Betty the Bald Chicken – Lessons in How to Care

Betty the Bald Chicken – Lessons in How to CareBy Lori LaBey, Minnesota, USA

Betty the Bald Chicken – Lessons in How to Care came to me in a dream, about twenty-five years into my family’s journey with dementia. My mother Dorothy lived a total of thirty years with the disease and as they say, dementia is not a disease of one. It’s a disease of society. For my family, we felt that deeply.  My mother’s diagnosis affected all of us.  The good, the bad, and the ugly all seemed to get exaggerated as each year crept by.

Joy was felt on a deeper level even when it appeared in a small moment, while sadness and grief expanded and never seemed to end, due to ambiguous loss. The waves of emotions were ongoing and for many family members and friends; that was something they couldn’t handle so they silently slipped away. It seemed like they thought their disappearance wasn’t noticed, but it was. It was a deep loss not only for my mother but for all who supported her. The disconnect of how to care for one another highlighted the fragile bonds between family and friends. The lack of understanding and the heightened frustration between parties never left and seemed to expand over time. Bridging these broken bonds was difficult, to say the least.

Although I intended for Betty the Bald Chicken to take book form from the start, it never felt like the right time. She went through two versions of illustrations, and the last, I felt the presence of my mother in her. The timing seemed right, yet something was missing. During this period, I shared Betty at a keynote.  Audiences resonated with her story. They continued to urge me to put Betty in book form. They felt and lived the rejection Betty experienced.  They felt the fear and the loss and experienced the joy of unconditional love and the calmness of being accepted.

Finally, on February 28th, 2023, the anniversary of my mother’s passing; Betty launched on Amazon.  The coincidence of the timing was magical to me. The message was solid.  Now was the correct time.

The world had changed significantly since the dream first came to me. The story of Betty the Bald Chicken was larger than just Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.  Betty’s story was more than a children’s book.  It is a non-threatening media that embraces all ages and stages of life.  One we could read alone, share with a child, or use in a group setting to have a conversation on how we care for ourselves and others.
Betty’s story now applies to almost every human situation from illness, bullying, addictions, divorce, death, discrimination, ageism, racism, religious beliefs, sexuality, and economic status. Betty is about the everyday struggles of feeling like we don’t belong or fit in when we are not understood and not accepted.

Betty the Bald Chicken teaches people of all ages we have more in common with others than we are different. The questions in the back of the book help readers and listeners talk about the ripple effect our choices have on ourselves and others; even those we don’t know. It opens the conversation to take decision-making seriously and realize what others will think about us based on our choices.

Find the book on Amazon: Betty The Bald Chicken – Lessons in How to Care

Author’s Bio:
Lori La Bey is the author of Betty the Bald Chicken Lesson in How to Care, the Founder of Alzheimer’s Speaks a media and advocacy group for all dementias, the Co-founder of Dementia Map global resource directory, and Co-producer and Co-host of Conscious Caregiving with L & L a video podcast tackling tough conversations.

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