Dementia has emerged as a national health concern. The demographics of our aging population suggest that this concern can only become more acute. For families that have a member with a primary dementing illness, this concern often becomes an all-consuming one. At present, our understanding of the primary dementias, especially Alzheimer's disease, is incomplete, and thus, most cases of primary dementia progress irreversibly. Nevertheless, there is much in the way of treatment, care, and support that can be provided by the practicing medical community to sustain the viability and vitality of patient and family.