Compassionate, Innovative Memory & Emotional Therapy
Our goal is to improve your quality of life, brain fitness and emotional wellness. A Wiser Mind is a mental health company focused on bringing compassionate, meaningful, & innovative therapies to individuals & families living with age-related cognitive & emotional issues. Our Brain Activation TherapyTM & Person-Centered talk-therapies focus on unique, personalized activities that improve brain fitness and enhance the quality of life for those in need.
We serve clients who are concerned about memory decline, are experiencing symptoms of dementia, and those who are living with depression, anxiety or other emotional wellness concerns. We also understand and support the needs of care-givers seeking services to help slow memory decline and improve the quality of life for themselves and those they care for.
The Founding of A Wiser Mind is a Personal StoryIn 2001, our Co-Founder, Rick Watson, learned that his mother was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. This is his story of how he worked with his mother to improve her memory and formed the basis of Brain Activation TherapyTM.
We began treatment by following a typical care plan of medications and follow-up visits. As time went on, she began losing ground and by 2005, had lost about half of her cognitive capacity and became more confused, fearful and agitated.
I began to wonder what the next step would be. There were some clear improvements when her medications and dosages were adjusted and when I mentioned this to her doctor, he indicated that we had no baseline or measured evidence to prove there actually was improvement.
That gave me an idea. I began by using her past strengths as a starting point for our activities and kept track of her accuracy and speed of responses. Using her past life experience working in restaurant kitchens, we worked on fractions, measurements and other types of reasoning that she understood from years past.
I measured the speed and accuracy of her responses and within about 5 weeks, we had evidence that she was improving. I began speaking with specialists and reading research on Cognitive Stimulation in older adults experiencing cognitive impairment and early stage dementia. I found a home care agency in Canada using “reminiscing” to talk about the past and early life to help stimulate memories.
My business partner and I opened a home care agency, based on the foundation of my work with my mother and supplemented with additional research from licensed therapists. Eventually, we realized we could provide services to more clients, one-on-one in their own homes and we began A Wiser Mind.
It was important that we meet Medicare’s criteria to pay for these services and they would require services provided by credentialed and licensed social workers and psychologists. These professionals brought an even greater array of skills to our organization, including emotional therapy and support for the client and their families.
A Wiser Mind began with 3 employees in 2009 and has grown to 50 professionals currently on staff. Today, we actively see about 500 clients and have served well over 3000 people since inception. Founded in our home state of Colorado, we now have another location in Arizona, where we serve the large population of seniors living there.
About Our Leadership Team
Rick Watson – Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Watson has personal experiences contending with the symptoms and care demands of Alzheimer’s disease and cancer-induced dementia. In response to these personal challenges, Rick began work on the original research and clinical development that would eventually lead to the creation of Brain Activation Therapy.
In 2007 his work was recognized by the Denver Business Journal as a Champion in Healthcare for innovation in dementia care.
Over the last 25 years, he has provided leadership for a variety of Fortune 500 corporations including work to improve the fraud-detection capabilities for Medicare Carriers in regional processing centers across the United States, and creating ground-breaking software to bring assistive technology to special-needs children.Rick has served on the advisory board of The Invisible Disabilities Association, a non-profit organization focused on educating, supporting and assisting those touched by chronic illness and pain. He also acted as a founding member and board adviser for the Alliance for Healthy Aging, a Colorado non-profit which championed the needs and support of our aging citizenry.
Dan Kostelnik - Co-Founder, Chief Operations OfficerMr. Kostelnik has been instrumental in bringing entrepreneurial innovations to the care and treatment of individuals and families in need in the senior community and the mental health care community.
Prior to co-founding A Wiser Mind, Mr. Kostelnik was a founding partner in Mountain Life Home Care a senior in-home and transitional care organization. Mr. Kostelnik has a successful track record as an entrepreneur building a number of technology consulting businesses from the ground up including Cyber Business Solutions and CRP Solutions. His vision and leadership were responsible for the early recognition of Siebel Software as a leader in the CRM industry and the establishment of one of the first alliances with them.
An avid golfer, he resides in Lakewood, Colorado with his children.
Abbie Knoper – Director of Billing Services
Ms. Knoper focuses on bringing a personal side to the impersonal transactions of insurance. Abbie works to manage the clinical credentialing and insurance claims processing for A Wiser Mind and its parent company DRS Health Group LLC in Arizona and Colorado.
Prior to joining A Wiser Mind in 2010, Abbie had a successful career in multiple healthcare industry segments. She started off in the dental field where she helped start up dental practices by creating systems for both the front and back office. After that, she worked for two of the largest private mental health practices in the state of Colorado before founding her own billing services company to help small private practices, and their clients, navigate the regulatory and bureaucratic mazes of Medicare, Medicaid and third-party insurance.
Abbie resides in Arvada, CO where she loves to spend time in her garden and traveling with her family.
Kim Price - Director of Business Development
As the leader of our Business Development activities, Ms. Price serves to create and develop long term relationships for A Wiser Mind between clients, healthcare partners and the larger community in Arizona and Colorado. Kim has been with A Wiser Mind since 2010.
Kim has 25 years of experience in the healthcare industry with an emphasis on geriatrics. Her absolute passion for our older adult population was the reason she elected to pursue this industry very early in her career.
She has a broad and robust background in administration, public relations and business development within the areas of skilled home healthcare, private medical practices, hospital and academic institutions.
Ms. Price has supported our larger community with work on mountain rescue support teams, ski patrols, and in an emergency operations center. Additionally, she has volunteered for the American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity and the Humane Society.
Laura A. Gundy, PsyD, LP – Director of Clinical Services
Dr. Gundy provides clinical support and oversight to our team of therapists in Colorado and Arizona. She earned her master’s and doctorate of psychology in 2008 and 2010 respectively and has been working as a licensed psychologist in Colorado since 2011. Laura has dedicated her career to helping clients overcome battles with mental health issues and ultimately to lead empowered and inspired lives. When asked why she is so passionate about her work, she said, “It is my personal goal to inspire our team of therapists to bring a ray of hope to the lives of our clients and their families in the midst of life difficulties”
Dr. Gundy has been a part of A Wiser Mind since 2012,starting as a therapist for the company and transitioning into the role of Clinical Director in 2013. Laura was instantly drawn to A Wiser Mind as a company that was created from the same compassion and desire to improve people’s lives that she championed in her career.
Since 2006, Dr. Gundy has built a diverse career in the mental health field including work with populations to include: substance abuse, trauma, eating disorders, and more recent, gerontology. Laura’s career has included roles as a clinician, volunteer, board member, and active member of several non-profit organizations. Her current affiliations include membership with the American Psychological Association (APA) and volunteer work with the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas.