“The Golden Oldies”
Posted by Birdston Day Care Centre
Over the last 8 weeks, every Tuesday, Birdston Day Care have introduced a new programme to service users. The programme is called Cognitive Stimulation Therapy. The group has been named “The Golden Oldies” by service users.
Cognitive Stimulation Therapy - In A Nutshell, What Is It?
Cognitive Stimulation therapy is a programme of themed activities, carried out over several weeks in small groups, led by a trained carer. Each session covers a different topic and is designed to improve the mental abilities and memory of someone with dementia. Evidence so far suggests that CST could be just as beneficial as drug treatments for the symptoms of dementia.
3 facts about Cognitive Stimulation Therapy
1) Cognitive Stimulation therapy is the only non-drug treatment recommended and approved by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE).
2) The programme is usually carried out over 14 sessions, each lasting around 45 minutes and containing structured discussions and group activities. Groups are deliberately small, consisting of only 8 people.
3) The programme is led by a Senior Carer, who has been trained specifically for the role.
How Does It Work?
Each session follows the same structure, through the themed changes. Topics include childhood, food, current affairs and using money. Different activities are offered around each theme, for example, one week the activities might involve word puzzles or games, another week playing musical instruments. The group provides a supportive atmosphere and the activities offer a range of multi-sensory experiences.
A trial in 23 care homes and day centres showed that CST led to significant benefits in mental ability and memory, similar to the benefits of taking medication for symptoms of memory loss. Further research revealed that CST could also make a significant impact on language skills such as naming, word finding and comprehension. They also saw an increase in confidence and psychological well-being.
What happens next?
Once the 14 week programme ends, a longer term ‘Maintenance CST’ programme will take place, consisting of 26 weekly sessions. Recent trials suggest that people who participate in the maintenance programme are still feeling the benefits up to 6 months afterwards.