Five hundred and fifty-three patients were referred to a Canadian dementia clinic for standardized evaluation. The majority (83.5%) had a dementia with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) accounting for 89% of dementias. Patients with probable AD who were followed for five years had variable rates of progression, increased mortality (37.1%, 2.5 times the expected rate) and a high rate of institutionalization (79%). Simple demographic (age) and social factors (marital status) were strong predictors for institutionalization. It was extremely difficult at presentation to predict the rate of progression. The prevalence of AD in autopsied cases was 62.5%. Clinic patients were younger, had milder dementias, and were more likely to have AD than patients identified in the course of a contemporaneous population-based dementia prevalence study.