Memory service groups

Cognitive Stimulation Therapy

Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) is a brief psychosocial treatment that uses many well-researched therapeutic approaches such as reminiscence (‘past memories’), multi-sensory stimulation (songs, games), and reality orientation (for instance, discussion of current news stories).

The therapy is designed to be stimulating, engaging, and fun to take part in. We provide this therapy in a group format, delivered in a structured weekly 8/14-session programme.

Aside from the therapeutic experience, attending the group can provide opportunities for meeting other people who are experiencing memory difficulties, and to share your experiences. We have had really positive feedback from the participants who have attended the previous runs of this programme – including those who were initially unsure.

What can you expect?

People can be referred for CST by one of the healthcare professionals in the memory service team.

Each session lasts about two hours and has a main theme/ activity. These may, for example, involve sharing childhood memories, discussion of recent news, word association, identifying famous faces/ well-known songs, being creative, various quizzes etc.

The group sessions are facilitated by two members of the Waltham Forest Memory Service team who may belong one of the following professions: Clinical Psychology, Occupational Therapy, Support Worker or Nursing.

Refreshments will be provided.

Relatives and friends are welcome to attend the first session. There is no obligation to attend all the sessions but we strongly encourage that participants attend as many as possible to benefit from what the programme has to offer.

Well-being Group (Post-diagnosis support)

The Well-being Group of the Waltham Forest Memory Service is open to people who have recently received a diagnosis of progressive memory-related problems or dementia and to their family members or friends. People are referred to the programme after having been diagnosed with Dementia from anywhere within Waltham Forest.

The programme runs over six consecutive weekly sessions. Each session has a different main theme. These include – discussing people’s experiences of the diagnostic process, changes in life after the diagnosis, hopes/ aspirations, coping and adjustment, strategies and techniques to compensate for memory problems, assistive technology and services available in the community. More specifically, the themes of the four sessions are as follows:

  1. Introduction (group rules; expectations; questions and answers)
  2. Rehabilitation recommendations: memory strategies and assistive technology
  3. Adjustment and coping
  4. Community resources and signposting

There is the opportunity to meet with other people who are in a similar situation, to share experiences and to ask questions of the facilitators. There is also the opportunity to discuss clients’ and family members’ issues separately.

Sessions last 2 – 2 ½ hours and are facilitated by at least two members of the Memory Service from the following professions – Support Worker, Occupational Therapy, Nursing and Clinical Psychology.

Quality Improvement (QI START, a psychological intervention for stressed carers 28/06/2016)

Currently one of our Doctors is running a QI project. The aim is to reduce psychological distress and improve well-being in carers of patients with dementia. START, a psychological intervention for stressed carers, is introduced. We are delivering it in conjunction with IAPT.