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Informal Carers (including family, friends)

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A presentation of the theoretical and practical implementation of group CST and individual CST will be made on this topic.

Learning outcomes

At the conclusion of this topic, you will be able to:

  • Apply CST theory through practical exercises.


One of the most substantial and difficult parts of a theory is to make the transition from the initial concept to practice. Numerous examples and activities for group and individual CST have been described in the literature. Here we will present some indicative cases.

3.9.1 Applied examples of CST

The following table (Table 3) contains several ideas for activities that could be used as activities in CST implementation.

Table 3: Detailed CST examples and activities [1]

CST sessions Description/Applied example
Physical games – Introducing members: name badges/name sheet.

– Ask people to select a name for the group – vote if necessary.

– Throw soft-ball and use it to introduce ‘getting to know you’ questions such as:

    • If you could go anywhere on holiday, where would it be?
    • What is your favourite hobby?
    • What was your former occupation?
    • Play a physical game, such as skittles or boules, which incorporates teamwork. Include score calculations if the group can.
Sound – Play sound effects CDs, which include different categories, such as ‘animal noises’ and ‘occupations’.

– Invite people to match sounds with corresponding pictures.

– Play selected songs and ask people to identify names of songs or singers.

– Give percussion instruments to each person and ask them to play along to familiar music, such as popular 1960s music.

Childhood – Ask members to fill out a printed sheet including their name, names of family members, former address(es), childhood friends, etc.

– Invite people to make a drawing of their childhood bedroom/house or create a construction of it on the whiteboard.

– Invite people to demonstrate the use of old-fashioned childhood toys e.g. spinning top, jacks, and hoopla.

– Taste foods that remind people of their childhood

Food – Price food items and give people a budget and scenario (e.g. meal for four). Get people to calculate in pairs.

– Categorize food e.g. different mealtimes, sweet versus savoury.

– Brainstorm food categories on the whiteboard e.g. meats, fruit, Christmas food.

– Taste food that has reminiscent value or is seasonal.

– Ask people to name foods beginning with a particular letter.

Current affairs – Discuss issues from recent newspapers/magazines. Make multiple copies of interesting articles so that everybody can look at them simultaneously.

– Use questions on cue cards to stimulate conversation on news and views:

    • What do you think of today’s fashion?
    • Should men and women have different roles?
    • What do you think about same-sex weddings?
Faces/scenes – Prepare multiple photographs of famous faces or local scenes, to stimulate discussion.

– Give people one or more pictures and ask for opinions, such as:

    • Who is the most attractive?
    • Would you like to visit this place?
    • What do these people have in common?
    • Use these to encourage reminiscence and compare the past with the present.
Word association – Ask people to supply missing words in several phrases. E.g. Famous couples – (Laurel and …….), places (Westminster ……….), or proverbs (A stitch in …………).

– Present the first few words of a song and ask the group to sing a few lines.

Being creative Select an appropriate creative activity such as:

– Cookery (ensuring to divide all tasks between people)

– Making a seasonal collage

– Clay modelling

– Getting group members to draw each other on paper.

Categorizing objects – Get one person to pick from a selection of categories (e.g. men’s names) and letters. Get the group to think of many words in that category beginning with that letter.

– Place objects or pictures of objects on a table and ask the group to categorize them, for example, items found in different rooms in the house.

– Place objects or pictures and ask the group to identify the ‘odd one out’.

Orientation – Depending on where people come from, construct a map of the country, local area, or centre – on the board.

– Ask people to fill out where different landmarks are, such as towns, the local post office, or their bedroom.

– Discuss how long journeys take, the distance between places, and transport links.

Using money – Play games involving money, such as Monopoly.

– Play games that require counting money or making changes.

Number games – Pass a pack of playing cards around the group. Ask people to guess whether the next car will be higher or lower.

– Get people to guess how many items are in a container e.g. pennies in a small jar.

– Play games involving the recognition and use of numbers e.g. bingo or dominoes.

Word games – Draw several dashes on the board and invite people to guess letters to form the word. Provide a category clue e.g. Country.

– Prepare word search or crossword puzzles at a difficulty level suitable for group members. Complete in a group or pairs.

– Use word cards and get people to explain the word without actually using it.

Team quiz – Ask the group to divide into two teams and give their team a name.

– Play trivia quiz or other games that the group has enjoyed previously. It would be good to give a prize to all group members.

– Celebrate the final session with a special tea!


Key points:

  • 14 suggested group and individual practical activities for CST sessions have been presented.

1. List of references

  • Spector, A. (2019). Introduction. In: Yates, A., YatesJ., Orrell M., et al (editors). Cognitive stimulation therapy for dementia: history, evolution and internationalism. 1st edition. Oxford: Routledge.

2. Further reading