Cognitive Stimulation Therapy

Cognitive Stimulation Therapy

Cognitive Stimulation Therapy is a branch of the services offered by the Geriatric Day Hospital. The program is for people over the age of 65 who have a diagnosis of mild to moderate dementia. This 14-week, group program is designed to improve memory, problem solving skills, and language ability and is run by a registered occupational therapist. Evidence suggests that CST can benefit people with mild to moderate dementia irrespective of drug therapy. Sessions are based on eight fundamental principles which include mental stimulation, promoting new ideas, thoughts and associations, a focus on opinions rather than facts, maximising the potential of people with dementia, respect and person-centeredness.

What is the Cognitive Stimulation Therapy Program?

  • A group based psychosocial program delivered by a registered occupational therapist designed to improve memory, problem-solving, and language skills.
  • Group sizes offered between 5-8 individuals.
  • Program carried out over 14 sessions, each lasting around an hour featuring structured discussions and group therapy activities.
  • Technology education session to participate in virtual CST if desired.

Who should be referred?

  • 65 and older
  • diagnosis of mild to moderate dementia
  • ability to safely take part in a group based program and tolerate 1 hour of sitting
  • no significant hearing or visual impairment that would impact group engagement
  • adequate English to engage in conversations
  • motivation to participate and engage in group setting

Benefits of Cognitive Stimulation Therapy

  • Improve language and communication
  • Focus on implicit learning and problem solving skills
  • Improve quality of life
  • Peer support of individuals facing shared experience

Why should I attend?

  • Receive the benefits of socialization for dementia including: supporting brain health, improving focus, strengthening sense of time and place, generate sense of inclusion and connection with others
  • World Alzheimer’s Report from 2011 indicated that CST should be routinely offered to individuals with mild to moderate dementia
  • group therapy provides a supportive atmosphere with activities offering a range of multi-sensory experiences, and… it’s fun!

Location and Hours

The Cognitive Stimulation Therapy program will run in person at 243 Consumers Rd., 3rd Floor, Specialized Geriatrics Department. Should arrangements for virtual participation be required, program facilitator will make arrangements with participants. The program will be offered Monday and Tuesday afternoons; group timeslots will be determined upon registration.


Admission to the Cognitive Stimulation Therapy group requires a referral from a physician and consultation with the occupational therapist. For more information, please call Kristin Collins, Occupational Therapist at 416-756-6871 ext. 8519.  If your doctor wishes to refer you to the program, please have them access the Specialized Geriatric Referral Form.