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Maintenance Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (MCST) What is MCST?

MCST is an evidence based programme which can improve the wellbeing and cognitive ability of people living with mild to moderate dementia. Age UK Teesside deliver free programmes of MCST in various locations across Stockton on Tees. We receive referrals from the NHS Combined Care Centre at Lustrum Vale, as well as from our Better Health, Better Wealth Team. People living with dementia or their carers can also refer into the programme by contacting Age UK Teesside directly.

MCST aims to actively stimulate the mind in a way that is non-threatening and enjoyable through a series of themed group sessions. Each session of MCST will follow a different theme or topic which is designed to improve the memory and cognitive abilities of people living with dementia. Where appropriate, sessions can also be delivered on a one to one basis. MCST is delivered by Age UK professionals who are experienced in supporting people living with dementia.

Why is MCST delivered in a group?

MCST is delivered over twenty-two weeks in a supportive group environment which allows participants to engage with each other and benefit from the peer support available. The group sessions offer an opportunity to share experiences, coping strategies and humour. Being part of a group can also improve a person’s confidence and self-esteem meaning that they are more likely to contribute and benefit from the discussions and activities.

Our groups run once a week in Stockton, Billingham and Thornaby and the feedback we get from group members and their carers is overwhelmingly positive.

If someone is unable to attend a group, we can offer MCST on a one to one basis in their home over eleven weeks. Our one to one sessions are tailored around the individual's circumstances to ensure that they benefit and respond positively to the programme.

What happens after?

We want to ensure that people living with dementia can benefit from MSCT long after their programme comes to an end. After each session, participants will get a summary of the activities and themes covered to refer to. This is also useful to share with families and carers who could use MCST principles in day to day life.

We find that the participants enjoy the routine of attending weekly sessions and they tend to bond with each other over time. If this is the case, when MCST comes to an end, our Better Heath, Better Wealth team will find a suitable and convenient meeting point and facilitate a weekly gathering, along with stimulating activities.

What about the carers?

MCST is designed to be delivered to people living with dementia who can attend the group independently. If carers or family members wish to learn more about the principles of MCST then we are happy to take the time to discuss the programme outline, what will be covered and why and how this will benefit their loved one. This usually takes place at the end of a session, whilst carers are waiting to pick a group member up. We can equip carers with the materials and knowledge to confidently carry on with aspects of MCST in between sessions, should they need support.

For more information or to join our MCST programme, contact

Tina Bonner and Gill Martin

email: or

telephone: 01642 433723