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.


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Mothering Sunday - 31st March

March 31, 2019




“But there's a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall. How a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother's story, because hers is where yours begin.” 
― Mitch Albom, For One More Day




Our main theme for this week's Cognitive Stimulation Therapy session was 'Mothers Day', which was on Sunday 31st March.

We asked members who had mothers or mothers-in-law who were still living and which female members were mothers and/or grandmothers. (As I've mentioned previously, it's important to know a little about your members' lives in order to avoid provoking distressing memories and to have co-facilitators in case someone does become upset and is in need of one-to-one support. Also, people need to feel able not to participate in any given discussion. Bear in mind recent bereavements!)



Scott Walker from the 1960s pop group 'The Walker Brothers' had died this week, age 76. Their hits included 'The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine', 'Make It Easy On Yourself' and 'No Regrets'. We played a few short clips by way of members paying homage.

Britain's Favourite Crisps were nominated this week by Channel 5 (see photo below). We asked members if they agreed with the ratings and if any of their favourites were missing. (We had a few varieties on stand by to taste!)

We reminded ourselves that the clocks "spring forward" on Saturday-Sunday night (March 31st), marking the start of British Summer Time. We discussed EU plans to end changing clocks for daylight saving and have a standard EU time zone (or Standard member state time zone). We also reminisced about the time between October 1968 - October 1971 when the Wilson government decided to keep the clocks at GMT+1hr, meaning they remained at BST and did not 'Fall back' or 'Spring forward'. This made winter mornings much darker and children were kitted out with high vis arm bands. The experiment was initially thought to save many lives lost through road traffic accidents, but the change coincided with new drink driving laws and this was later felt to be the bigger contributing factor.

We discussed the news that a British Airways flight had mistakenly flown from London City Airport to Edinburgh instead of Dusseldorf due to "paperwork errors". Apparently nobody realised they hadn't yet flown over the North Sea until the "Welcome to Edinburgh!" announcement was made. We asked if any members had any other 'wrong journey stories' to tell.

Finally, there was news this week that the EU are going to pass new laws to limit speed on new cars to national speed limits, i.e. cars in the UK will be limited to 70 mph and no faster. We asked what members thought about this? (Note that some members may be angry or upset at having their licences recently revoked. If this is the case, maybe hold off this discussion point.)


Next we completed the following phrases about mothers and grandmothers.
(Clues in brackets)

Mothering - SUNDAY (Mother's Day)
A face only a mother could - LOVE (A not very good looking child?)
Mummy's - BOY (A boy over dependent on his mother)
Mother - HEN (A mother who rules the roost)
Learn something at your mother’s - KNEE (Mum's have a lot to teach us!)
Be tied to (one’s) mother’s apron - STRINGS (A mother who doesn't easily let their child grow up)

Empty nest - SYNDROME (When the children have moved away from home)
Expectant - MOTHER (A pregnant mother to be)
Experience is the mother of - WISDOM (Life is full of valuable lessons)
Necessity is the mother of all - INVENTION (We develop things we need, eventually!)
Failure is the mother of - SUCCESS (Keep on trying)
Mother - NATURE (Nature)
Mother - TONGUE (First language)
Keep - MUM (Keep quiet)
Mum's the - WORD (Keep a secret)
Shall I be - MOTHER? (People often say this when they pour a cup of tea for family or friends)
Like mother, like - DAUGHTER (We are often more like our parents than we realise)
A mother has eyes in the back of her - HEAD (She has to watch over the children!)
Don't teach your grandmother to suck - EGGS (She is older and wiser)



Next ask members to identify these images and ask the associated questions. (Click on above image for link & print off pictures for the tables)

Mrs Brown's Boys - Who plays the part of Mrs Brown?

The Partridge Family - Who played the mother and older son?

