Simply reading about all that Lori La Bey has done for those living with dementia and their families left me exhausted. It also humbled me because, as far as I can see, she now devotes her life almost entirely to making life better for this huge group of often overlooked people through creating, discovering and making accessible a wide range of resources. In her native America, Lori has been recognised for this, hailed as a Health Hero by none other than Oprah Winfrey and championed as an Architect for Change by the former First Lady of California, Maria Shriver.

Lori joined me for my podcast from her home in Minesota. Since walking away from a successful career in real estate in 2009, Lori has launched America’s first radio station dedicated to dementia – indeed, Alzheimer’s Speaks is believed to be the first dementia radio station in the world.

Global first or not, Alzheimer’s Speaks gives a voice to everyone, allowing people and companies from throughout the world to share their business and educational resources, products and advice. While a Dementia Map provides a worldwide directory of blogs, relevant enterprises and events to which individuals and companies can sign up to make their offerings available to a wider public.

Lori was instrumental in creating America’s first dementia friendly community in Watertown, Wisconsin in 2013, three years later she launched one of the country’s first memory cafés in Roseville, Minnesota. Her webinar series, Dementia Chats, sees the real experts – those living with the condition – offering their invaluable advice.

And just a few days ago her children’s book, Betty the Bald Chicken, co-authored with Scott Carlson, was published. As with all Lori’s dementia work, the book is inspired by her mother’s 30 year struggle with Alzheimer’s and her own caring role. But it’s not limited to dementia, Betty’s story applies to virtually any situation in which someone finds themselves on the outside, struggling to fit in and not being understood. It teaches people of all ages that we have much more in common than sets us apart.

“We need to shift how we care for one another and ourselves from crisis to comfort,” Lori told Maria Shriver. “We need to give hope and support to families and professionals alike, through open conversations, shared life stories and lessons learnt. Dementia is not a disease of one but of society”.