APRIL 6, 2006 | When Barbara Broyles was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1999, her family made the decision to care for her with the same dignity and compassion she had always shown them.
While they didn’t realize it at the time, Barbara’s husband, Frank, and their six children would be challenged in ways they couldn’t have imagined due to the progression of the disease that eventually claimed her life in 2004.
Now an outspoken advocate for caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients,
Held at the Country Club of Little Rock, the luncheon was attended by 145 people. More than $10,000 was raised to fund the geriatric nursing summer externship program.
During the eight-week externship, students work with nursing leaders, researchers and educators to learn about options in geriatric nursing. The students work in the UAMS Donald W. Reynolds Institute on
“Once you’ve been a caregiver, lost a loved one or seen someone you love experience Alzheimer’s disease, your compassion turns to passion,” Broyles said. “Alzheimer’s disease is unsportsmanlike. There are no rules, no score and definitely no winner.” He recounted several stories in which he and his family had to face the challenges of caring for Barbara, who often couldn’t perform everyday tasks and or remember where she lived.
Broyles was able to keep his wife of almost 60 years at home during her three-year illness, thanks to the assistance of his children, particularly twin daughters Betsy and Linda. He also sought assistance from geriatric experts at the UAMS Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging.
“I’m so thankful for the help that the Institute on Aging gave me,” he said. “Before Barbara was diagnosed, we didn’t know anything about the disease, but we knew it wouldn’t destroy our love of life. You can still love life and be a part of life, even though you are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s.”
Broyles also noted the need for additional money to fund research and scholarships for geriatric nurses, such as those trained at the
The center is one of five such locations across the country supported by the John A. Hartford Foundation. Originally funded for five years, the center recently received a grant renewal for an additional five years. Claudia Beverly, Ph.D., R.N., a fellow in the
The goal of the
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