Dementia is an illness that impacts the brain. It can affect memory, thinking and actions. Although dementia is most common in older adults, it can happen to people of any age. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia.
Sixty to eighty percent of dementia cases are caused by Alzheimer’s disease. Two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease are women. Additionally, more than 60% of caregivers for those with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are women.
Warning signs of dementia include:
- Asking the same questions over again
- Getting lost in places you know well
- Not being able to follow directions
- Getting confused about time, people, and places
- Having problems with self-care, nutrition, bathing, or safety
Other conditions have similar symptoms to dementia. Women Veterans must undergo a medical evaluation to get a diagnosis. If you are experiencing symptoms, schedule an appointment with your VA provider.
After a diagnosis
VA knows that finding out you have dementia can be scary. You may feel sad or angry. Learning more about your condition can help you and your family plan for the future. In the meantime, a dementia diagnosis doesn’t mean you can’t live your life. In fact, keeping active can reduce some symptoms of dementia.
After you receive a dementia diagnosis, VA services that may be appropriate are:
- Home-based primary care
- Skilled home care
- Homemaker and home-health aide
- Home telehealth
- Respite care
VA also offers support and services for caregivers of Veterans with dementia. VA has a support line for caregivers to ask questions and connect with a caregiver support coordinator.
Caregiver support coordinators coordinate services through VA and in the community to help caregivers of Veterans. The support line number is 1-855-260-3274.
More information on VA resources for Veterans with dementia and their caregivers is available here. We also encourage caregivers to watch our dementia caregivers video series.
The Women’s Health Office of VA is part of The Women Veterans Health Program. Created in 1988, the office streamlines services for female Veterans to provide more cost-effective medical and psychosocial care. VA Women’s Health provides programmatic and strategic support to implement positive changes in the provision of care for all women Veterans.