going to be put on public view for the first time in a decade. No body (puntastic) really fancied rushing to see it.

It was finally 'Brexit Day' on Friday 31st January 2020. However, it will take a year to sort trade deals and future relationship arrangements out. Most of us were just pleased it had happened and we would hear less about it from now on. But @RobinFlavell asked ...

“Hello Prime Minister. It’s the NHS. We’ll have that first cheque for £350m now please!”

In 'whacky weather' news, @ErikSolheim posted from Oslo...

"January 2020. Climate change. Not one day below 0 C. Not one snowflake the entire month. No-one can remember a January in Oslo like this. It's the first time ever."

With the news that Bill Roache a.k.a Ken Barlow is set to leave 'Coronation Street', we found this old picture of some of the female characters and tried to name as many of them as we could.

We thought - Bet Lynch, Betty Driver, Emily Bishop, Annie Walker, Deidre Barlow, Vera Duckworth, Mavis Wilton & Rita Sullivan.

It was 'Golden Retriever Day' on 3rd February. Here is a picture painted with the 'Veraxen Oil Painting' app. I've previously noted the benefits of painting on your iPad and recommended a couple of apps that produce what I feel are the best pictures.

Another great news story came from @BBCNews this week. Matt Raw and his wife Ying were returned to the UK into quarantine from China this week, as part of the measures to control the spread of Coronavirus. On Ying's birthday, his Wirral Council boss, David Armstrong, picked up her new birthday ring from a jewellers in Cheshire and took it, with a cake and bottle of champagne he brought them, to Wirral's Arrowe Park Hospital, some 39 miles away. We all agreed this was above and beyond the call of duty and deserved a special mention.

We finished with a couple more jokes ...

I took my 8-year-old to the office on Take Your Child to Work Day. As we were walking around, she starting crying & getting very cranky, so I asked her what was wrong. As my coworkers gathered round, she sobbed, 'Daddy, where are all the clowns that you said you worked with?' (@guyrleech)

I have a phobia of people with missing digits on their feet. I'm lack toes intolerant. (@connorjbyrne)

And our final song, in celebration that scientists have found starting the day with Beach Boys music instead of an alarm clock leads to good vibrations - http://goo.gl/alerts/X15H3

YouTube link to 'Good Vibrations' here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0yoiBYbT2I

We also noted that Sunday was a Palendrome date, namely it can be read the same backwards or forwards - 11 02 2011