Dementia is estimated to affect 850,000 people living in the UK today and according to the Alzheimer’s Society this figure is set to grow substantially over the next decade. While there is currently no cure, there are a number of different therapies that have been shown to help slow or ease symptoms, and to improve the wellbeing of someone living with the condition.

Here, Admiral Nurse Rikki Lorenti, who is part of the specialist dementia care team here at SweetTree, takes a closer look at one such therapy – Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) – and explain more about it and the benefits it can bring.

“Dementia can be a devastating disease,” commented Rikki “and when it comes to care provision and treatment options, it is important for families to know what their options are. Care needs will vary greatly from one individual to another, and as dementia is a progressive disease they will also change as time goes by, so different therapies may work better at different stages.

“CST is one form of therapy that has been shown to benefit people with dementia in a number of ways. It is now recommended that anyone with mild to moderate dementia takes part in CST sessions.”

He added: “At SweetTree, a CST group programme we piloted had very positive outcomes for the clients who took part, so we will be starting another programme in the summer.”

Here Rikki explains more about CST, how it works and the benefits it can bring for those with dementia.

What is CST?
CST is a form of treatment that involves an individual with dementia taking part in a programme of activities and exercises that are designed to improve memory and communication skills. The activities themselves are based on day-to-day interests, as well as reminiscence and information that relates to the current time and place. CST can be done in a group setting, or at home with a carer. Group CST treatment usually involves 14 or more sessions that are typically run twice weekly.

Who is CST suitable for?
The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends CST for all individuals in the mild to moderate stages of dementia.

How effective is it?
Trials have shown CST can lead to significant benefits in people’s cognitive functioning. The effects of CST have been found to be as effective as some anti-dementia drugs. They also show that those who make the biggest improvement undergo both CST and drug treatment.

How can CST benefit someone with dementia?
CST can benefit language in particular. It can also help improve mood, confidence and concentration.

For more information about CST, watch this video of Dr Aimee Spector, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at University College London, discussing the benefits of CST for people with dementia.

If you have a question about dementia, call the specialist team here at SweetTree on 020 7624 9944 for an informal chat. Or if you prefer you can email Rikki using

For more ideas and expert advice on supporting someone with dementia, why not join us at The Alzheimer’s Show in London on Friday 10 and Saturday 11 June 2016. For more details visit

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