Screening and diagnosis

Alzheimer's disease and other dementia are progressive, degenerative diseases. Individuals or their family members may consult a family physician when they begin to notice symptoms such as loss of memory, judgment and reasoning, difficulty with day-to-day tasks and changes in communication abilities, mood and behaviour.

Cognitive impairment and dementia are present in about 20 per cent of the elderly population and are consistently rated among the top three concerns of older adults.1 Early detection of dementia provides an opportunity for the individual to adjust to the diagnosis and to participate actively in planning for the future.


Watch the video I’m a doctor - is there a good way to check out a memory complaint? A five-step brain health check for doctors.

The material was created by TCD, through the NEIL Programme at the Institute of Neuroscience with support from GENIO.
© 2014 The Provost, Fellows, Foundations Scholars, and the Other Members of Board, of the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity Of Queen Elizabeth, near Dublin. Permission to use this material was granted by TCD which reserves all rights in the material.

Early diagnosis

Early diagnosis is important. Symptoms of irreversible dementia can be similar to those of other conditions such as depression, thyroid or heart disease, infections, drug interactions or alcohol abuse.

Finding out the cause of the symptoms can help people understand the source of the symptoms, get the proper care, treatment and support and plan for the future.

4th Canadian Consensus Conference on Diagnosis and Treatment of Dementia

The 4th CCCDTD convened in May 2012 in Montreal with the primary aim of updating the previous diagnostic approach to Alzheimer’s disease, taking into account the revised diagnostic criteria proposed by the International Working Group (IWG) and the recommendations made by the National Institute on Aging—Alzheimer Association workgroups.

Read the recommendations of CCCDTD4

Alzheimer Society brochures for further reading

Some of the following brochures are written for clinicians and others are intended for individuals and their families, or both.


Individuals and family members:


  1. Feldman H, et al., Diagnosis and treatment of dementia. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 178 (March 2008), 825- 36.

Last Updated: 11/22/2019