Who starred as the mother in the 1970's British sitcom 'Butterflies'?
WENDY CRAIG (Nicholas Lyndhurst went on to star in the hit TV sitcom 'Only Fools And Horses')

Who starred as the mother in the TV sitcom 'Bread'?
JEAN BOHT (The family was the Boswells)

Aside from 'Butterflies' and 'Bread', what was Carla Lane's other hit TV sitcom set in Liverpool?
'THE LIVER BIRDS' (Starring Nerys Hughes & Polly James)

Who was the Matriarch in the Queen Vic in the soap 'Eastenders'?
PEGGY MITCHELL, played by Barbara Windsor (Her sons were Phil & Grant)

Who was the mother of the late actress Carrie Fisher?
DEBBIE REYNOLDS (Her most famous film was 'Singing In The Rain', 1952) 

Who was the Mother of Liza Minelli?
JUDY GARLAND (Her most famous film was 'The Wizard Of Oz', 1939)

Who played Betty, the long-suffering wife of Frank Spencer in 'Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em'?
MICHELLE DOTRICE (Michael Crawford played Frank)

Who was the mother in the comedy horror TV series, 'The Addams Family'?
MORTICIA (Other characters were Gomez, Lurch, Uncle Fester, Cousin It, Wednesday, Pugsley & Thing)

Who was the matriarch in the TV drama series 'Dallas'?
MISS ELLIE EWING (Mother to J.R., Bobby & Gary. Married to Jock)


'Little House On The Prairie'. Who wrote this 1932-43 published series of novels?


What are Sharon Osbourne's (& Ozzy) celebrity children called?
JACK & KELLY (Ozzy Ozbourne was lead vocalist for 'Black Sabbath')

What are Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice) and David's children called?
BROOKLYN, ROMEO, CRUZ & HARPER (David Beckham played for Manchester United)

Which member of the Royal Family gave birth to two boys, William and Harry?
PRINCESS DIANA (Lady Diana Spencer was her maiden name)

Which Royal gave birth to three children including the third in line to the throne named George, Charlotte & Louis?
KATE - DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE (WILLIAM'S WIFE) (Kate's maiden name was Middleton)

Which Royal is expecting her first child in May 2019?
MEGHAN (MARKLE) (With Prince Harry, of course)

What was The Queen Mother's proper name?
ELIZABETH BOWES-LYON (1952-2002) (Her husband George came to power when his brother Edward abdicated the throne in 1936 due to his love for the divorcee Mrs Simpson)

Where did Mother Teresa set up her 'Mission Of Charity'?

Which famous Scottish sportsperson is Judy Murray mother of?

Angelina Jolie, famous actor in the 'Lara Croft' movies, also performs which role for the United Nations?

The Radford family, who live in Morecombe Lancs, have 21 children. Sue is aged 47. Her eldest child is 30 (she had him when she was 14).
She and her husband run a baking (pie) company and live on £50k earnings a year. You could say there is always a bun in the oven.

Ask the group for comments...




We continued the session with a brief quiz about Mothers and Mums, using the following questions to prompt discussion.

What is the Welsh for Mother?
MAM OR FAM (Mamau/Famau)

What drink is 'Mother's Ruin'?

What load of bread was named after Mum?

What film featured the phrase 'Mama always said life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get!'

In which film is there a computer named 'Mother'?
ALIEN (Sigourney Weaver starred in this 1979 sci fi movie)

How does the nursery rhyme 'Old Mother Hubbard' go?

Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard,
To give the poor dog a bone;
But when she came there
The cupboard was bare,
And so the poor dog had none.


What is Mother Goose famous for?

What is the other name for 'Mother Of Pearl' and where would you find it?
NACRE. You would find it on the inner lining of some molluscs, including Pearl Oysters

Which pop group had a hit with 'Ma Baker' in 1977?

Which hit Queen song has the words, "Mama just killed a man, put a gun against his head, pulled the trigger now he's dead"?

Which hit Beatles song has the words, "Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom"?

Who was the Mother Of Christ?

Can anyone remember the words of the prayer 'Hail Mary'? (We have several members of the Catholic faith in our group.)


Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.


Which flower signifies Mother's Day?

What was the name of the mother and father in 'The Royale Family'?
BARBARA & JIM (Played by Sue Townsend & Ricky Tomlinson of 'Brookside' fame)

Which almond cake is traditionally made for Mothering Sunday?

