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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Peace, Perfect Peace

August 30, 2019


"Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone's face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come."
Henri Nouwen

"Peace begins with a smile."
Mother Theresa




The theme for this week's CST activities was 'Peace, Perfect Peace'. This was because it was 'National Relaxation Day' on 15th August and will be 'International Day Of Peace' on 21st September. 


The 'International Day of Peace' is observed around the world on 21st September every year. The UN General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.

The theme of this year’s commemoration is “Climate Action for Peace”. The theme draws attention to the importance of combatting climate change as a way to protect and promote peace throughout the world. Climate change causes clear threats to international peace and security.




It was the hottest August Bank Holiday on record this week, with temperatures reaching 33.5c at Heathrow.


Meanwhile fires across the Amazon rainforest reached the attention of the G7 Summit. The rainforest provides us with up to 20% of the oxygen we breathe, so it's loss whether due to accident or deliberate methods, to further extend farming on an industrial scale, is of major concern. 

In happier news, Ben Stokes won the Ashes for England in the cricket test match at Hedingley. His undefeated 135 runs was said to be one of the most thrilling wins ever.

It was the 80th anniversary of 'The Wizard Of Oz'. Dorothy's red shoes were sold last year for $6m.


In other auction news, Johnny's axe from 'The Shining' is up for sale with an estimated value of $48-73k and a stormtrooper helmet from 'Star Wars' is up for sale with a value of $120-180k.

Also on the theme of monetary value, metal detectorists in Somerset had found a hoard of Battle Of Hastings era coins (2,518 in number). The estimated worth of that find is £5m. We discussed who would benefit and remembered the phrase, "Finders keepers, losers weepers!"




It was 'National Relaxation Day' on 15th August. We asked members what do they find are the best ways to relax?

- listening to classical music

- reading a book
- a glass of wine
- a walk on the beach
- stroking their dog or cat

- a nice hot bath

- a cuddle (or cwtch) from a loved one

- a few quiet moments of reflection.

What about more formal or disciplined approaches?


- yoga

- tai chi

- massage

- meditation

- mindfulness

- playing an instrument

- knitting

- painting

- swimming

- prayer.

Next, we asked members to list some 'Signs Of Peace' ...


- handshake

- hug

- smile

- kiss on the cheek (or two)

- bow

- curtsy

- reverse 'v' fingers

- dove

- olive branch

- white flag.






It is 'International Day Of Peace' on 21st September. We thought of some organisations concerned with and about Peace ... then asked some questions about each.

UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organisation tasked to promote international co-operation and to create and maintain international order. A replacement for the ineffective League of Nations, the UN was established on 24 October 1945 after World War II with the aim of preventing another such conflict. At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193. The headquarters of the UN is in Manhattan, New York City.


What colour helmets do their peacekeepers wear? - BLUE

COMMONWEALTH - There were 8 countries when the Queen was enthroned on 2nd June 1953 (* see note below). Queen Elizabeth toured much of the Commonwealth in the Royal Yacht Britannia, which is sadly now an exhibition berthed in Edinburgh.


How many countries are in the Commonwealth now? - 53

INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS - Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the Red Cross helps people in crisis, from natural disasters to vulnerable people in home countries.


When there is an tsunami, earthquake or hurricane etc, causing loss of life and severe destruction, what is the appeal that the International Red Cross launches called? - DISASTER EMERGENCY COMMITTEE (DEC) APPEAL 

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL - Fighting to end human rights abuses, especially for people imprisoned for their beliefs or lifestyle. Also campaigning internationally for an end to the death penalty.


What colour is their flag and what is the symbol on their flag? - YELLOW, BARBED WIRE WRAPPED AROUND A CANDLE

GREENPEACE - Fighting to protect the earth and for a peaceful future. Campaigns have included 'Save The Whales'and 'Climate Change'.


