P>The prevalence of dementia is reaching epidemic proportions globally, but there remain a number of issues that prevent people with dementia, their families and caregivers, from taking control of their condition. In 2008, Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI) launched a Global Alzheimer's Disease Charter, which comprises six principles that underscore the urgency for a more ambitious approach to diagnosis, treatment and care. This review highlights some of the most important aspects and challenges of dementia diagnosis and treatment. These issues are reviewed in light of the six principles of the recent ADI Charter: promoting dementia awareness and understanding; respecting human rights; recognizing the key role of families and caregivers; providing access to health and social care; stressing the importance of optimal diagnosis and treatment; and preventing dementia through improvements in public health. The authors continue to hope that, one day, a cure for Alzheimer's disease will be found. Meanwhile, healthcare professionals need to unite in rising to the challenge of managing all cases of dementia, using the tools available to us now to work toward improved patient care.