In 1957 Frank Broyles was hired as the head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks. He served as head football coach for the University of Arkansas from 1958 until 1976. Coach Broyles was known for producing high quality coaches. He had a fantastic career and was not only a great coach but a great mentor. He was born Dec. 26, 1924 and passed away Aug. 14, 2017.
Though being a successful coach came with many challenges, it did not compare to the challenges he faced when his wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Coach Broyles and his family came together and decided to focus on what they did have instead of what they did not have. They chose to celebrate their “todays” and their memories, and to make each day the best day, with no regrets. Coach Broyles wrote a book about practical tips to help the caregiver. The name of the book is “Coach Broyles’ Playbook for Alzheimer’s Caregivers, A Practical Tips Guide.” The information in this book is written as a coach’s playbook. The reason coach Broyles wrote it in this way is because he approached Alzheimer’s disease much like he would have as an opponent on the field, with a solid game plan and a dedicated team. You can go online and print this book.
Alzheimer’s disease is the number one condition of dementia. You must remember the left side of the brain is attacked first. This disease attacks asymmetrically, it generally attacks the left side of the brain and then spreads. The left side of your brain is where language is stored. This is why your loved one cannot find the word they want to say. Remember your loved one is doing the best they can do. Their brain is failing, their brain is dying. By the end of this disease 1/3 of their brain tissue still functions. You will notice changes every 6-12 months. Their visual field will get smaller and smaller and your loved one will lose safety awareness.
Caregivers continue to educate yourself and learn from others that are caring for those living with this disease. The person is living with Alzheimer’s disease and the family also lives with this disease as well. Enjoy each day, strive to be the best caregiver you can be. You do this by taking care of yourself and learning to ask for help.
Merry Christmas to all and I hope you have a “Best Day Ever.”
Lesia Henderson is a Positive Approach to Care Independent Trainer and Sampson County Department of Aging Family Caregiver Support Specialist.