When Almeria Cottingham first started volunteering at The Seniors Place Adult Day Center soon after it opened over twenty-three years ago, she knew little about dementia. But her decision to get involved proved to be a turning point in her life, as she devoted the next 20 years to what is now called Amazing Place. And while Almeria never expected to attend Amazing Place as a Day Program participant, today, at 85 years young, she now counts herself as one of the many participants who is blessed by Amazing Place.

As a volunteer at Amazing Place, Almeria fondly remembers helping participants in the exercise program, reading newspapers, having morning conversations and dancing together. She recalls, “It was so wonderful to know you were able to help people with this illness, and feel like you were giving them some meaning back in their lives.” Her devotion to Amazing Place grew from her involvement as a volunteer to Board Member to an integral part of the 2006 Building for Generations Campaign Committee, which raised $7 million to build the Drexel facility, to an Advisory Council member for the past ten years. In recognition of Almeria’s role in making Amazing Place the organization it is today, the Drexel facility Program Room is appropriately named in her honor.

Naturally, Almeria’s passion for the mission of Amazing Place has impacted those closest to her. When Almeria’s son Mike was studying to be a social worker, he fulfilled his practicum requirements at The Seniors Place. Almeria also influenced her cousin, Chris Knapp, CEO of Collaboration Capital and founder of Chilton Capital, to get involved. Over the last 14 years, Chris has served on the Advisory Council, through which he was instrumental in providing support for the 2006 building campaign in addition to managing Amazing Place’s endowment at Chilton Capital. For Chris, “Amazing Place is not only serving a vital need on a daily basis, but it really is a leading teaching organization many other places (around the country) could benefit from.” Mike and Chris remain grateful Almeria can experience the sense of community at Amazing Place, which she helped to foster for so many years.

Almeria’s passion for the mission of Amazing Place has impacted those closest to her.
Almeria Cottingham with her son, Michael Cottingham, and cousin, Chris Knapp

Almeria’s journey to Day Program participant began a few years ago when she realized she was not remembering things as easily as she used to, was periodically searching for words and was having some difficulty following conversations in social situations. Mike says he noticed she was repeating statements and having a harder time playing games with her grandkids. Being the strong, independent woman she is, Almeria was proactive about this situation, and went to see her doctor. He suggested she think about going to Amazing Place for the cognitive stimulation and socialization, which made her initially hesitant. She then decided—if it would help her, it was worth it. Almeria now shares her assessment of Amazing Place as a participant. “It gets me out of the house. I’ve gone back to playing bridge now that I feel more comfortable around the other participants. The brain word games are fun, and it gives me a structure to my week. The staff, besides having a good sense of humor, is really good about coming up with interesting programs.”

Almeria with her sons Michael and Kelly

Today, Almeria lives in her beautiful home filled with art, family photos and memories. She spends as much time as she can with her three grandsons—going to basketball and soccer games on weekends, as well as visiting with her granddaughter, who’s now in college. She enjoys Pilates classes and earnestly looks forward to Tuesdays and Fridays when she comes to Amazing Place. Even today, in this full-circle moment in her life as a participant in the program she’s supported for so long, she continues to promote Amazing Place: “There is no place else a person with dementia can get this kind of stimulation and help. It also gives the family a break to know their loved one is happy there.”


At Amazing Place, we believe intellectual curiosity, creativity and personal growth outlast symptoms of mild to moderate forms of dementia. This belief serves as the foundation for all the cognitive programs we provide our participants, programs intentionally designed to challenge the mind and lift the spirit. In many ways, we like to think of our Participant Program as a "gym for the brain," a place where they can remain intellectually stimulated and mentally active.

For participants with mild forms of dementia, we offer a cognitive program called "Mind Matters." Our Program Team does a superb job designing and selecting programs that engage the four Primary Cognitive Domains: Executive Functioning, Language, Visual-Spatial Perception, and Memory.

Left: Harold Desvignes participates in a “Mind Matters” program.

For participants with more moderate forms of dementia, we offer similar cognitive programs that are modified by our Program Team to ensure participant engagement and success. In every situation, our Program Team recognizes the importance of flexibility as they work diligently to meet the individual interests, strengths and cognitive abilities of each participant.

