The Alzheimer's Association will conduct a pilot program in New Milford and across the country to help people living in the early stage of Alzheimer's remain connected and engaged post diagnosis.

With funding from the MetLife Foundation, the Alzheimer's Association Connecticut Chapter is offering a pilot Early-Stage Social Engagement Program through Sept. 30.

Traditionally, people have been diagnosed later in the progression of Alzheimer's, so many dementia-related programs have been focused on serving people in the middle stage of the disease.

The Alzheimer's Association encourages early detection so families can plan for the future together and take advantage of available resources.

"The benefits of early detection and diagnosis allow an individual the opportunity to plan for the future and seek treatment options that can enhance quality of life," said Joan Quinn, interim executive for the Alzheimer's Association Connecticut Chapter.

An informal survey conducted by the Alzheimer's Association found 84 percent of respondents have not attended an early-stage engagement program, but 78 percent would consider attending one offered through their local Alzheimer's Association chapter and 72 percent prefer it be social in nature.

The Early-Stage Social Engagement Program offers a variety of community-based activities and events.

Participants will select three to four activities a month to enjoy, ranging from bowling to photography classes, based on interest and local offerings.

The Alzheimer's Association will continue to assist families in a variety of ways to best meet their needs.

For more information, visit www.alz.org/ct or call 800-272-3900.