Lori La Bey was sick of all the negative information about Alzheimer’s Disease.
As a family caregiver for her mom, Lori didn’t appreciate the fear that surrounded the subject.
“I wanted to talk about hope and joy and the positive aspects that empower caregivers and those who are diagnosed with the disease.” Lori says.
Lori had a lot to share on the subject. Her mother had been dealing with dementia symptoms since the mid 1980’s and in 1996, she received a formal diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Lori, then age 37, understood the challenges and stresses of being a working parent and a family caregiver. She understood the issues that her mom grappled with as she lived with Alzheimer’s. She also knew the feelings of joy, hope, and connection that she and her mother constantly shared.
Stepping Out and Sharing
“You have to tell your story,” friends told her. In 2009, Lori began to blog, focusing on the positive aspects of her experiences with her mom.
“People were thrilled to hear the hope in my stories; they were tired of hearing all the doom and gloom,” Lori says.
Blogging led to speaking and speaking led her to training the staff who worked in her mom’s care facility and then to training in other care facilities, organizations and businesses. In 2011, Lori started her Internet radio program, Alzheimer’s Speaks. She recently launched a resource directory, which allows both professionals and the public to share information, and she is a leading resource in helping communities become more dementia-friendly. She has gradually eased out of her successful real estate career and has devoted herself to “Shifting Caregiving from Crisis to Comfort.”
Five Foundations for Advocacy
Here are some of Lori’s tips for becoming a more effective voice for caregivers and for those who have Alzheimer’s.
Consider yourself a “Care Partner” instead of a caregiver. “Caregiver sounds like you’re giving it all away and in reality, you’re sharing,” Lori says. “When you give, you receive.”
Start the Conversation
Don’t be afraid to talk about your experiences with dementia. Often, you’ll learn friends, coworkers and even strangers are dealing with the same issues.
Share Your Story, Your Feelings and Your Truth
Lori knew being vulnerable when sharing her own stories and authentically expressing her moments of sadness, triumph, anger, frustration, weakness, and happiness allowed others to feel comfortable expressing their own emotions and stories.
“Discussing all your feelings invites deep conversations and helps you build amazing relationships,” Lori says. “Life is not perfect and we have to stop pretending it is.”
Set Your Priorities
Give up trying to please everyone. “Focus on pleasing yourself and the person you’re caring for,” Lori advises. “Everyone else is secondary.”
Join a support group or start one to help others. Sign up for a dementia fund raiser, such as the Memory Walk. Get to know people who have dementia. Start talking about the disease – share what you know. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Take dementia on as a cause.
To learn more about Lori and to hear our conversation with her click here on Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio.
For more information, please visit Lori’s website:
Founder of Alzheimer’s Speaks
Recognized by Dr. Oz and Sharecare as the #1 Influencer Online for Alzheimer’s!