One of the more unique and engaging additions to our cognitive programming is a session called "You Be the Judge." This program is facilitated by a retired judge who presents our participants with real-life court cases. Participants are then challenged to think about each case, the evidence presented and what they would believe if they were the judge. After each case is discussed, the judge reveals what actually happened and presents a legal explanation for each verdict.

Our strong cognitive programming works in tandem with our other programs to engage the whole person — mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual. In doing so, we are empowering our participants to lead more fully involved lives.


The Memory Training Program, Launched in 2018

Like many baby boomers, Lynn Schroth was aware she was not feeling as adept and confident about her memory as she used to be. Forgetting names, where she put her keys or glasses, and even grocery lists were becoming frustrating, embarrassing and even worrying. She admits she even started giving up trying to remember things. But then she realized that just as she had always put a priority on finding ways to keep in shape through exercise, she could keep her memory in shape through exercise, too.

Since 2018, Amazing Place has been offering the innovative and interactive Memory Training program developed at the UCLA Longevity Center. Participants learn not only how their brain changes as they age, but specific ways to better retain and retrieve memories. Led by Amazing Place staff and UCLA-certified facilitators, Sally Davis, RN, MSN, and Susan Giles, the classes use proven techniques based on research to help those over 50 boost their memory. Research from UCLA has shown that 9 out of 10 participants report improvements in their memory!

Lynn Schroth feels more confident after taking Memory Training classes

Some of the memory techniques that participants learn include:

  • The power of paying attention;
  • How to store information so it’s more memorable through word associations and images; and
  • How to retrieve information you’ve “stored.”

According to Lynn, “The class was surprisingly fun and creative. You realized you weren’t alone, and by learning special tricks that actually worked, you ended up feeling more competent and confident.”

The Amazing Place Memory Training Program is available in two formats — a four-session, two-hour class or a one-session, four-hour class called Brain Boot Camp. Either option costs $100 per participant. Participants to date have ranged from ages 50 to 92, but it is not intended for those with cognitive impairment.

Instructors Susan Giles and Sally Davis

If you’d like more information about our Memory Training program or Brain Boot Camp, or would like to host these classes at your organization, company or church, contact Sally Davis, RN, MSN, at trainyourbrain@amazingplacehouston.org, 713.552.0420 or visit our website: amazingplacehouston.org.

Caregiver educator, Sharon Cantrell, teaches a SAVVY Caregiver Course.


The SAVVY Caregiver Course, Launched in 2018

Becoming a caregiver for a family member with dementia is not a role that one plans for or is necessarily trained for. As a disease that impacts the whole family, dementia poses intense demands. It’s not surprising that 59% of caregivers rate the emotional stress as high or very high; 30-40% suffer from depression and 44% report anxiety*.

At Amazing Place, we recognize the need to do more than just support caregivers. We want to educate them, too, giving them the knowledge and skills to more effectively manage their loved ones at home and help reduce their stress. Last year, we began offering the innovative SAVVY Caregiver Course**, a free, two-hour, six-session course held at Amazing Place and throughout the community.

Participants learn:

  • Insights about the stages of the disease and the changes their loved ones are experiencing;
  • How to adapt and structure their daily lives;
  • How to identify solutions for individual issues; and
  • Coping mechanisms as the disease progresses.

According to Cherryll Walzel Frick, one of the many caregivers who has taken the course, “One of the biggest revelations was recognizing that my husband’s behavior was not personal or intentional. That made such a difference in my acceptance and attitude dealing with him.” Amazing Place SAVVY Caregiver Educator Sharon Cantrell adds, “Once they understand more about how the disease affects all aspects of behavior, we supply them with tools to help caregivers to feel more confident, competent and positive.”

To date, Amazing Place has conducted 15 SAVVY courses at Amazing Place and at churches and other facilities throughout Houston. To find out more about available SAVVY courses or to host it at your church or organization, contact Sharon Cantrell at scantrell@amazingplacehouston.org, or visit our website: amazingplacehouston.org.

* According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2019 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures.

** “This project was supported in part by grant number 90ALGG0016-01-00 from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy."

Memory Café West

For all our participants, caregivers and community members we serve out of our 3735 Drexel Dr. location, there are countless others throughout the greater Houston area who need our help and support. Take, for example, Emily and Al, who have been married for over twenty years and currently live between Richmond and Katy.