What was the name of their famous ship, which was sunk following a terrorist attack in July 1985? - RAINBOW WARRIOR

CND - Concerned with 'Banning The Bomb' and preventing nuclear war through peaceful protest. (Note the Greenham Common protests in the 1970s.)


Ask members if they can describe the CND symbol?

OLYMPIC GAMES - The modern Olympic Games are leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes from around the world participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games are considered the world's foremost sports competition with more than 200 nations participating.


What do the 5 circles on the Olympic flag represent? - THE 5 CONTINENTS - ASIA, AUSTRALIA, AFRICA, AMERICA & EUROPE

PARALYMPICS - The Paralympic Games is a major international multi-sport event involving athletes with a range of disabilities, including impaired muscle power (e.g. paraplegia and quadriplegia, muscular dystrophy, post-polio syndrome, spina bifida), impaired passive range of movement, limb deficiency (e.g. amputation or dysmelia), visual impairment and intellectual impairment.


Which Paralympian, now in jail, was known as 'The Bladerunner'? - OSCAR PISTORIUS

INVICTUS GAMES - The Invictus Games is an international adaptive multi-sport event, created by Prince Harry, in which wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and their associated veterans take part in sports, including wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, and indoor rowing.


What does the word 'Invictus' mean? - UNDEFEATED OR UNCONQUERABLE

FLOWER POWER & HIPPIES - Flower power was a slogan used during the late 1960s and early 1970s as a symbol of passive resistance and non-violence ideology. It was rooted in the opposition movement to the Vietnam War. Hippies embraced the symbolism by dressing in clothing with embroidered flowers and vibrant colours, wearing flowers in their hair, and distributing flowers to the public, becoming known as flower children.


What was said top be the 'spiritual home' or birthplace of the Hippie movement? - HAIGHT ASHBURY DISTRICT, SAN FRANSISCO

(* The original eight Commonwealth countries were The United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Ceylon, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa. Ireland and Newfoundland.)




We next completed the following idioms about peace ...

Peace perfect - PEACE

Make love not - WAR

A peace - OFFERING

Anything for a quiet - LIFE

As quiet as a - MOUSE

At peace with - THE WORLD

Bang out of - ORDER

Breach of the - PEACE

Calm before the - STORM

Cool, calm and - COLLECTED

Domestic - BLISS

Flower - POWER

Give peace a - CHANCE

Hold your - TONGUE

Keep calm and - CARRY ON

Knock your heads - TOGETHER

Justice of the - PEACE

Leave someone - IN PEACE

Make love not - WAR

Make one's peace with - SOMEONE OR SOMETHING

No rest for the - WICKED

Peace and - QUIET

Peace in our - TIME

Peace of - MIND

Piece of - CAKE

Piece of the - ACTION

Real piece of - WORK

Ship shape and in good - ORDER




Show members the faces of these men and women of peace. Ask them to discuss how these people have inspired us and generations of citizens of the world.


Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi (2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was an Indian activist who was the leader of the Indian independence movement against British rule. Employing nonviolent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world.

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was a British politician, army officer, and writer, who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. As Prime Minister, Churchill led Britain to victory in the Second World War.

Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement in America from 1954 until his death in 1968. Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize 1964.

Mother Teresa (26 August 1910 – 5 September 1997), known in the Roman Catholic Church as Saint Teresa of Calcutta, was born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu in Skopje, now in Macedonia. At age 18 she moved to Ireland and then to India, where she lived for most of her life. In 1950 Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation which had over 4,500 sisters and was active in 133 countries in 2012. The congregation manages homes for people dying of HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis; soup kitchens; dispensaries and mobile clinics; orphanages, and schools.

Nelson Mandela (18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013), was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country's first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. Prior to this he had been held captive for 27 years, mainly on Robben Island. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid by tackling institutionalised racism and fostering racial reconciliation. Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize 1993.


Malala Yousafzai - Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize 2014. Born 12 July 1997, Malala is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. She is known for human rights advocacy, especially the education of women and children in her native Swat Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, northwest Pakistan, where the local Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school. She was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012, but recovered well after surgery and is now a student in Oxford University.

