MAY 10, 2005 | Families struggling to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease can now get help through the generosity of another Arkansas family.
The Pat and
Broyles, whose wife, Barbara, died of Alzheimer’s disease in October 2004, has been an advocate for continued research on the disease, and is actively supporting the Ronald Reagan Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Act of 2005 currently before Congress. He recently helped persuade the state Legislature to pass a bill, known as “Barbara’s Bill” requiring 15 hours of additional training on Alzheimer’s disease for certified nursing assistants working in nursing homes.
Since he began speaking publicly about his family’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, Broyles said, he has received numerous letters from other families concerning the need for better caregiver support and education. He said 98 percent of the messages ask him to support educating caregivers on how to help their family members live a better quality of life.
“That‘s what this gift is going to do,” Broyles said.
Cornelia Beck, R.N., Ph.D., director of the
Beck said the institute had a list of about 80 caregivers to attend a stress-reducing class, but didn’t have the funding to provide the course. About 75 percent of all caregivers for Alzheimer’s patients are family members, and Beck said the physical and psychological demands, along with the realization that they are losing their loved one, can be extremely stressful.
“Alzheimer’s is always a family affair,” Beck said, “and it is fitting that our research center is named for the
“You have set a shining example of how to be and how to live,” David Lipschitz, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Institute on Aging, said to Pat Walker. “I for one have learned from you in more ways than I ever could have thought possible.”
Lipschitz recalled the years he spent with the
Debbie Walker, daughter-in-law to Pat Walker and executive director of the Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation, said the family found the expansion of the
“Our family felt empowered that we could give him the best quality of life for each stage he went through,” Debbie Walker said. “Our hope is that this facility can give that to other families. It is our pleasure for our family to be a part of this today.”
The center combines patient care with research to provide the most up-to-date treatment available. Currently, one-fourth of patients followed by the Reynolds Department of Geriatrics have some form of memory loss.
Current clinical research, which involves working directly with patients, includes promoting functional independence, dealing with problem behaviors, promoting sleep, the use of community-based services by caregivers and persons with dementia, and measuring outcomes of services for persons with dementia.
Other basic science research at UAMS on Alzheimer’s disease has discovered a link between proteins secreted by cells that control inflammation and the increased probability of onset of Alzheimer’s disease. This is seen as a significant breakthrough in the early detection and treatment of Alzheimer’s.
The donations from the
Links on This Page
Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging: http://centeronaging.uams.edu/
Donald W. Reynolds Foundation: http://www.dwreynolds.org/
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