I find it hard to talk to my mom for two reasons, one related to her dementia and one that existed before. First, she seems to think I am in college and doesn’t realize that a few decades have passed since then ( when her neurologist asked her what year it was, she said 1991, so it kind of checks out). So when we talk, she asks me college-related questions about myself and seems agitated and confused when I can’t answer them, and instead talk about my life now.
Second, even before the cognitive decline, her conversations were all about her—rehashing the same stories and complaints over and over, with no real room for me to get a word in edgewise. If she did ask me a question, she would usually interrupt my answer and continue talking. If I tried to keep talking, I’d get a long lecture about how I was being disrespectful by interrupting HER. Anything she might have learned about me she would criticize anyway, so I learned to stay silent, volunteer nothing and be as vague as possible,
So now that she actually seems interested in what I have to say, but is 30 years in the past, how do I talk to her? Is anyone else in a similar situation?