In the early part of this century, Alzheimer described a 51-year-old woman who experienced a rapidly increasing loss of memory. She could no longer find her way around her home. She carried objects back and forth, and hid them. At times, she thought someone wanted to kill her and began shrieking loudly. This type of behavior certainly would have been a strain for the woman's husband. If he could no longer care for his wife, his principal option was to place her in a mental hospital. Today, patients with Alzheimer's disease who require institutionalization are more likely to be admitted to a nursing home. However, because most patients in nursing homes have some type of mental illness, nursing homes, by default, serve as mental hospitals. The increasing number of nursing home residents with dementia prompted the author and colleagues to examine behavioral disturbances in this patient population.