Angie Dickinson says she and her two sisters were never close while trying to survive life in North Dakota with an alcoholic father.

But all that has changed for the 59-year-old actress now that she's taking care of her sister Mary Lou, 61, who has Alzheimer's disease."I'd made my own diagnosis of Alzheimer's. I'm a news junkie and I read a lot of medical stories," Dickinson said in the Nov. 12 issue of People magazine. "In 1986 I told Mary Lou that I thought she might have Alzheimer's. I hope I didn't frighten her."

The Los Angeles-based actress oversees the care required by Mary Lou, who has lost the ability to bathe, dress and feed herself.

Dickinson also has persuaded her sister's three adult children to enroll in support groups for families of Alzheimer's victims.