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We are a very small family of two taking care of my grandmother. I am a working mom of two little ones and my mother works full time. We have hired two lovely homecare aids to work with gram. Throughout her life my gram has been a stubborn and difficult person. Don't get me wrong I love her very much. She is a my way or the highway type... and watch out if you don't agree with her. She always tells people that she is meek and mild. Recently her dementia has become worse. Her short term memory loss is the biggest issue. Recently med care has been transferred to her home healthcare aids. She often forgets to take her meds. Gram is very angry about that. She is not paying her bills. When we try to sit down and discuss finances with her she accuses us of scheming to steal her money. She argues about everything. A lot of it is because of her memory loss. It's almost become an impossible situation, she gets so upset that nothing is getting done. She gets herself in such a state that we have to put an end to the conversations. It is even getting to the point where she has accused the aids of hitting her. I can assure you that hasn't happened. She is completely unreasonable. I am almost afraid to be alone with her because of all the accusations she makes. We are uncomfortable handling her finances. I have spoken to her doctor and have gotten no where. Honestly I don't think the dementia is that bad, it's her way of handling things that is. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you!

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Since she's been "stubborn and difficult" for years, that's probably being exacerbated by the dementia as well as age resistance - she may recognize that she's losing life skills but is in denial and refusing to accept help.

I think the first step might be to get a medical and psych assessment as Barb suggests, so you can know exactly what you're dealing with.
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Sanibel, as dementia sets in, ability to reason flies away. Is there any way that your Mom can 'just quietly' assume the bill paying role?I did this in small steps with my Mom. First I suggested that the Medical statements and bills were too confusing and offered to do that. She seemed hesitant at first but asked her friends and they all laughed and said their kids had been doing it for years. So she let me do it! (She was 94 at that time and I had a life long career in insurance!) When I saw the bills weren't being paid, I would visit and say, let's get this mail taken care of. Very few checks to handle but that worked for a while, I wrote the check, she signed it. Then we would stamp and walk to the mail box with her putting them in. When it was near time to bring in an aide, I changed the address on all financial stuff to my home, and while she was out with my brother, I removed all of the financial records and tax statements, check books, etc.
My family had GREAT dynamics and no trouble among the kids, so we were fortunate. But (in my case) Mom never knew that the financial stuff was gone, or that the mail no longer came to her. I just DID it.
And my DH did the same with his Mom. Truly, the dementia prohibits them from focusing and making good decisions.  Just do it is my vote -stop talking about it.
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I see two possible ways forward.....

Apply to the court to get legal guardianship. Then you have all the authority you need to handle her finances and deal with all the side issues involved with that..including interaction with doctors, etc. Gram is really going to be mad...but, something has to be done!

OR,
Find a good memory care unit for her and get her moved in. They will take over her finances and set up accounts. Plus, her bills (except the nursing home) pretty much go away.

The current situation is leaving everyone open and vulnerable to charges of elder abuse. Gram herself might start making those charges!

Time to have a family pow-wow and make some decisions.
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Sanibel; welcome!

When you say you've spoken to her doctor and gotten no where, what do you mean? That he doesn't think that anything is wrong? That nothing can be done?

Have you considered getting her to a geriatric psychiatrist for evaluation for meds to calm her agitation? That has helped many of us here. And I don't mean "doping her up".

Paranoia of the sort you mention can be a part of many kinds of dementia. Arguing, reasoning with her are not going to help.

Google "Teepa Snow" and learn some techniques for dealing with paranoia. Learn to redirect and to distract (it doesn't always work, but it's worth a shot).
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