Caregiver Summit—a community resource must

Lori La Bey

 Changing how caregiving is perceived, received and delivered

As people live into their 80s and 90s, it’s likely that they will face a form of dementia—whether it’s theirs or a loved one.

This year’s Caregiver Summit, organized by Region 10 and (ADRC) Aging and Disability Resources for Colorado was a six-hour event at the Pavilion, June 7, with a nationally acclaimed speaker. Some 40 booths offered information from home maintenance to senior day care. The “Retreat” supplied care for recipients in need of  supervision, with professionals providing entertainment and lunch, while caregivers enjoyed the speaker.

Lori La Bey, the keynote speaker, is the founder of Alzheimer’s Speaks, an organization whose theme is “Driving Change in our Dementia Care Culture.” She was honored by Oprah as “Health Hero” for 2018 and by Maria Shriver as an “Architect of Change for Humanity” in 2016.

Based in Minnesota, La Bey, 58, travels the country speaking about caregiving and offering ways to make it easier on both of the Caretaking team. La Bey’s interest in shifting dementia culture from crisis to comfort started in the 1980’s when her own mother, Dorothy, started showing signs of dementia.  La Bey’s desire to help families like her own carved an outlet for all of the people and organizations she was learning about through her own research.  

For over 30 years, La Bey learned firsthand by caring for her mother, how to help Dorothy live well with dementia in spite of the disease.

Her presentations in Montrose were entitled “Shifting the Perception of Care,” Why Families Act Like They Do” and “Hanging by a Thread When Caring for Others.”

La Bey shares her perspective on a biweekly podcast, “Alzheimer’s Speaks” radio.  An estimated 3,000 listeners tune in to hear experts sharing coping strategies and research.

To learn more, visit

Helpful Tips When Dealing with Dementia

Keep in mind that each person with dementia is unique and may react differently to these tips.

Smile, stay calm and positive. Doing this can help everyone.

A quiet environment is best.

Always approach from the front so you don’t scare them.

Be at eye level when communicating and keep friendly eye contact.

Don’t ask: Do you remember me? What is my name?

Laughter is usually appreciated, but don’t be demeaning.

Be conversational. Don’t lecture or try to control.

Don’t assume they are not interested if their eyes are closed. They may be processing information or searching for a word.

Arguing won’t work. Logic isn’t always relevant when dementia is in play.

Have a backup plan.

About the author

Mavis Bennett

Mavis Bennett

A western Colorado resident for most of her life, Mavis Bennett is the publisher of the Montrose Monitor. She has written for newspapers and magazines more than three decades and founded the popular Monitor Magazine in 2003. This web site is the logical progression for the Monitor.