The January–February 2019 In Focus section of Aging Today urges readers to consider a new view on Alzheimer’s and dementia, to find the value in people with dementia, instead of dehumanizing them and reacting only to their disease. As Peter Whitehouse says in the lead article in the section, “What we all need to keep our brains healthy and to fend off disease labels is a purposeful and engaged life full of people we love.” Also in the section, Laura Trejo details Los Angeles’ plan to build dementia-friendly communities, including launching Dementia Friends L.A., a campaign to transform the way people think and talk about dementia. Other articles address the need to understand behaviors in dementia as valid communication, battling the stigma around Alzheimer’s and Texas State University’s unique (and online) offering: a master’s degree program in dementia.
Also in this issue, we feature an interview with Openhouse Executive Director Karyn Skultety and On Lok CEO Grace Li, who are partnering on a new and thoughtfully designed project to help San Francisco’s LGBTQ older adults age with dignity, independence and pride. UCSF researcher Jason Flatt, who also is involved in the Openhouse/On Lok partnership, reports on dementia and related risk factors in LGBTQ older adults, revealing new findings from his ongoing study. And former Aging Today Editorial Advisory Committee member Barbara Meltzer revels in the freedom she has gained from her foray into improv classes in her hometown of Los Angeles.