Women Veterans Health Care
Memory Loss and Dementia
Dementia is caused by damage to the brain or changes in the brain. The most common symptom of dementia is serious memory loss.
The most common symptom of dementia is serious memory loss.
There is a difference between normal forgetfulness and a serious memory problem. Serious memory and other cognitive problems, such as the ability to clearly think and learn, may interfere with your daily life and make it difficult to do everyday things. The most common types of dementia are Alzheimer's disease *, vascular dementia *, frontotemporal dementia *, and Lewy body dementia *.
Common symptoms of dementia include:
- Memory loss and confusion
- Repeating the same questions
- Not being able to follow instructions
- Changes in mood and personality
- Trouble finding the right words or having a fluid conversation
What services does VA provide for evaluating and managing memory loss?
If you are experiencing memory loss or have symptoms that may be related to dementia, your VA primary care provider will listen to your concerns and come up with a plan that works for you. Your VA primary care provider will perform an exam to determine whether changes in your memory are due to dementia or another problem. The exam may include:
- Discussing the history of your symptoms
- Discussing family history of dementia or Alzheimer's disease
- Reviewing all your medicines
- Performing a physical exam, including tests of cardiovascular (heart) and neurological function, vision, and hearing
- Objective cognitive testing, such as a brief memory test
- Ordering lab tests, such as blood and urine tests
- Ordering imaging if needed
- Referring you to a specialist (neurologist) if needed
- Recommending hearing test
- Referring you to social work to discuss needs
- Scheduling home safety evaluation
- Ordering prosthetic items to meet your needs
How do I access services for memory loss and dementia at VA?
If you are experiencing memory loss or having symptoms caused by dementia, schedule an appointment and speak to your VA primary care provider.
If you do not already have a VA primary care provider, you can call your nearest VA medical center and ask for the Women Veterans Program Manager (WVPM). The WVPM can help coordinate the services you may need.
Can I get disability compensation (monthly payments) or other benefits from VA related to memory loss?
Explore disability eligibility here. If you have questions, a Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) representative at your nearest regional office can explain more. Find your nearest regional office.
Where can I find more information, help, and resources on memory loss?
- National Institute on Aging: Memory, Forgetfulness, and Aging *: What's Normal and What's Not?
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How to improve your memory and brain health *
- VA tips on staying sharp and active
- If you are a caregiver of a Veteran with dementia, VA has a support line for caregivers to ask questions and connect with a caregiver support coordinator.
- VA information on dementia care (including Alzheimer's Disease).
- More information on VA resources for Veterans with dementia and their caregivers
The Women Veterans Call Center is your guide to women's health
If you have questions or can't find what you're looking for, you can call, text, or chat online with the Women Veterans Call Center (WVCC) at 855-829-6636 to get help and find available resources and services in your area. Trained women representatives can also:
WVCC representatives are available Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET, and Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. ET.
* By clicking on these links, you will leave the Department of Veterans Affairs website.
† VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked website.