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When we talk to mom many times she stares at us and we know she does not understand what we are saying to her. Is it hard for her to process what we are saying, or is it hard for her mind to keep up with the conversation?

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HEARING test is easiest. Then there may be dementia on top of that... MIL does the same thing.
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How is her hearing? Does she have wax buildup?
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If we knew more about your mom's history, it would help us. It sounds like she has dementia...is that right?

I know with my mom, I have to really slow down my normally fast speech and also speak loudly for her to keep up with me. Sometimes I start going and she says "What" and I think, "Uh oh...slow yourself down!" We've been on the phone to my brother (who hasn't seen her in five years) and he talks very fast. She hangs up and can't remember or repeat a thing he's said. I think it's because he talks so fast, she can't process it and keep up.

My mom doesn't have Alzheimers, but does have short-term memory loss and definitely some diminished cognitive functioning.
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