Living Better with Dementia

Cognitive Stimulation Therapy 

Help & Care are producing a series of articles, videos and information to help those with dementia, their carers, and the public understand more about how to live better with dementia.

This article explores a service known as Cognitive Stimulation Therapy, which takes a community centred approach; bringing individuals together to get creative, enjoy activities and stimulate communication.

At the end of this article you’ll find contact details to get involved or access support.



Age UK have been delivering Cognitive Stimulation Therapy for over 2 years. The therapy is offered free of charge following a diagnosis of Dementia, supported by Help & Care’s Dementia Coordinator Service, as part of the Dorset Dementia Pathway.

In this article, Rachel Weiss from Age UK (NSW Dorset) explains more about this programme, the value it brings, and how to get in touch.

“We have been delivering Cognitive Stimulation Therapy for just over 2 years and are extremely proud of the service and the support it is providing to those with dementia.

We offer a free 14 week programme designed to stimulate the brain and encourage conversation. The benefits we see from those attending the courses are fantastic, from improved communication skills and feeling a boost in mood, to improved confidence and growing a network of support. It really is making a difference, and not only just to participants, it’s wonderful to see how the course is filtering through to carers, family and loved ones…”


The value of community 

Rachel continues to relay why getting together is so important…

“The groups are a chance for people to come together and access support their dementia. We encourage everyone to participate, however we ensure that they feel comfortable by focussing on sharing opinions and experiences, rather than focussing on facts - this way you can never be wrong!

We love to develop a group identity and encourage them to come up with a name and a song, with a real focus on having some light hearted fun and a laugh.

Some of the activities we offer are an opportunity to link homelife and the group. These include bringing in photos on Week One as part of ‘getting to know you’; also planting seeds that they can take home and bring back in to show progress. These have been truly amazing, even months later, we have had carers get in touch to let us know that their sunflowers are now six feet tall and still growing! This connection appears to add real value to home life.”

Image of woman drawing tree branch


Positive feedback about the service

During the time that we have been delivering the course, we have been fortunate to witness the multitude of benefits that this therapy can have and have seen some wonderful friendships built, and even have groups that continue to meet up outside of the therapy, as well as feedback from our trained group facilitators who have noticed a real difference in attendees through the weeks…

 “Dad seems generally more alert and the social interaction and independence from Mum have certainly been a great benefit…as has Mum having some respite and time to relax with a cuppa…”

“I saw a huge improvement in P*, in the beginning he barely spoken, unless spoken to, and by the end [of the course] he was doing the orientation board without being prompted …”

“She always seems to be having a laugh when I collect her, which is lovely to see…”

“Mum is feeding back that she is enjoying the group…she shows me the schedule each week and
I have even learnt that she loves sunflowers!”

“It was the highlight of his week!”


Image of flower creative

Get in touch

Thanks to Rachel Weiss, Community Engagement Manager, Age UK North, South & West Dorset for this article. If you are based in Dorset and would like to get support, you can do so below:

Help & Care | Access support through our Dementia Coordinator Service

Recently had a diagnosis and need some initial support? Get in touch with us at

Age UK | Join a Cognitive Stimulation Therapy Programme

Age UK absolutely encourage anyone to reach out and join one of their CST programmes. For more information, please speak to your Help & Care Dementia Coordinator, or contact us directly: Age UK North, South & West Dorset, 01305 269444 or email

Cognitive Stimulation Therapy is available across the whole of Dorset, if you live in Bournemouth, Poole or East Dorset, please contact Age UK Bournemouth, Poole & East Dorset on 01202 530530 or email


“It was great to be able to offer people like me the chance to get together and not feel like we are on our own…”


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