Which fictional mother was so bad at coping with her brood that "she gave them some broth without any bread, she whipped them all soundly and put them to bed"?

Which children's fairy tale has the main character saying, 'My Grandma, what big teeth you have!'

Whenever TV character Reginald Perrin thought of his mother-in-law, what vision came to mind?

Who is the mother with tall blue hair in 'The Simpsons'?
MARGE (Married to Homer. Children - Bart, Lisa & Maggie)

What is the name of the 1987 comedy film starring Billy Crystal and Danny DeVito based on the Hitchcock thriller 'Strangers On A Train'?

In which film biopic was actress Joan Crawford begged 'No more wire hangers!'

In which Hitchcock thriller did the murderer say "Mother's not quite herself today"?

Which horror film monster wrapped in bandages came from Egypt?
THE MUMMY (Boris Karloff starred in the original 1932 version)


In the TV comedy series 'It Ain't Half Hot Mum', what word was shouted at the end of the closing titles by Windsor Davies?


Which pasta sauce is "Just like your Mamma used to make a!"

Which Disney character had a Fairy Godmother?

We finished this part of the session by asking who comes from a large family and who is an only child. We discussed the pros and cons of each.



We then moved on to our themed Music Quiz session.
Link to Spotify Playlist here:

We Are Family - Sister Sledge
What is the surname of the British Royal Family?
WINDSOR (Technically it is Mountbatten-Windsor.)

Knees Up Mother Brown - Mrs Mills
This song dates back to at least 1918 and was widely sung in London on Armistice Night at the end of the First World War. What date is Armistice Day remembered on?
NOVEMBER 11TH (Remembrance Sunday)

Mamma Mia - Abba
Who played the mother in the film 'Mamma Mia'?

The Waltons - TV Theme
Who were the children that said 'Good Night' to each other at the end of each show?

Teach Your Children - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
What were the Christian names of this group?

Let It Be - The Beatles
The master tape of this song was recorded on 31st January 1969. Does anyone know which other Beatles hit was recorded on the same day?
THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD (Perhaps members could be asked to sing this song?)

Mama - The Spice Girls
Name The Spice Girls?
SPORTY, POSH, GINGER, SCARY & BABY (Melanie Chisholm, Victoria Beckham, Geri Halliwell, Melanie Brown & Emma Bunton)

Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
How many weeks was this song top of the UK Singles Chart?
9 WEEKS, SELLING A MILLION COPIES BY JANUARY 1976 (It was Number 1 again for 5 weeks in 1991 after Freddie Mercury died.)

There's No One Quite Like Grandma - St Winnifred's School Choir
What is the Welsh translation of Grandmother?

Home On The Range - Cowboy Song
What comedy cowboy film famously has a group of cowboys sat around a campfire, farting?

Our House - Madness
Who is the lead singer of Madness?
SUGGS (Graham McPherson)

Isn't She Lovely - Stevie Wonder
Which album did this song come from?

Monday, Monday - The Mamas & The Papas
When is Father's Day?

Ma, He's Making Eyes At Me - Lena Zavaroni
In what year did Lena Zavaroni win 'Opportunity Knocks' with this song?

Welcome Home - Peters & Lee
What is the Welsh word for welcome that can be seen when you enter Wales from the Severn Bridge?

Family Of Man - The Spinners
Listen carefully, where are the singers' sister and brother?


He's Got The Whole World In His Hands - The Bachelors

Name the six continents in the world?


(Note that all start and end with the same vowel)

Green, Green Grass Of Home - Tom Jones
Time for a singalong. Go around the room and ask members where they were born and grew up?

The Wonder Of You - Elvis Presley
Crack open a couple of bottles of bubbly and have a 'Cheers' with the group, toasting mothers in the room and everyone's mothers, without whom we would not be here.


Make origami roses with the group.





Or make a floral arrangement using a bunch of flowers and oasis. Perhaps then award this as a prize for best origami rose, or anything else you wish!




















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