The outlook for dementia depends on the cause and can vary by individual. For example, early treatment of dementia caused by a vitamin deficiency can lead to full recovery of memory. If stroke is the cause, the person's memory loss can remain stable for years. Drugs may slow the rate of decline for some people with Alzheimer's disease. In many cases, however, the disorder gradually gets worse. Depending on the cause, the person's age, general health and the availability of treatments, life expectancy can be as short as a few months or as long as 15 to 20 years.