About Me

My name is Simon O’Donovan MBE. I’ve worked in NHS Wales for most of my adult life, supporting people with dementia, their carers and families and developing and improving services to benefit this client group. 

I recently retired from working as a Community Mental Health Nurse within a Young Onset Dementia Service. I continue to contribute to weekly CST 'Friendship Group' sessions as a volunteer co-facilitator.


I've been keeping a weekly 'Young Dementia CST Blog' to share and archive our 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. 


My colleagues and I have been using these approaches regularly in our day to day work and have found them beneficial. The materials provided have been tried and tested, then refined to improve and further develop them for future use.


The main aim of this website is to share our 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.


Follow my Twitter feed for updates   @sIMon_deMEntia
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2018 Simon O'Donovan. Proudly created with Wix.com  2019


July 6, 2018



"No society can legitimately call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical aid because of a lack of means."

"The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with faith to fight for it."

Nye Bevan, 1948

This week's CST session focused on the NHS 70th Anniversary celebrations.

First we orientated ourselves to day, date, month, year, place and the name of our group.

We then caught up on the week's news.

Bay City Roller bass player Alun Longmuir had sadly died, aged 70.
We remembered some of their hits, including 'Bye Bye Baby', 'Give A Little Love' and 'Shangalang'.

Peter Fermin also died this week, aged 89. The classic childrens' TV programmes he created with Oliver Postgate included 'Bagpuss', 'The Clangers' and 'Ivor The Engine'.

We noted that Wimbledon fortnight had started, but sadly without Andy Murray, who is recovering from surgery.

We looked at the top rated male and female tennis players of all time.


1. Roger Federer. Switzerland. Wimbledon Champion 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012 & 2017.
2. Pete Sampras. USA. Wimbledon Champion 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998 & 1999
3. Rod Laver. Australia. Wimbledon Champion 1961, 1962, 1968 & 1969
4. John McEnroe. USA. Wimbledon Champion 1981, 1983 & 1984 ("You cannot be serious!")
5. Rafael Nadal. Spain. Wimbledon Champion 2008 & 2010
6. Bjorn Borg. Sweden. Wimbledon Champion 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979 & 1980
7. Ken Rosewall. Australia. Wimbledon Finalist 1970 & 1974
8. Novak Djokovic. Serbia. Wimbledon Champion 2011, 2014 & 2015
9. Stefan Edberg. Sweden. Wimbledon Champion 1988 & 1990
10. Andre Agassi. USA. Wimbledon Champion 1992 (He married Steffi Graf.)

Jimmy Conners was 11, Ivan Lendl 13 and Boris Becker 16.
Andy Murray was 21. He won Wimbledon is 2013 & 2016.


1. Serena Williams. USA. Wimbledon Champion 2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015 & 2016
2. Steffi Graf. Germany. Wimbledon Champion 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995 & 1996
3. Martina Navratilova. USA/Czechoslovakia. Wimbledon Champion 1978, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987 & 1990
4. Chris Evert. USA. Wimbledon Champion 1974, 1976, 1981 (She married John Lloyd.)
5. Monica Seles. Yugoslavia, USA, Hungary. Wimbledon Finalist 1992 (She was stabbed in the back during a match in 1993, but made a full recovery and returned to play.)
6. Billie Jean King. USA. Wimbledon Champion 1966, 1967, 1968, 1972, 1973 & 1975
7. Martina Hingis. Switzerland. Slovakia. Wimbledon Champion 1997
8. Venus Williams. USA. Wimbledon Champion 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007 & 2008 (Sister to Serena.)
9. Margaret Court. Australia. Wimbledon Champion 1963, 1965 & 1970
10. Maria Sharapova. Russia. Wimbledon Champion 2004

Evonne Goolagong was 14, Virginia Wade was 52. She was Wimbledon Champion in 1977.

We discussed pay and earnings for top tennis professionals.
Novak Djokovic is the top earning male player, taking home $108m for 12 grand slam titles.
Serena Williams is the top earning female player, taking home $81m for 39 grand slam titles.

Female and male pay is now the same at Wimbledon, with equal prize money. Other championships still have a pay divide.
Members discussed the fairness of this. For the differential - the games and sets played by males outweigh those played by females. Against - the message that it sends out about gender equality and overall career effort.

Next we caught up with '2018 FIFA World Cup' news. England had beaten Columbia in a penalty shootout to make it through to the Quarter Finals.
Perhaps football is coming home!

We then got on to discussing our main theme, the NHS 70 years anniversary. 
Nye Bevan, MP for Tredegar, created the NHS in July 1948.
We looked at the celebrations that had taken place, including a portrait of Nye which had been created on a hillside in Tredegar.

