Future goals

I just wanted to reassure followers and supporters that I have no intention of monetising my work. Over recent months I have been approached by a publishing company to collate my work into a printed volume and an app developer to catalogue my work behind a paywall. I have also been offered several advertising/sales opportunities to income generate.

I have thought long and hard about the future direction of the 'Simon CST Dementia Blog' and it is my intention to keep promoting it as a free resource, open access library of cognitive stimulation therapy activities pages, primarily aimed at young onset dementia but with wider relevance for older people with dementia and people with other conditions resulting in cognitive difficulty.

As well as helping to share best practice in CST approaches throughout a variety of care settings, continuing in this way also means that copyright restrictions are fewer, in terms of image reproduction, use of music playlists etc. The 'Fair Copyright' principle allows for use of such materials, as long as they are not used for profit making and they are used for educational purposes only, with disability groups. (That's my understanding of it in any case!)

My previously stated aim is to create 52 themed CST activities pages, one for every week of the year, which can be used on a rotational basis, linked to high days and holidays and other calendar events. As the years roll by and we use these activities pages in practice (I volunteer with the Cardiff and Vale young onset dementia service), I will update and improve them, based on what has worked best and new ideas.

There are two CST groups I am involved in which use the materials outlined in these pages - the Tuesday 'Cariad Dementia Cafe' and the Thursday 'CST Friendship Group'. The 'Friendship Group' uses the themed CST activities pages, whereas the 'Dementia Cafe' uses standalone quiz pages and a current news round up and linked music approach. Both have their value and work well, and with twice weekly blog updates there is a lot to choose from for fellow CST activities facilitators.

As I have always said, whilst the materials produced are essentially 'off the shelf' and can be used as pre-written, the idea is more for CST activities facilitators to amend and adapt materials to suit their own sessions. For example, simplifying and reducing content if a group is more cognitively impaired, or if there is a shorter time window to run the group. It is also always important to read through content ahead of time to make sure it is suitable for individual members, according to their lifetime experiences, for example loves and losses.

Our 'CST Friendship Group' acronym (draft) is:

F - fun / fulfillment R - reminiscence I - individual (recognition) E - enjoyment / engagement N - normalisation D - dignity S - socialisation / (multi) sensory H - happiness (laughter) I - inclusion P - participation C - cognitive S - stimulation T - therapy approaches G - genuine R - respect O - openness U - unity (equality) P - person-centredness

I hope you will consider that my work in these blog pages supports and upholds those important values and aims.

The 52 weeks CST activities pages catalogue looks something like this:

- 'Happy New Year' (1st January) - 'Money Makes The World Go Round' (1st January 21st anniversary of the Euro) - 'Scotland' (Burns Night. 25th January) - 'Far East' (Chinese New Year. 25th January) 'AUSTRALIA DAY' 28 JANUARY - PAGE TO BE DEVELOPED - Films 'The Oscars' (Oscars. 9th February) - 'Valentine’s Day' (14th February) - 'Wales - Cymru Am Byth' (St David’s Day. 1st March) - 'Women' (International Day Of Women. Friday 8th March) - 'Ireland' (St Patrick’s Day. Sunday 17th March) - 'Happiness' (International Day Of Happiness. Wednesday 20th March)

- 'True Colours' (International Day Of Colour. 21st March) - 'Mothering Sunday' (22nd March) - 'Sports' (International Day Of Sport For Development And Peace. 6th April) - 'Space' (International Day Of Human Space Flight. 12th April) - 'Spring' (20th March - 20th June) combined with Easter (Easter Sunday. 12th April) - 'England' (St George's Day. 23rd April) - 'Heroes And Superheroes' (National Superhero Day. 28th April) - 'Gardens' (National Gardening Week. 27th April - 5th May) - 'I'm In The Mood For Dancing' (International Dance Day. 29th April) 'EUROPE DAY' 9TH MAY - PAGE TO BE DEVELOPED - 'Birds' (World Migratory Birds Day. 11th May) - 'Numbers' (Numeracy Day. 13th May) - 'Eurovision Song Contest' (16th May) - 'Baking. Great British Bake Off' (World Baking Day. 17th May) 'GAY PRIDE' MONTH IS JUNE. PAGE TO BE DEVELOPED 'ROYALTY' - QUEENS OFFICIAL BIRTHDAY 8TH JUNE - PAGE TO BE DEVELOPED

- 'Father's Day' (21st June) - 'Summer Nights' (Summer Solstice. 21st June) - 'Communication. It's Good To Talk' (National Writing Day. 26th June) - 'America Pie' (Independence Day. 4th July) - 'Chocolate Box' (World Chocolate Day. 7th July) - 'France' (Bastille Day. 14th July) - 'Cats' (International Cat's Day. 8th August) - 'Fashion' (World Fashion Day. 21st August) - 'Dogs' (International Dog's Day. 26th August)

- 'Down On The Beach' (National Beach Day. 30th August) - 'Peace Perfect Peace' (International Day Of Peace (United Nations) 21st September) - 'Autumn' (Autumnal Equinox. 23rd September) - 'Travel' (World Tourism Day. 27th September) - 'Animal Magic' (World Animal Day 4th October) - 'Music Was My First Love' (National Album Day. 12th October) - India (National Curry Week. 7-13th October) - 'Food Glorious Food' (World Food Day. 16th October) - 'Italy' (World Pasta Day. 25th October) - 'Halloween' (31st October) - 'Bonfire Night' (5th November) - 'Remembrance Sunday' (10th November) - 'I Believe That Children Are Our Future' (Children In Need. 16th November) - 'Thanksgiving' (28th November) - 'Scotland' (St Andrews Day. 30th November) - 'Winter Wonderland' (Winter Solstice. 22nd December) - 'Christmas Cheer' (25th December) Others (to fill gaps):

- 'Summer Of Love' (Available)

- 'Watching The Detectives' (Available)

- 'NHS 70th Anniversary' (Available)

- 'Games And Game Shows' (Available)

- 'What's In A Name' (Available)


In addition, there are the standalone quiz activity pages, for example 'Moustaches', 'Hats', Guess The Adverts', 'Film Quotes' and so on. I'll keep adding these as ideas pop up and if any planned short CST session using these materials has gone well.

Obviously, these activities can be used off the shelf whenever you want to and don’t necessarily need to be tied to dates. There are no rules about where or when you use the materials, or how much or little of them you use in a session. They are very much for dipping in and out of, for using as a guide and letting the session flow and develop along with members’ participation and engagement.

As I’ve said before, enjoyment and inclusion are the most important aspects of CST work, in my opinion. The multi-sensory approaches in these sessions have just as important a place as the cognitive aspects. Avoid competition within the group and celebrate all contributions, no matter how great or small. Use reminiscence and music as much as possible, as long term memory and musical memory may be less impaired that short term memory and language. Make sure you facilitate the group as an equal, a friend, someone who cares about people’s well-being and sees them as an individual with a lifetime of experience and unique achievements.

A co-facilitator is also required, to ensure time for individual prompting and one to one support if any media used needs clarification or has triggered an unpleasant or distressing memory.

Before embarking on running a CST group, individual assessment is necessary. Use the ‘Getting To Know You Form’ attached to these pages as an example of how to obtain personal information and understanding of each person’s biography, likes and dislikes and strengths and needs.

I hope you like the way in which the ‘Simon CST Dementia Blog' is shaping up. Please keep sending in feedback, as it makes it all worth while and helps keep me going.

Good luck with your CST work!

Si O’Donovan

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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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