21 September 2009 is hailed as World Alzheimer's Day, creating awareness for the most common type of all the dementias. Senile dementia of the Alzheimer's type (SDAT) has a four to five year survival rate if a patient is living in the community and a much shorter survival rate for institutionalised patients. The family practitioner is often consulted first by family members who seek advice for a family member with suspected dementia and possibly Alzheimer's disease. Although a multi-disciplinary team approach is mostly needed, the family practitioner will in most cases co-ordinate referrals and advise family members on practical nursing aspects and decisions about institutionalisation. This article gives a short overview on SDAT, a classification of drugs used in dementia and a treatment approach to Alzheimer-specific pharmacotherapy.