In the months before Al’s dementia diagnosis in the Fall of 2016, Emily noticed it was becoming difficult for the two of them as a couple to interact with other couples. For Al and Emily, who had moved from Austin to west Houston to be closer to Emily’s daughter, the isolating difficulties were acute. Eventually, they reached a point where they had extremely limited social interaction. Then Emily found Amazing Place and one of the programs we currently offer in the Katy area, the Memory Café West, an informal setting for adults with early-stage dementia and their caregivers to connect and make new friends.

Right: Emily and Al attend Memory Café West serving Katy/West Houston.

After attending their first Katy Memory Café last summer, Al and Emily continue to make this social gathering a part of their monthly routine. According to Emily, the Memory Café has been “a ray of sunshine and hope.” Not only has the group offered Al and Emily the ability to connect and develop friendships with other couples, but it has also provided them a sense of peace realizing they aren't facing their journey alone. For Emily, knowing she can call upon members of the Memory Café for information and resources has been “very comforting”; she no longer feels isolated and "resourceless." Al and Emily have also experienced the encouragement of being connected to others who share a “common bond”

A ray of sunshine and hope.

In addition to being involved in the Memory Café West, Emily recently participated in the first Amazing Place Savvy Caregiver course offered in Katy. According to Emily, "One of the things I learned was how to incorporate [Al] (in daily activities) ...it made me appreciate what [Al] is still able to do." By engaging Amazing Place programs in Katy, Al and Emily are now more connected and supported. Their story reflects our commitment to extend our reach throughout Houston and further our mission, empowering lives disrupted by dementia beyond the beltway.

For Memory Café West (third Saturday of each month), please email adetert@amazingplacehouston.org.

Executive Director, Tracey Brown.


In 2018, we reflected on our mission and the work we do to change the way people think about dementia, leading us to refine our organizational mission and vision statement. We know confronting dementia is no easy task, and ignoring early symptoms only makes the journey more difficult. Therefore, we encourage families to be proactive in their response to early signs by seeking connection and support.

At Amazing Place, we are changing the way people think about dementia. Our mission is to empower lives disrupted by dementia. We are facing memory loss head-on thorough our programs which encourage active and independent lifestyles. Our ultimate vision is to end the stigma of dementia. This pursuit of our mission and vision has led us to adopt a twofold approach.

Through our exceptional Day Program, designed exclusively for those with mild to moderate dementia, we offer an evidence-based, meticulously planned curriculum in our vibrant participant daytime community. In 2018, our extraordinary staff continued to provide our caregiving families with all the essential support, knowledge and skills they need.

Our ultimate vision is to end the stigma of dementia.

Alongside our Day Program, those living with dementia, family caregivers, health professionals, congregation leaders and the community-at-large have access to a full range of free to low-cost education, training, engagement and support programs. Over the past eight years, we have witnessed an intensified need in the Houston community for the skills and training our organization has offered for the past 23 years. All offerings are designed to provide useful tools and skills for dementia care and brain health education, such as SAVVY Caregiver and Memory Training, about which you can read in this report.

We continue to work on developing our first satellite location in the West Houston/Katy area. However, we are already there serving this community with our education, training, engagement and support programs, such as our Memory Café on the third Saturday of every month, and the SAVVY Caregiver class, which is being taught at different locations in the area. To see the full list and schedule of the programs offered, please visit our new and improved website: amazingplacehouston.org.

Amazing Place has become a symbol of hope for so many whose lives have been disrupted by dementia. We remain focused on empowering more lives, so even in the face of dementia, peace, joy and meaning are possible. Thank you so much for your very generous support of Amazing Place.

With gratitude,

Tracey Brown, Executive Director


The year in review for 2018 highlights exciting outcomes. The backbone of our organization, the Day Program, resulted in 27% of our total revenue. The launch of the silent phase of the Amazing Together Campaign in the fall of 2018 generated much enthusiasm: 25% of our total revenue is attributable to donations toward the campaign. The AoA/ACL Grant plus matching donations, in year two of a three-year grant, accounted for 7% of total revenue. The remaining revenue to cover the Day Program, and Education and Support Programs, plus all administrative and fundraising costs, generously came from donations that are 41% of total revenue.




