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Women Veterans Health Care

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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.

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
  • Performing 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.

If you don't already use VA health care, you may want to use the following online tools:

Find out if you are eligible for VA health care

Enroll in VA health care if you haven't already

Find your local VA and make an appointment

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?

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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:

  • Provide you with information on enrolling in VA health care if you have not already
  • Provide you with information on setting up a medical appointment in your area
  • Provide you with information about your eligibility (including questions about disability ratings) and other VA benefits like employment, education, and home loans
  • Connect you with your local VA Medical Center or local women's health contact who can assist in coordinating all the services you need

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.

The Women Veterans Call Center is your guide to VA. The Women Veterans Call Center is your guide to VA.
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