Alzheimer's disease is a progressive neurological condition that usually presents with short-term memory impairment, and then progresses to profound cognitive and physical disability. The diagnosis is based primarily on clinical findings with a definitive diagnosis only being possible with pathological examination of brain tissue. Alzheimer's disease causes distress to patients, families and caregivers. Most patients with advanced Alzheimer's disease need 24-hour supervision, often provided in a long-term care setting. Although no cure is available, with a variety of treatments, modest but measurable benefits are available. Research is being conducted to find more effective treatments and hopefully in time a cure or means of prevention. All physicians whose practice includes older patients need to possess some familiarity with the diagnosis and management of Alzheimer's disease.