Seattle University

Build an action plan for Alzheimer's

People who are newly diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease typically experience a tsunami of emotions: disbelief, fear, anger, depression, sense of loss. But after the initial shock, a person can assert some control over the future by creating an action blueprint that will guide the patient and caregivers as the disease progresses. "When someone is still in the early stages, it's a gift to family members to prepare and to build support right away," says Deb Bryer, early-stage coordinator of the St. Louis, Mo., chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.

People in the early stages of dementia will likely possess the cognitive capacity to draw up legal documents, assess...