tl;dr: My hot tempered grandmother has gotten even more short fused and unpredictable with age, which has lead to conflict with my mother (who lives with her) and me (who lives abroad but calls weekly). How can I address the conflict without harming the relationship?
I love my grandmother. She had a great role to play as I grew up. However, as time passes, the effect of age brings issues that I find very hard to deal with.
The most important aspects to remark are, as I see it: - I've been living abroad for a couple of years, but I've made it a point to call home once per week (more than that is not possible due to time difference and technical constraints). My mother lives with her. I was visiting home a couple of months ago. - Her memory fades. She remembers us and some things (like the fact that I'm abroad), but she forgets the names of things and often what we've said. - She tends to draw dramatic consequences from prosaic events. For instance, if I call earlier than the last few times, she will assume I had an accident or something along the lines. - She doesn't hear well, and often pretends to have understood when in fact she didn't. My mother is often nearby and helps her in such cases, and I got her some good noise-isolating headphones, but it is still a major obstacle.
It is often enough that I tell her about my week and reassure her whenever she has some misled fear. However, occasionally it is not. Last time I was visiting, I offered to cook sometimes (periodically, but sporadically, every Sunday for instance). It was at first welcomed and even praised, but once she decided that it meant we were forcing her to eat a specific thing and refused to eat. My mother tried to remark that it was a rude thing to do, and my grandmother entered a self-deprecating state where she claims she is a burden.
Just yesterday, I was in the middle of our usual conversation with my mother, after which I would normally talk to my grandmother. Apparently my mother took the call from another room as she uses to and my grandmother interpreted that as a red flag. As my mother tried to minimize the fact and explained that it was just circumstantial, my grandmother assumed we were hiding information from her and refused to take the call. After some attempt of mediation, she took it, rudely asked for news and left after a minute. I was absolutely confused and couldn't think of anything to keep her on the phone for longer. My mother also reproached her behaviour this time, remarking that her (my grandmother's) words may be hurtful for us, who love her.
I try to understand all the complexity that comes with age, and hope to find a way to reduce the stress and anxiety on my grandmother. However, this is passing a toll on my mother's nerves and mine. We don't know how to address these scenarios and whenever they come they ruin everyone's mood and peace.
So, finally, my question is:
How could my mother and I prevent these reactions from my grandmother from escalating, ideally while also preventing them to happen often in the future?
Edit 1: As requested in the comments, I update the question to remark that it has been a problem for years and, throughout that time, her doctors have dismissed the situation as "normal for her age" and never pointer to Alzheimer's.