Dalai Lama - The 14th and current Dalai Lama is Tenzin Gyatso. The Dalai Lama figure is important for many reasons. Since the time of the fifth Dalai Lama, his personage has always been a symbol of unification of the state of Tibet, where he has represented Buddhist values and traditions.

Pope Francis, born 17 December 1936 in Buenos Aries, is the 266th and current Pope and sovereign of the Vatican City State. Francis is the first Jesuit pope, the first from the Americas, the first from the Southern Hemisphere, and the first pope from outside Europe since the Syrian Gregory III, who reigned in the 8th century. Throughout his public life, Pope Francis has been noted for his humility, emphasis on God's mercy, concern for the poor and commitment to interfaith dialogue.

Barack Hussein Obama, born August 4 1961, is an American politician who served as the 44th President of the United States from January 20, 2009, to January 20, 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, he was the first African American to be elected to the presidency and previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.


Oskar Schindler, born 23 April 1908 died 9 October 1974, was a German industrialist and a member of the Nazi Party who is credited with saving the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust, by employing them in his enamelware and ammunitions factories in occupied Poland and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. The 1993 film 'Schindler's List' starred Liam Neeson as the war-time hero.


John Lennon MBE, born 9 October 1940 died 8 December 1980, was an English singer, songwriter and peace activist who gained worldwide fame as the rhythm guitarist for the Beatles. His songwriting partnership with Paul McCartney remains one of the most successful in history. In 1969, he started the Plastic Ono Band with his second wife, Yoko Ono. They famously had a 'Bed In For Peace' also in that year.



Greta Thunberg, born 3 January 2003, is a Swedish student who is credited with raising global awareness of the problems posed by climate change, and with holding politicians to account for their lack of action on what Thunberg calls the "climate crisis". She is included here as this year's 'International Day Of Peace' has 'Climate' as it's theme.


Jesus Of Nazareth. Perhaps the holiest of men who has ever lived and proclaimed the Son Of God by Christians across the world. His 'Sermon On The Mount' is possibly one of the most peace inspiring texts there has ever been.

The Beatitudes - Matthew 5: 3-10

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.



 A link to a Spotify Playlist including all of these songs is included here - https://open.spotify.com/user/1154769589/playlist/1g0Y9KjWrjgJ575m7cbjb1?si=Oe7tG5jLQK2M6aKyDbJzeQ

Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace - Hymn
Which Saint is this a prayer to? - ST FRANCIS OF ASSISSI
He is the Patron Saint of what? - ANIMALS


Discuss with members how Sundays have changed since we were children ...Everyone went to Church

Sunday School for the children

Shops were closed

Sunday lunch was a big family meal

Very little traffic on the roads

Early closing for pubs

(Sunday Trading Laws are 25 years old!)

I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing - The New Seekers
What did this song advertise? - COCA COLA

How many calories are in a can? - 140

Imagine - John Lennon
How long did John Lennon and Yoko Ono's 'Bed In' last in 1969, as a protest against the Vietnam War?

Blowin' In The Wind - Bob Dylan
Ask members to name some different types of wind?

What name is given to the scale which categorises the strength of gales in the UK? - BEAUFORT SCALE

Turn Turn Turn - The Byrds
Which book of The Bible do the lyrics of this song come from?
What Bible story saw a dove carrying a sprig of olive to signal the end of the flood? - NOAH'S ARK

Give Peace A Chance - John Lennon
When was John Lennon killed and who was his assassin?
John Lennon was shot dead on MONDAY 8TH DECEMBER 1980 outside his apartment at The Dakota Building, New York.

He was assassinated by MARK DAVID CHAPMAN

Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth) - George Harrison
Which instrument did George Harrison play in The Beatles?

Which other major hit about the weather did he have in 1969? - HERE COMES THE SUN

One Love - Bob Marley
What religion was Bob Marley? - RASTAFARIAN
(Rastafarains believe 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. They 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.)

