Thanks for all your support during 2020. It's been strange year, with COVID-19 and lockdown and all that went with it. We have all been affected in some way or another. Some of us have lost loved ones, others have become ill, many have become more isolated at home and services generally have become less accessible.
Given all this, on line supports such as our groups and this web site have become even more important in supporting people with cognitive impairment and dementia, and a valuable way of keeping in touch and feeling less alone.
Our previous face to face cognitive stimulation therapy support groups have by necessity moved on line and we now meet in our weekly 'CST Dementia Cafes' and 'CST Friendship Groups' via Zoom. We have added in a 'Thai Chi' weekly session to add to the range of supports available during this time and there is talk of an on line 'Carers Support Group' becoming available in the new year.
We have about twenty members in total attending our sessions, either supported by their friends and families or joining sessions alone (some have needed a little support with the IT).
As has previously been the case, our weekly 'CST Friendship Group' is more of a music and picture quiz theme based session. Our 'CST Dementia Cafe' tends to focus on the week's good news stories and associated songs. There is also a 'theme song' which members have selected, a reminiscence based story and a relaxation session towards the end of the session.
Our members really value connecting with each other in these ways and the three times a week groups have become an important part of all of our diaries, especially during times when stuck alone at home.
We have always wanted to share our materials with others - people with dementia, friends and families and co-workers across the UK, especially those who are trying to keep things going during these difficult times. To this end, our Blog maintains an important space on the internet and it remains free and open access to anyone interested in trying out our sessions, most of which have been used in practice and refined based on feedback.
Here is a quick run down of how our Blog has performed during the year. With 5,500 unique visitors and 8,275 visits, it seems our materials are indeed being regularly accessed and hopefully used to benefit people with dementia and their loved ones with readily available CST activities ideas and materials intended to support wellbeing. (A 445% increase in utilisation this year is very gratifying!)
Our top rated pages are listed below, but it should be noted there was a 'crash' and a loss of data sometime earlier in the year, so these figures may be somewhat misleading.
Our aims for 2021 are to keep going, with a focus on the weekly themed CST activities pages and building content to make available a free catalogue of materials for off the shelf use throughout the year when required by anyone and everyone.
The CST materials continue to focus more on engagement and enjoyment and less on cognitive performance. This is crucial when people feel they are losing their cognitive reserve. We aim to focus on better preserved long term memory and especially musical memory, which may be more readily available.
Above all else we aim to make our sessions fun and easy going. We adapt and adjust content according to what works well and how members have reacted, Whilst we call some of our sessions 'quizzes', in reality they are more about recall, reminiscence and positive feelings and less about facts and reality based here and now information. Take a look!
We all of us, members, supporters and facilitators, view ourselves as being as one in our mission to provide fun based CST activities based materials for wider use across the UK and beyond. Whilst our focus is younger onset dementia - we tend to include materials from the 70s, 80s and 90s, there hopefully will be something for everyone within the pages available here.
Why not free subscribe to be notified of new weekly content, at www.simondementia.co.uk
Or follow us on Twitter at @simon_dementia
Again, seasons greetings to you all and thank you for your continued support,
Blwyddyn newydd dda