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Former Arkansas coach, AD to speak on Alzheimer 's care

Posted: Sunday, April 04, 2010

In his 40 years as a winning college coach and University of Arkansas athletic director, Frank Broyles used information to create a plan of attack for facing each athletic opponent.

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But when his wife, Barbara, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, Broyles didn't have a game plan. In fact, he had very little information and direction about the disease or caring for his wife.

"We knew nothing about our opponent," Broyles said. "So we didn't have a game plan. And we didn't have any way to understand what was going on except by trial and error."

So, after her death in 2004, Broyles pooled his own experiences with information from experts into Coach Broyles Playbook for Alzheimer's Caregivers.

"This playbook was written in coaching points, just tips on what to do; not a lot of hard reading," Broyles said, adding that about 800,000 books have been distributed. "It is all trial and error. Our message, our goal, our whole passion is to let people know that we do have some information now that can improve their quality of life."

While he is in town for the Masters, Broyles, his daughter Betsy Arnold and granddaughter Molly Arnold, will be sharing their experiences with Alzheimer's.

Alzheimer's Disease: A Family Affair, put on through the Alzheimer's Association Augusta office, will be held 6:30-8:30 p.m. Monday at the Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center inside the Columbia County Library.

"This is a disease that affects every generation in the family," said Kathy Tuckey, the Augusta association Program and Services director.

The presentation is free. Reservations are suggested due to limited seating, but not required.

The playbook focuses on the social, not medical, aspects of caregiving to promote compassionate communication, Broyles said.

Of the 10.5 million caregivers to about 5.5 million Alzheimer's patients nationwide, only about 10 percent have any reliable information about the disease. Broyles said his passion is passing along his experiences to caregivers.

"We now know more of our opponent, therefore we can improve the quality of life where the impaired one remains calm most of the time and seems to keep her dignity and her love and so forth," Broyles said. "Here's my approach: Anybody can get things done the right way, but the winners get the right things done.

"What our book is trying to do is to help you get the right things done so that your quality of life is improved."

The book will be available for purchase at the event.

For information or to reserve a seat, call the Alzheimer's Association at (706) 731-9060 or e-mail Tuckey at kathy.tuckey@alz.org.

Former University of Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles wrote a book about Alzheimer's care.



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