The NHS is the biggest employer in the UK, with 1.5m staff members.
We asked members if they had any family or friends who worked in the NHS.
Several had and were very proud of their work.

We moved on to think about how the NHS had changed over recent years.
These were our thoughts:

- Increased life expectancy through new treatments
- Population growth and more demands on the NHS
- Increased specialism within the service
- Changes in uniform (one member remembered the starched hats that nurses were expected to wear, for no particular reason!)
- Societal changes and different disease and injury profiles - reduced smoking, working down the pits is no more and safer occupations generally, including more blue and white collar roles

- A, generally speaking, less fit population, with obesity on the increase.
- Advances in treatment and care, including new technologies for diagnosis and treatment
- Increased used of alcohol and drugs, leading to pressure on A&E departments
- Increased knife and gun crime, rarely seen previously
- Sadly, abuse of NHS staff (a fairly new phenomenon)
- Different status of NHS staff, improvements in pay, less vocational and more professional (Matrons were expected not to marry!)
- Some disappearing roles, e.g. Matron.




As usual, we had some questions to prompt memory, recall and discussion.
But first we went around the room and asked members to comment on what they most liked about the NHS.

What are the different blood types?

O-positive: 38 percent
O-negative: 7 percent
A-positive: 34 percent
A-negative: 6 percent
B-positive: 9 percent
B-negative: 2 percent
AB-positive: 3 percent
AB-negative: 1 percent.

Has anyone given blood recently?
Sweden has successfully implemented a scheme whereby blood donors are informed by text message if their blood has been used and for what purpose, which is a great motivation for people to become donors.

When was the UK’s first successful heart transplant operation? - 1979 (Papworth Hospital)

What is the largest bone in your body? - Femur

Point to your thyroid gland - Near Adam's apple

Point to your patella - Kneecap

Point to retina - Eye

Point to your 'funny bone' - Elbow

Point to your diaphragm - (muscle wall between thorax and abdomen)

Point to your tympanic membrane - Eardrum

What is the organ that produces insulin? - Pancreas

What is it impossible to keep open when sneezing? - Eyes

What are the five basic tastes? - (Sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami - pleasant savoury taste)

What are the five senses? - Taste, sight, touch, smell and sound

What are you if you are Hirsute? - Hairy

Name the fictional hospital in which the drama 'Casualty' is set? Holby City

In which US city is 'St Elsewhere' (St Eligius Hospital) set? Boston

Who played Matron in the 'Carry On' series? Hattie Jaques

Who starred in the 1965 film 'Doctor Zhivago'? Omar Sharif

Which 1982 film was about a cross dressing male played by Dustin Hoffman starring in a daytime soap as Hospital Administrator Beverley Kimberley? Tootsie

What was the sister in charge's name in 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest'? Nurse Ratchet

Who have starred as 'Doctor Who's' over the years? (and which is the best in your opinion)
William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith & Peter Capaldi

Who starred in the 1955 film 'Doctor At Sea'? Dirk Bogarde

What was the name of the long running Scottish TV drama about a country doctor (1961-1972)? 'Doctor Finlay's Casebook'

What TV drama series which ran between 1975 and 1983 was commonly referred to as 'The Z Cars Of Nursing'? 'Angels'

Who was the nurse who went to the Crimean War to nurse wounded soldiers? (She was born in 1820 - ten years before Britain had its first steam passenger railway.) Florence Nightingale

Which comedian used to be a mental health nurse?
Jo Brand

Which comedian retrained as a psychotherapist?
Pamela Stephenson

What children's game sort of replicates a surgeon removing body parts? Operation

Who is the current and longest serving Health Secretary? Jeremy Hunt

How much was on the side of the 'Brexit Bus', which promised money for the NHS? £350m a week

Complete the following proverbs or idioms about health:

As fit as a - FIDDLE
An apple a day - KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY
Alive and - KICKING
Picture of - HEALTH
Bitter pill to - SWALLOW
Black and - BLUE
Break out in a cold - SWEAT
Catch your death of - A COLD
Clean bill of - HEALTH
A dose of your own - MEDICINE
Go under the - KNIFE
Just what the doctor - ORDERED
On the - MEND
Prevention is better than - CURE
Rub salt in your - WOUNDS
Take a turn for - THE WORSE
As white as a - SHEET
As deaf as a - POST
As blind as a - BAT
Sick and - TIRED OF
Full of - BEANS
Two heads are better - THAN ONE
One foot in the - GRAVE
Pushing up -DAISIES.

Just for fun we then all tried doing the following difficult or nearly impossible things with our various body parts.

