For this blog, I looked at some research for this disease. Alzheimer's isn't completely understood yet. Some of the causes are unknown, but it is clear that there are different environmental, genetic, and lifestyle factors that contribute to the disease. All these factors affect the brain over time by damaging and killing brain cells. The common sufferer often experiences forgetfulness, confusion, difficulty with writing and speaking, and problems with judgement or problem solving.
Some common treatments are drugs that help memory symptoms, and maintaining proper nutrition with regular exercise. Prevention of the disease is another area not completely understood. There's no proven way to prevent Alzheimer's, but it has been suggested that minimizing your risk of heart disease would be beneficial. Important factors to watch for are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, excess weight, and diabetes. Keeping active is helpful as well.
I don't have any personal experience with the disease, but I can definitely see how it would greatly affect the sufferer and their family.