Dementia and Alzheimer disease

Resources & handout

Information on this page can be downloaded as a handout.

What is dementia?

  • Dementia is a loss of mental skills that affects your daily life
  • It can cause problems with your memory and how well you can think and plan.
What is Alzheimer’s disease?
  • It damages the brain. It causes loss of memory and loss of other abilities.
  • It gets worse over time, but how quickly this happens varies.
Dementia / Alzheimer disease?
  • Alzheimer’s dementia is the most common type of dementia.
What causes dementia?

Dementia is caused by damage or changes in the brain. Things that can cause dementia include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Strokes, tumors, or head injuries
  • other diseases

What are the symptoms?

Usually, the first symptom is memory loss. Other notice more.

As dementia gets worse:

  • more trouble planning
  • trouble speaking or listening
  • get lost in familiar places

Over time:

  • act very differently
  • be scared or violent
  • become needy and childlike
  • stop brushing their teeth or bathing


  • cannot take care of themselves
  • not know where they are
  • not recognize their loved ones

Forgetfulness and dementia

Warning signs of dementia

How is dementia diagnosed?

  • visit a doctor
  • physical examination
  • illnesses and life events
  • close family member to check details

Your doctor may ask you to:

  • tell what day and year it is
  • repeat a series of words
  • draw a clock face
How is dementia diagnosed?

Causes that can be treated:

  • blood tests (thyroid, infection)
  • tests MRI or CT scan (picture of your brain – tumor or brain injury)
  • medicines

How is it treated?

  • There are medicines you can take for dementia
  • No cure but
  • slow down and
  • easier to live with
Helping a loved one who has dementia

In early dementia, most people can function independently.

  • your role is important
  • support to plan for future
  • encourage to make an advance care plan
  • name a person who will make care decision

Helping a loved one who has dementia

  • Home care is available
  • Transition to a supportive living facility or long-term care facility

What increases your risk


Stay mentally alert.

Stay involved socially.

If your doctor recommends it, take aspirin.


811 Health Link Alberta – 24/7 Free Health Advice

Alzheimer Society Alberta and NW territories – Strategies, programs, support & research

All of the information on this page can be downloaded as a handout. If you have any questions, please contact us.

Disclaimer: This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an “as is”, “where is” basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use. Last update February 2023