- Raise one eyebrow (like Mr. Spock in 'Star Trek')
- Make a 'V' between your first two fingers and second two fingers (again like Mr. Spock)
- Lick your elbow
- Twitch your nose (like Samantha in 'Bewitched')
- Wiggle your ears
- Touch the tip of your nose with your tongue
- Make a tube shape with your tongue
- Tickle yourself (doesn't work unless somebody else does it for you!)
- Try bending your middle finger and putting your hand on the table, with your middle finger touching your palm. Now try lifting your ring finger off the table. It's impossible!
- Try putting your fist in your mouth (not too hard)
- Try 'writing' the number 6 with your right forefinger whilst making clockwise circles with your leg. It's impossible!

Anyone got any tattoos, that they can show us?

Is anyone double-jointed?

Is anyone ambidextrous?


Does anyone go to a health related class or session?

Yoga, Aqua-aerobics, Zumba, Pilates etc




The playlist this week included some songs to move to, which required a degree of activity and strength. The aim being to improve fitness and well-being. Some members did movements sat down.




When You're In Love With A Beautiful Woman - Dr Hook
What was peculiar or special about the appearance of the vocalist Ray Sawyer in Doctor Hook?

Bad Case Of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor) - Robert Palmer
What is a doctor who specialises in mental health called? A PSYCHIATRIST
... heart care and treatment? CARDIOLOGIST
... cancer care and treatment? ONCOLOGIST
... stomach and bowel care and treatment? GASTROENTEROLOGIST
... skin care and treatment? DERMATOLOGIST

Ain't Got No - I Got Life - Nina Simone
Listen carefully. What is the only body organ that features in this song's lyrics?

The Clapping Song - Shirley Ellis
Can anyone click their fingers? Go around the room.

(Clap along with the song.)

Y.M.C.A. - Village People
What were the six occupations/costumes of the group?
(Get members to do the Y.M.C.A. arm movements)

Stayin' Alive - Bee Gees
What film is this song from? (John Travolta danced to it!)

A Spoonful Of Sugar - Julie Andrews
What film musical is this song from?

MASH - TV Theme
What do the letters M.A.S.H. stand for?

Casualty - TV Theme
Who is the longest running staff member in this show?

Somewhere, My Love - Andy Williams
What film was this song from?

Doctor Who - TV Theme
Who is the new and first female 'Doctor Who' actor?

Doctor Kildare - TV Theme
Who starred in the long running 1960s TV drama 'Doctor Kildare'?

Goodness Gracious Me - Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren
We simply tried to identify who were singing this song.

Gangman Style - Corean Style
Who danced to this song in 'Strictly Come Dancing'?

Dry Bones - The Delta Rhythm Boys
What are our bones collectively called?

The remaining songs were for movement and dance. We got members to stand where possible, or encouraged seated movement if balance or mobility were difficult.

Superman - Black Lace

Hokey Cokey - Black Lace

Do The Conga - Black Lace

Heads, Shoulders, Knees And Toes - Vicky Arlidge

I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor


We ended with an upbeat song to finish the music round.
Then we needed cold drinks and a quiet break in the garden, before heading back indoors for some relaxation.








Nurse - Doctor, doctor!  There's a man here who says he's turning invisible!
Doctor - Tell him I can't see him.


Patient - Doctor, doctor!  I keep thinking I'm a pair of curtains.
Doctor - Pull yourself together man!


Patient - Doctor, doctor!  I keep thinking I'm a dog.
Doctor - Take a seat.
Patient - I can't, I'm not allowed on the furniture.


Patient - Doctor, doctor!  I think I need glasses.
Man - You certainly do, this is a pet shop.


Patient  - Doctor, doctor! My son has swallowed my pen, what should I do?
Doctor - Use a pencil till I get there.


Patient - Doctor doctor! I think I am a worm!
Doctor - Well just wriggle onto the chair.


Patient - Doctor, doctor I’m addicted to brake fluid.
Doctor - Nonsense man, you can stop any 


Patient - Doctor doctor! I feel like a dog.
Doctor - How long have you felt like this?
Patient -  Since I was a puppy.


Patient - Doctor, doctor, I feel like a pack of cards.
Doctor - I'll deal with you later.


Patient - Doctor, doctor, I feel like a spoon.
Doctor - Sit still and don't stir.


Patient - Doctor, doctor, everyone keeps ignoring me.
Doctor - Next please!


Patient - Doctor, doctor, I feel like a bell.
Doctor - Take these pills, and if they don't help, give me a ring.


Patient - Doctor, doctor.  Every time I drink a cup of tea, I get a pain in my eye.
Doctor - Take the spoon out of the cup. 


Patient - Doctor, doctor, I can't get to sleep.
Doctor - Sit on the edge of the bed and you'll soon drop off.


Patient - Doctor, doctor, I feel like a parrot. Doctor, doctor I feel like a parrot.  Doctor, doctor I feel like a parrot…



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