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    Openhouse Co-Founder Dr. Marcy Adelman Continues Groundbreaking Work on LGBT Senior Issues

    Dr. Marcy Adelman’s term on the board of Openhouse recently expired, but she has stated that she will continue to serve as an advisor to the incredibly successful organization that she co-founded in 1998 with her partner Jeanette Gurevitch (1948–2003). We welcome the news, as Openhouse, which addresses the housing and service needs of LGBT elders, has—like Dr. Adelman herself—been going stronger than ever.

    This fall, Openhouse will break ground at 95 Laguna for a new five-story building to be named the Marcy Adelman and Jeanette Gurevitch Openhouse Community. The Community will include 79 affordable senior apartments. It will also have an activity center for LGBT seniors citywide, serving as the epicenter of Openhouse’s health and wellness programming. Adelman’s founding vision of a hub of LGBT welcoming senior housing and services for LGBT seniors will be one of the largest such projects in the country.

    If you are seeking a role model for youthful, accomplished LGBT seniors, Adelman would be a perfect choice. The longtime San Francisco Bay Times columnist recently received San Francisco Pride’s Lifetime Achievement Grand Marshal honor. A clinical psychologist and widely respected psychotherapist, Adelman is a pioneer in the field of lesbian and gay aging. For over 30 years, she has worked to make visible the lives, concerns and contributions of LGBT elders, and is a leading advocate for quality LGBT elder care and policies that safeguard equal treatment.

    Her advocacy and research work were pivotal in educating service providers and city and state officials about the unique needs of LGBT elders. The Openhouse survey (2003), with over 1,000 participants was, at the time, the largest and most racially inclusive study of its kind. It shattered the myth of “gay affluence” and raised awareness that LGBT elders had a right to be included in affordable housing and subsidized senior programs. The under-representation of LGBT people in senior programs and senior housing could no longer be dismissed.

    Moreover, the lack of services that were welcoming to LGBT seniors was not limited to housing. Both discrimination itself and the fear of discrimination prevented LGBT seniors from utilizing needed services all along the continuum of care—from housing to home health and in-home services, from assisted living to nursing homes, to social services, adult day care and dementia care. Rather than reinvent the wheel of services, Adelman established collaborative relationships with providers and agencies to educate and eventually train them in how to make their services and agencies more inclusive and more responsive to the needs of the LGBT community. As a result, long before Openhouse housing and the Bob Ross LGBT Senior Center opened its doors at 55 Laguna, Openhouse had succeeded in making the Bay Area one of the most LGBT senior friendly cities in the country.

    As you can see, Adelman has been busy! What’s more, she has stated that she will remain involved in city, state and national advocacy work on LGBT senior issues. Currently, she serves on the Dignity Fund Oversight and Advisory Committee for the City and County of San Francisco, the Advisory Council to the Department of Aging and Adult Service Commission, the Alzheimer’s Association of Northern California and Nevada’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and is a Senior Advisor to SAGE on LGBT Aging and Dementia.