Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST), an evidence-based program used around the world, creates a positive, accepting atmosphere where opinions rather than facts are shared and new ideas, thoughts, and associations are generated. CST activates various aspects of peoples’ minds and its research shows improvements in cognitive function, mood, and quality of life.
We are mid-way through our first 16-week session. Here are some thoughts from two of our participants:
Q: Why did you enroll in CST?
Joanne: I was diagnosed with Front-temporal dementia. I’m not working and I needed to keep myself going and preserve myself. I think it helps to delay the progression of the symptoms.
Ken: My wife learned about it and I joined.
Cheryl: We thought it would be valuable for him.
Q: What were your expectations before you went in?
Joanne: I thought it would be like a class, but it’s better than that.
Q: What is your actual experience like, now that you’ve participated for a while?
Joanne: CST is more structured than a class. One hour is perfect. I have somewhere to go and socializing with other people is helpful. The condition I have causes a lack of control and CST helps me monitor that.
Ken: It’s fun. We’ve got music, dancing, ideas from each other. We talk about our past. The music is my favorite part – I’m a motown person.
Q: Is life better for you since you started CST?
Ken: It’s like having new friends, it’s fun. I like doing the group thing. They are wonderful - we’re kind of from the same ilk.
Joanne: I’m not working, so sometimes I still feel lonely. But CST cures that somewhat.
Q: What is your advice for people in the early stage of memory loss, dementia, or Alzheimer’s?
Ken: Get involved. You’re talking to other people like you who have the same background. And the social aspect of that is good. And kudos to the people who run the CST program – they’re wonderful! I’d like to continue even after it ends. We hit it off!
Joanne: Look for support. Work on your condition. I’m in speech therapy which is also helpful.
Try to be as independent as possible. I was told that I’d need a nurse, but I’ve managed to live with my condition for more than a year and I work hard to be independent.
For more information on CST, please call our Helpline at 646-744-2900.