DEAR HARRIETTE: I just found out that my grandma has developed Alzheimer's disease. I am shocked, but I'm not sure how to proceed. For now, she is forgetful and does small things, like being convinced that the telephone receiver is the remote control. I know this will get worse, and that one day she will probably not remember me. The rest of my family is so saddened, but for some reason, I am not.
I feel guilty about not being distressed about my grandmother's diagnosis. She has not changed in the days since she received it, but I know she will. I think we should just celebrate my grandmother as she is now and worry about the future as it comes. Should I be more somber? I have never known anyone with Alzheimer's. -- Feeling Guilty, Boston
DEAR FEELING GUILTY: Living in the moment is wise. Enjoy your grandmother and spend as much time with her as you can. Also, read up on Alzheimer's and speak to her doctor if you can. Learn how to best support her and your family. This disease is debilitating and scary, so your family is not wrong to be saddened. You can help to brighten their spirits by reminding them to cherish the days that they can connect meaningfully with your grandmother.