Coach Broyles’ Playbook for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

Frank and his wife Barbara were happily married for over 50 years, when in 1999, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

 

"She couldn't remember one thing about her life: not my name, no children's names. She was robbed of everything," Frank shares. "I kept Barbara involved with everything she could possibly do. We went to football, basketball, baseball games, and she had a better quality of life by being involved with other people."

 

[AD]"My family decided every day to make her feel comforted," says Molly Arnold, Frank and Barbara's granddaughter. "Her death gave birth to our mission and her legacy, to provide desperately needed resources to those who care for Alzheimer's patients. Pop felt he could use his position and influence to help others."

 

"As a coach, we had a playbook that told us what to do, what to expect and what to anticipate, and that's what we did. We put together a caregiver's playbook for people, so they would be prepared to take the best care for their loved one," Frank says.

Dr. Phil is joined by coach Frank Broyles, his granddaughter, Molly, and his daughter, Betsy.

Barbara's diagnosis was overwhelming for her family. Betsy and her children moved across the country and in with her parents to take care of her ailing mom. "My mother was my best friend, and so it was devastating to watch her deteriorate," she says. "But it was a wonderful experience, and I wouldn't trade one minute of it."

[AD]Dr. Phil says to Frank, "Patience was a big thing for you, because you would come home, and she would have some really unusual ideas."

"You wouldn't know what to expect," he says. "We watched her go from a very beautiful, lovely lady to her memory was that of a 1-year-old when she died."

Frank and his family share important steps for caring for people with Alzheimer's.

 

Frank explains how to determine if your loved one has Alzheimer's or dementia. "There's no scientific way to diagnose it," he says. "But what I say and what we have learned is that when a person with dementia " when Barbara was supposed to meet me at 2:00, and at 4:00 she calls me and said, ‘I forgot to meet you at 2:00,' that's dementia. But when she's supposed to meet me at 2:00, and she never tells you she missed it, that's Alzheimer's. She's lost the memory that she made a mistake and she doesn't remember making the mistake, because a part of the brain has been wiped out."

Frank says he knew his wife was sick when she started to withdraw from activities. "She just said ‘I'm going to step down from everything,'" he recalls. "The next week, she called crying. She couldn't turn the car engine off."

 

Frank's family offers these caregiver's tips and strategies:

  • Make the patient's world simple
  • Have the patient wear an I.D. bracelet
  • Don't act rushed
  • Use simple commands and choices
  • Keep the doors locked " protect the sick from hurting themselves
  • Be patient
  • Hide car keys
  • Keep a sense of humor

     

    [AD]Dr. Phil asks Frank about a section of the book where he talks about taking care of the quarterback. "You can wear yourself out, and then you're no good to anybody," he says.

    "The quarterback was Betsy, Molly and me, and we had to do everything for her, because she couldn't do anything for herself," he says. "She was dependent on us. She was looking to us, and we would try to give her that comfort feeling that we're there, we love her, and we're going to be with her every day. Then she was calm, and then dignity would prevail."

    "You've certainly honored her with this work," Dr. Phil says.