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Wednesday, October 20, 2010; 12:00 AM

DEAR AMY: I have an elderly neighbor with whom I have always had a very good relationship.

She was very helpful to me when my husband passed away.

My present husband and I have always been helpful in return. I am a nurse and have helped her out on many occasions. My husband has been helpful around her yard.

She is a widow, and I think that she is demonstrating the early signs of Alzheimer's disease.

She is now very angry with us because a "friend" related a conversation about her that we had with some other people in town.

This friend completely twisted the conversation around, and rather than consider our friendship and all the good deeds we have performed, she has chosen to yell at us across the driveway, etc.

I am upset about this and very worried about her.

It is very unpleasant to say the least, especially since my neighbor on the other side is my husband's ex-wife (that's a story for another letter).

What can I do without making a difficult situation worse? -- Monkey in the Middle

DEAR MONKEY: Just because your neighbor is behaving badly doesn't necessarily mean that she has dementia.

Maybe she's just really angry with you and expressing it in an inappropriate way.

Because you seem like a nice person -- as well as a great neighbor-- you should offer her an explanation and apology for your own behavior.

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