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

Dementia Cafe

Our 'Cariad Dementia Cafe' session last week featured the following components.

We started with the sad news that Kirk Douglas, Hollywood legend had died aged 103. We remembered some of his best movies:

- 'Spartacus', 1960

- 'Lust For Life', 1956

- 'Paths Of Glory', 1957

- 'Gunfight At The OK Corral', 1957

- 'Champion', 1949

- 'The Vikings', 1958

- '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea', 1954

- The Heroes Of Telemark', 1965

As his son Michael said, the square-jawed star of 'Paths of Glory' and 'Lust For Life' leaves a legacy ‘that will endure for generations’.

Bob Marley would have celebrated his 75th birthday on 6th February, had he lived beyond the age of 36 when he died in 1981. We remembered his seven Top 10 UK hit singles:

- 'Jamming', 1977

- 'Is This Love', 1978

- 'Could You Be Loved', 1980

- 'No Woman No Cry', 1981

- 'Buffalo Soldier', 1983

- 'One Love', 1984

- 'Iron Lion Zion', 1992

This led us to our first sing along, 'One Love' - YouTube video link here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdB-8eLEW8g

We remembered Bob Marley was a Rastafarian and that their main beliefs are that Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia was the Messiah and that black people are the chosen people and will eventually return to their African homeland. Rastafarians have distinctive codes of behaviour and dress, including the wearing of dreadlocks and the smoking of cannabis, and they follow a diet that excludes pork, shellfish, and milk.

Natassja Morgan @TashyMorgan gave us our 'Story Of The Week'. She wrote as follows: "Couldn’t be prouder of my dad. At the Wales vs Italy match he had a spare ticket and met a homeless man on the street who he gave the ticket to ... Made this man's year and he said it was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for him! The smile says it all!

It was then time for some @DadJokeMan jokes ...

I recently got rid of all my Dusty Springfield records and memorabilia, but now I just don't know what to do with my shelf...

When I was baptised, the vicar wore a fake moustache, nose and glasses. It was a blessing in disguise.

I have some racing geese for sale, let me know if you want a quick gander...

The neighbours dogs woke me up last night barking loudly. So I threw my shoes out of the window at them and that shut them up... It was a pair of hush puppies...

I was once cast for the leading role in the silent version of ‘Oliver Twist’. It was brilliant, I couldn’t ask for more...

Accidentally used the dog shampoo this morning, feeling like a good boy today!

Worst job I ever got as a cabbie - had to go into a really busy pub and say, “Taxi for Spartacus?”

A rare 109-year-old football shirt which almost ended up at a jumble sale is to be auctioned.

The England jersey was worn in a British Home Championship game against Wales at The Den, London, in 1911. However, mystery still surrounds which player wore the shirt, which was handed to Wales international Ted Vizard after the game and left in a drawer for nearly 50 years. "It's a great historical find and very rare," said Hansons Auctioneers. Vizard, from Cogan, Vale of Glamorgan, played 22 times for Wales and won the FA Cup three times with Bolton Wanderers, before retiring with his wife to the Tettenhall area of Wolverhampton. During a clear-out in the early 1970s, the couple gave the jersey to their cleaner as a gift for her two sons, while many other items went to a local jumble sale. It was then largely forgotten, until the owner died two years ago. The shirt is expected to reach between £800 and £1,200 as part of a sports memorabilia auction on 18 February.

John Rolfe had no expectations of finding anything valuable when he arrived at a ramshackle two-up, two-down rat infested damp cottage tucked away in a remote West Country valley. But as the auctioneer began to explore by the light of his mobile phone torch the glint of gold caught his eye. Rolfe began to turn out drawers and cupboards and found them full of valuable coins. “It was mind-blowing. I felt like a pirate in a grotto,” he said. “There was a coin here, a coin there. If I opened a drawer there were more coins.” He even found a coin among sugar cubes in a bowl. The coins were removed from the cottage near Stroud, in Gloucestershire. Most were commemorative and specimen coins in mint condition and sold for a total of £80,000 at Wotton Auction Rooms. The identity of the hoarder, who died some months ago, is not being disclosed on the request of his family, but it is understood he is is a former City of London worker who retired to his remote cottage, where he lived alone.

Russian astronaut Christina Koch has broken the record for the longest-ever single space flight by a woman. She spent 328 days on the International Space Station. We discussed who would spend some time on the ISS if they could, and who would run a mile.

Our next story was about a runaway train, which passed through a danger signal due to "an issue with the brake system and wet conditions", according to a report by the Department for Transport. The driver was unable to stop the train as it travelled at 10mph down a steep hill through Beddgelert station and a number of level crossings. Thankfully, no-one was hurt in the incident on the Welsh Highland Railway in Gwynedd on 16 April 2019.

This story led to our next song, 'The Runaway Train', by Michael Holliday (1956). Here's the YouTube link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNgpzF9N3_M

Next, it was some time for a couple of 'clever animal' videos.

Firstly, this beluga whale who returned a women’s iPhone after she dropped it into the water by accident in Hammerfest harbour, Norway. Click on link for video - https://twitter.com/gunsnrosesgirl3/status/1225514348900167681?s=20

Next, this dog trying his best to get his ball back. Click on link for video - https://twitter.com/BobAnimalz/status/1225764239035465728?s=20

It was then time for some more @DadJokeMan jokes ...

I met a transvestite from Greater Manchester yesterday. He had a Wigan address...

My dad’s sister works in a Paris bakery and hates it. She’s a cross aunt...

In the 1970’s, Sister Sledge used to drive around in British cars... Their favourites were the Austin Music and Cortina Trap.

My bank manager is a strange man, before he approves someone to borrow money he makes them sing a Roy Orbison song in his office... Nobody else, only the loanee...

I guessed orange, but it was chocolate; I guessed toffee, but it was peanut; I guessed strawberry, but it was coffee... I was wrong on so many Revels...

I used to date an air stewardess from Helsinki. I dropped her off at work one day and she just vanished into Finnair...

BREAKING : A man was admitted to hospital this morning with several plastic horses in his stomach. A hospital spokesperson has reported that he is now in a stable condition.. (@thisismenic70)

Then there were a couple of 'Storm Ciara' jokes ...

BREAKING NEWS! Storm Ciara has blown the roof off our local cheese factory... There's de brie everywhere.

Breaking: due to the strong winds, an Andrex toilet paper lorry has blown over on the M1.. A spokesperson said.. The driver is OK.. Just got some soft tissue damage.. (@thisismenic70)

Speaking of 'Storm Ciara', we discussed who had been affected by the Force 9 gales and if anyone had suffered any damage to their home. We commented on people who like to go storm chasing to take photographs like this one, at Porthcawl. (@BBCWalesNews)

And this one, taken at Barry Island (@barrydistrict)

We then looked at this story, about the British Airways Boeing 747-436, which reached speeds of 825 mph (1,327 km/h) as it rode a jet stream accelerated by Storm Ciara. The four hours and 56 minutes flight arrived at Heathrow Airport 80 minutes ahead of schedule on Sunday morning, beating a previous five hours 13 minutes record held by a Norwegian airline.

This led us to our next song, 'Leaving On A Jet Plane', by John Denver. A link to this song with lyrics is here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19ToC8pQrCY

Finally, with 'Valentine's Day' fast approaching, we looked at some funny cards, from @ThePoke - link here https://t.co/mzD5XXbkPs?amp=1

We finished with a couple of love songs ...

'I Will Always Love You', by Whitney Houston - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JWTaaS7LdU

And 'All You Need Is Love', by The Beatles - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_8_pbu_cNo