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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
CONNECTING TO THOSE LIVING ALONE
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 email@example.com
* “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."