By Dr. Marcy Adelman–
Shelly has been living with Alzheimer’s for several years now. Her wife Joan is her caregiver. Joan emailed me in search of a referral to someone who could advise her about Shelly’s sleep medications, which are no long working effectively. Shelly used to sleep through the night, but now Joan often finds Shelly standing by the front door in the middle of night.
Joan has secured the door in such a way that Shelly cannot open it by herself. She is not worried about Shelly opening the door and wandering off, a common occurrence in Shelly’s stage of Alzheimer’s. But she is worried that Shelly’s lack of sleep will affect her quality of life and hasten her cognitive decline. Without hesitation I knew exactly whom to refer her to.
Stephanie is an LGBTQ ally and an Alzheimer’s Association (ALZ) Family Support Manager who knows about all things concerning dementia. Having worked with the LGBTQ community for more than a few years, she is deeply knowledgeable about LGBTQ older adults living with dementia and their caregivers.
This quick hand-off didn’t just happen. In the last six years, LGBTQ advocates, national organizations like SAGE, and local LGBTQ senior serving community organizations have partnered with the ALZ to make dementia services more inclusive and culturally informed, and in return, have helped to make LGBTQ senior services more dementia competent. These partnerships have developed and created LGBTQ dementia informed resources where previously there had been none. There has been much progress to be thankful for.
If you are a caregiver and/or someone living with dementia, and you need to speak with someone for advice during the holidays, there are several places you can turn to for help. The ALZ has a 24/7 advisory line: 800-272-3900
If you are looking for caregiving tips during this COVID-19 pandemic time, visit:
LGBTQ senior serving nonprofits that are part of the ALZ LGBTQ partnership in San Francisco can also answer your questions or help you find someone that can:
Family Caregiver Alliance: https://www.caregiver.org/
Curry Senior Center: https://curryseniorcenter.org/
Dr. Marcy Adelman, a psychologist and LGBTQ+ longevity advocate and policy adviser, oversees the Aging in Community column. She serves on the California Commission on Aging, the Governor’s Alzheimer’s Prevention and Preparedness Task Force, the Board of the Alzheimer’s Association of Northern California, and the San Francisco Dignity Fund Oversight and Advisory Committee. She is the Co-Founder of Openhouse, the only San Francisco nonprofit exclusively focused on the health and well-being of LGBTQ+ older adults.
Dr. Marcy Adelman Honored as Woman of the Year
San Francisco Bay Times columnist and Openhouse Co-Founder Dr. Marcy Adelman was named “Woman of the Year” by Assemblymember David Chiu in March of this year. On November 27, she was presented with a framed certificate, although the previously planned ceremony in Sacramento was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Chiu shared: “Dr. Adelman has spent her career caring and advocating for our LGBTQ+ seniors. I’m proud to honor someone caring for and serving our seniors during this difficult time.”
Please join all of us here at the Bay Times in congratulating Dr. Adelman on the well-deserved honor.
Published on December 3, 2020
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Diverse Elders Coalition.