This Contact Form provides the opportunity to share feedback about using these materials and to suggest others, for example activities session ideas, quizzes, photos etc etc.
Please use the form below to share ideas and I will moderate feedback and list items which appear helpful or interesting (noting that some feedback will be automated advertising or irrelevant/unhelpful).
As of 26th January 2021, there are 200 Twitter followers and 90 subscribers.
25th March 2019 - Dale Whetter - "Thank you so much for providing so many useful CST resources! I work as an assistant psychologist on an inpatient male dementia ward and we regularly use your information and adapt it to meet the needs of our gents. We love the multi sensory elements. Keep up the good work." 👏👏
31st October 2018 - Sue, Jersey - "My husband has vascular dementia and is now in full time care. I wanted to give the staff more detailed information about Pete to help them with the care and support that Pete needs. Your website was sent to me by friend who works with dementia patients here in Jersey where I live. Please could I ask if you could send me a blank Snapshot Assessment for me to complete for Pete."
24th October 2018 - Stephanie Browne, Later Life and Memory Services, Wigan - "Thanks for getting back to me and for sharing all of that information, it’s really helpful. I wasn’t at the conference unfortunately, but thank you for forwarding on the slides. It seems like you are running a great dementia service and your CST blog is really useful and an excellent resource!"
16th July 2018 - Susan Round - "Brilliant. Thanks so much for sharing." (West Midlands)
13th June 2018 - Tim Nicholls - "Such an excellent Blog and activity tool. Thanks for sharing." (Cardiff)
2nd January 2019 - Diane Saralis - "
Happy New Year! Simon I just started a young onset group before Christmas and will be holding the first one for 2019 tomorrow. Your email was very timely and full of great ideas and topics. So much so I now wonder how I will fit it all in! Just go with the flow I guess.
I just wanted you to know that all this information is extremely helpful and in time I will certainly be contributing to the blog! Kind regards Diane
It was great to hear from you and to welcome you as a subscriber. I really hope your new group goes well and would welcome any further feedback about the materials etc.
It’s worth noting our sessions spread across 4 hours. So are quite spaced. We tend to chunk things up.
We start with welcome, introductions and orientation. Then have a themed discussion. Then we have the music round, which is usually the best received. For this we just play one verse and a chorus of each song, unless members are responding well and having a singalong. Then we always have a practical activity session, which is arts and crafts based. We also tend to finish with a relaxation app or mindfulness few minutes.
By way of winding down. I guess our lessons are it’s important to be flexible. We aim to involve and include people as much as possible, regardless of memory or language problems. All contributions no matter how small matter and positive feedback is always well received. We try to focus on the multisensory just as much as the cognition. And make it all about enjoyment.
We always hope for members leaving the session feeling they’ve had fun and along the way had a workout for their brain. The other thing is not to feel weighed down by pressure of content and materials. Maybe print off the page and highlight the bits you aim to focus on in yellow highlighter. Space for discussion and recall and story telling are just as important. Also we always try to print off some colour images for the tables, have a few things on hand to taste and make the sessions a truly sociable occasion.
Very best of luck.
Many thanks for this. Can I ask what kind of venue do you hold the sessions in and what times? Also I'm kinda of going along with the CST framework and I will definitely be involving music into each session, but I'm not very sure about the theme song idea. Do you have any thoughts? Also you say your sessions are 4 hrs long. We again are going along with the CST framework and have put aside 14 one hour sessions. If the people who attend agree and want to carry on after the 14 weeks we will need to plan ahead.
Thanks for your time Diane x
We did try the theme song but it does get a bit tedious and it's hard to choose one song for everyone. Our sessions are held in a local day hospital, where we are given a lounge and adjacent kitchen and dining room. It's good to have tables for the practical activity session.
I should have said our sessions last 3 hours really (2-6pm each Thursday), as the last hour is a light supper and chat with family members also present.
We do run the Making A Difference 14 weeks CST programme (colleagues) as a closed group, then have a monthly CST maintenance session to support ongoing friendships etc.
Then for people who are a bit more advanced and in need of more support (and carer respite) we have our weekly Thursday Friendship Group, which is where our Blog comes from.
The music has definitely become a stronger focus for us. Hopefully we choose themed tracks which are held in long term memory and can be sung along with. For people with more profound memory and language deficits it's a really great feeling to have those songs rhythms and even lyrics still there. So rewarding and uplifting. We have one client in our group with advanced FTD with no remaining language. Yet she still mouths the words to the songs and cries and laughs as she does so. It's so moving to see such a response.
Anyways, hope all goes well. Best regards Simon
Diane Saralis - 7th January 2019
Hi Simon Just to let you know, we got some great feedback from the group session. We used quite a lot of the material you provided along side what we had already prepared.
The section about the New Year Honours list was particularly useful and when we asked "what would you say is your greatest achievement, what are you proud of" the whole session went in a different direction!
We had one lady who's husband is French and after struggling with the language for sometime, she surprised him by having secret tuition then inviting his friends around for dinner and speaking in French the whole evening.
Another gentlemen had completed the Three Peaks challenge and one lady said her proudest moment was having her baby twins.
Well you can imagine the conversation, YouTube clips and songs that came from this information! We had more than enough material for 1 hour and can make another session with the ideas created.
We ended the session by singing the Tina Turner track 'You're Simply The Best', which seemed appropriate.
Thanks again Simon much appreciated.
Ah thanks Diane.
That's smashing feedback. It sounds like you had a very vibrant and enjoyable session. It's all about engagement and inclusion, isn't it? And of course recognition of person. And those golden nuggets where individual value is recognised makes our job so much more interesting and enjoyable. Such feedback also helps me keep the blog going.
All the best. Simon
20th December 2020 -
I hope this email finds you well. Your blog is fab and is a really excellent resource for people working in memory clinics and running CST sessions. Would you mind if I listed your blog on the website for the Memory Services National Accreditation Programme (MSNAP) please? I’m working on building a resources page for clinicians, people with dementia and carers.
Deputy Programme Manager
Royal College Of Psychiatrists
What lovely feedback. Yes of course, happy for it to be shared far and wide. I'm hoping over the next year or two to have a catalogue of 52 activities pages, one for every week of the year that can be used on rotation. There was some discussion about developing a book/ manual with a publisher last year, but keeping it going like this means it remains a free resource and copyright restrictions are thus fewer for music playlists, photos etc. It's a young onset dementia resource primarily, but hopefully with wider relevance for older people and other groups.
Great to hear from you & best regards,
26th January 2021 - Michaela Sheridan-White
I'm an OT working in OAMH for Derbyshire Community Health Services. I just wanted to say a big Thank You for all the hard work you've put into this site.
I came across it a few weeks ago when we went into the 2nd lockdown and all our CST groups were cancelled, again. We talked about Virtual CST groups, would our client group be able to engage virtually?
A lot of the staff were unsure and wary of the technology. I found this site and thought, well obviously it can be done and can be done successfully. Within a week we got our first vCST group set up using inspiration from your Childhood session and i've just found the recent session on decimalisation, fabulous!
Thanks for putting all your work out there for others to adapt and use, it's really helpful.