Pipes Of Peace - Paul McCartney
In which culture would people smokes 'Pipes Of Peace'?

Which game of football does the video for this song illustrate? - THAT WHICH WAS HELD BETWEEN BRITISH AND GERMAN SOLDIERS IN NO MAN'S LAND ON CHRISTMAS DAY 1914

Peaceful Easy Feeling - The Eagles
With which 'Hotel' did The Eagles have their biggest hit?

Which eagle is the symbol of America? BALD EAGLE

Woodstock - Crosby Stills Nash And Young
Who wrote this song? JONI MITCHELL

Which album did it feature on? LADIES OF THE CANYON

Harvest For The World - The Isley Brothers
When is 'Harvest Festival' celebrated in the UK?

In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning - Frank Sinatra
What was Frank Sinatra's nickname?
What are last light of the evening and first light of the morning called?

"Wiegenlied", Op. 49, No. 4, published in 1868 - Johannes Brahms
What does 'Wiegenlied' translate into?
LULLABY (listen to the music then answer)

Here are the words...

'Good evening, good night,
With roses covered,
With cloves adorned,
Slip under the covers.
Tomorrow morning, if God wills,
you will wake once again.

Good evening, good night.
By angels watched,
Who show you in your dream
the Christ-child's tree.
Sleep now blissfully and sweetly,
see the paradise in your dream.'

It's Oh So Quiet - Bjork
Where does Bjork come from? - ICELAND
Anyone fancy visiting Iceland and seeing the Northern Lights? Anyone been?

Across The Universe - The Beatles
You will hear the word 'Ohm' repeated through this song. Which religion includes the chant 'Ohm mani padme hum'?

The first word Om is a sacred syllable found in Indian religions. The word Mani means "jewel" or "bead", Padme is the "lotus flower" (the Buddhist sacred flower), and Hum represents the spirit of enlightenment.

Eclipse - Pink Floyd (Dark Side Of The Moon)
This song about everything in the universe being in balance finishes the music quiz.
Where would you find the 'Sea Of Tranquility'?


We Are The World - Michael Jackson

This song is added due to the 'Climate' theme of this year's 'International Day Of Peace'.

Can anyone recognise any of the singers' voices and name them? Here's a photo...


The 37 artists were Stevie Wonder, Cyndi Lauper, James Ingram, Bruce Springsteen, Harry Belafonte, Ray Charles, Lionel Richie, Huey Lewis, Dionne Warwick, Lindsey Buckingham, Quincy Jones, Diana Ross, Kenny Rogers, Steve Perry, Willie Nelson, The Pointer Sisters, Daryl Hall, Tina Tuner, John Oates, Bob Dylan, Bob Geldof, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Kenny Loggins, Dan Aykroyd, Smokey Robinson, Bette Midler, Kim Carnes, Al Jarreau, Jeffrey Osbourne, Sheila E & variosus members of the Jackson family. Phew!


Let It Be - The Beatles

The final song was a singalong.


Before entering into the next practical activity, thank members for their contribution and ask everyone to join their hands, bow their heads and say 'Namaste' to each other.

The meaning of 'Namaste', a Hindu blessing, is ...

My soul honours your soul
I honour the place in you where
The entire universe resides.
I honour the light, love, truth
Beauty and peace within you,
Because it is also within me.
In sharing these things
We are united, we are the same
We are one.

Then ask members to offer one another a sign of peace. A handshake or a hug.  




Make a dove mobile. Suggested by Tina Maciejewski. Thanks Tina x

Draw a dove template. Cut out dove shapes from card.
Have each member decorate a unique 'Dove Of Peace'. On the reverse side, have them write a message of peace.
Hang them from a mobile made of a couple of wire hangers and string.





We were very fortunate to have a therapist colleague undertake a short Tai Chi class with the group, before the music round. There are a few seated Tai Chi sessions on You Tube which could be used as a visual guide. Here is one example 













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