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    Building Community

    By Dr. Marcy Adelman–

    As many of you know, last year, after almost 20 years of service, I transitioned off the Openhouse board. I am deeply confident that Openhouse’s Executive Director, Dr.Karyn Skultety, will continue to build on the almost two decades of progress that we have achieved. Karyn is a combination of compassion, good will, the right balance of fierceness and humor, and lots of wisdom and brain power to go around.

    It was the perfect time for me to transition to take on new opportunities and challenges, among them Commissioner on the California Commission on Aging, member of the San Francisco Dignity Fund Oversight and Advisory Committee, and nomination to the board of the Alzheimer’s Association of Northern California and Nevada (term begins June 2018). In future columns here at the San Francisco Bay Times, you will learn more about my advocacy in these other venues. So, I continue to advocate on a state and local level for LGBTQ older adults, quality LGBTQ senior care, and longevity enhancing policies for all older adults.

    My heartfelt thank you to every one of you who believed in and supported the dream that my late partner Jeanette Gurevitch and I had so many years ago: to build a village of LGBTQ welcoming senior housing with comprehensive services and a longevity enhancing activity center to help LGBTQ older adults and seniors live and thrive in their homes and in their communities. I feel proud of what Jeanette and I and the Openhouse community have accomplished, and I feel very privileged to have been the recipient of your trust and generosity.

    When Jeanette and I started out, we were just two lesbian therapists with little more than a dream. We had no resources to speak of, few connections, and little experience in senior housing and services. The miracle of Openhouse is to have taken a dream of living and thriving together into old age and making it real for all of us. This miracle was possible because hundreds of people shared this dream with us and stepped up to build the Openhouse village on Laguna Street.

    But the Openhouse village hasn’t completely crossed the finish line. Openhouse is putting the final touches on the activity center at 75 Laguna. The organization needs your help to complete the build out of the activity center that will be there for all of us. The activity center will offer programing for active older adults, for caregivers, and for those in need of assistance. Donate to ensure quality of life programing is there for yourself or your loved ones.

    The vision that Jeanette and I had was always more than bricks and mortar. It was about building community, a community that recognizes and values older adults and elders, and that embraces and celebrates longevity, not as a burden, but as a prized—and in some cases, hard won—achievement. My hope is that, long after the Openhouse village is completed, you will continue to stay engaged and will join me and Openhouse in building that community.

    Dr. Marcy Adelman is the Co-founder of Openhouse, a Commissioner on the California Commission on Aging, a member of the San Francisco Dignity Fund Oversight and Advisory Committee, and a leading expert on LGBTQ dementia care and policy issues.