Now there's help for families of dementia patients

If you have broken arm, you know you need to go to the doctor. But people who suffer from Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia may not realize they're doing things that could hurt them - such as leaving the stove on or wandering away from the house.

Family members may need to step in to keep their loved one safe.

"Often times it becomes the family or the care-partner who has to decide that something needs to change," says Joanne Maher of the Alzheimer's Association of Western Washington.

"We do caution that it not happen too early in the disease process when someone is still functioning fairly well, but without a doubt the person will become dependent on someone else. The person with dementia will become dependent on someone else."

Making these life changes is not only stressful, but there can be a great deal of guilt involved - even though you know you're doing the right thing. For many families, a support group helps.

The Alzheimer's Association's Helpline, 1-800-272-3900, is a toll-free number that you can call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to get information about the disease or support groups.