Dr. Richard Hodes, director of the National Institute on Aging, told "Good Morning America" that the disease is much more than forgetting a friend's name momentarily or misplacing the car keys.
It's time to worry, he said, "when memory becomes more difficult, when it becomes persistent, when it interferes with life functions."
Hodes said he's expecting some kind of major breakthrough on how doctors understand Alzheimer's in the next year or so.
Alzheimer's Association CareSource offers resources to help manage caregiving responsibilities, such as financial decisions and skills for caring for loved ones every day.
The Alzheimer's Association offers a Doctor's Appointment Checklist to help family members prepare for effective doctor visits and keep track of questions.