Faith Care Connection, Launched in 2018

Living with dementia can be an isolating journey; for this reason, Amazing Place has established a team of multidisciplinary healthcare professionals, who work with local churches to make sure adults who are living alone and at-risk for dementia have access to appropriate resources and support. This initiative, called the Faith Care Connection (FCC)*, is one branch of a three-year national grant project designed to address the needs of a growing population facing dementia.

For the last year, the FCC Team (Linda Schoene, RN, MSN; Jill Thompson, PT; Lauren Bradley, LMSW; and Katherine Christie, LMSW) has continued to develop partnerships with local churches to identify and support vulnerable individuals within our community. This process has not only contributed to stronger relationships with local churches, but has also generated increased awareness about dementia and the need for "dementia-friendly" churches.

Left: Jill Thompson, Faith Care Connection Coordinator, consults with a pastor.

These churches now have an opportunity to help at-risk individuals in a way that did not exist before. By providing in-home assessments, the FCC Team can determine whether individuals are experiencing social isolation, depression or other quality-of life issues. Based on their assessments, the Team is able to provide appropriate care recommendations, referrals and long-term care consultation to the individuals they help.

Because of FCC, local churches now have a resource for older individuals living alone who may be worried about their memory and cognitive abilities. At-risk individuals are now receiving appropriate supervision and care to ensure their safety and wellbeing. According to Katherine Christie, "Having a job in which we are able to provide resources to those living alone has been incredibly fulfilling."

The ultimate goal for the FCC Team is to educate and train churches to remain mindful of dementia's widespread impact, identify at-risk individuals and provide appropriate support and care referrals when needed. If you are concerned about someone who is living alone and at-risk for dementia, please contact the Faith Care Connection Team at 713-552-0420 ext. 2601, or email faithcareconnection@amazingplacehouston.org

* “This project was supported in part by grant number 90ALGG0016-01-00 from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy."

Jeanne Angulo with Day Program participant Helen Bass.


By Jeanne Angulo

My husband, Albert W. Angulo, volunteered at Amazing Place for eight years. During this time, Al served on the Amazing Place Board and chaired the Risk Management and Scholarship Committees. He also volunteered at the front desk, ate lunch with participants and lectured on a range of subjects, from the Houston Oilers to antique cars. The mission of Amazing Place always remained near and dear to Al's heart and my heart.

After Al died in December 2014, I couldn't visit Amazing Place for a long period of time because I was immersed in my own grief. However, after a year, I decided to reconnect and begin volunteering at Amazing Place to honor my husband and finish his mission. As a volunteer at Amazing Place three days a week, I have an in-depth view of the Day Program. The level of kindness and caring I see exhibited by the Amazing Place staff each day warms my heart and demonstrates their commitment to "do[ing] the right thing even when no one is looking."

Jeanne with her husband, Albert

I decided to honor Albert's legacy by leaving a gift in my will to Amazing Place. It is my hope this gift will help empower lives disrupted by dementia for years to come. I would strongly encourage others to consider doing the same, especially considering the need for Amazing Place is growing as the American population ages and more and more people face dementia. Simply put, we need more facilities like ours. Yet, to keep our Amazing Place going and to get it growing, funds are needed. With your support, I hope we can continue to care for people living with dementia until the day they find a cure.

Simply put, we need more facilities like ours.

To learn more about how to leave a legacy gift please contact our Development Director, Ramsey Howell, at rhowell@amazingplacehouston.org.


Empowering Lives Disrupted by Dementia

As our mission, any and everything we do is driven by empowerment. Rather than asking why, at Amazing Place, we want people to ask how? How should I feel? How should I respond? How can dementia be prevented? How can I help? And most importantly, how can I empower the lives of those affected? Because how we react to the very first signs of dementia can create lasting strength for those we love.

Ending the Stigma of Dementia

This is the vision of Amazing Place. Together, we’re changing the way people think about dementia. We’re not just talking about dementia. We’re facing it head on. We’re implementing programs encouraging active and independent lifestyles. We’re training and educating caregivers, congregations, health professionals and the community to equip them with essential knowledge and tools. We’re building meaningful relationships daily with those living with dementia and everyone in their lives.

Above all, at Amazing Place, we’re ending the stigma of dementia.


Your gifts are our blessing. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this list. We acknowledge and apologize that errors or omissions sometimes occur. We are truly grateful for all of the generous donors who gave to Amazing Place in 2018.

Churches, Foundations, Organizations and Companies



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