The most common form of dementia, or loss of intellectual function, among older people is Alzheimer's (ALLS-hi-merz) disease, a progressive, neurological disorder for which there is no effective treatment or cure. In addition to Alzheimer's, there are a number of other conditions that can cause a person to develop symptoms of dementia, including thyroid disease, alcoholism, and brain cancer. These and other conditions can sometimes be successfully treated. In cases in which dementia can't be successfully treated, it may be necessary to seek assistance from friends and relatives who can help the afflicted person with the activities of daily living. This way, independence can be maintained as long as possible. In the last stages of the disease, full-time nursing care may be needed. Support groups are also available in many communities to help family members deal with the deteriorating condition of their loved one. At the first sign of symptoms, consult your health care provider.