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“This is Not My Beautiful House” and 6 Other Warning Signs of Early Onset Dementia

While occasional moments of confusion are common and could be totally innocuous, it is worth exploring whether they could be signs of the early stages of cognitive decline. If you relate to three or more of the following scenarios, it might be time to speak with a neurologist.

You may tell yourself, “This is not my beautiful house.”

Does your house seem different, or is it the same as it ever was? Have a look around. Do you recognize the people in the photos? If the answer is “yes”, then it probably is your house. If not, it might be time to apologize to the family that does live there and make a hasty exit.

You may find yourself in another part of the world.

They say travel is good for the soul—however, it can be frightening if you have no idea where you are or how you got there. Being in such a predicament could be an early indicator of dementia. That being said, if your head hurts and your wallet is missing, you’ve probably just been bludgeoned and robbed.

You may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile.

If you suddenly realize you’re barreling down the highway in a car you don’t recognize, slowly pull off the road. Compare the name on the registration to your driver’s license. Are they the same? Good—though that means you may be experiencing dementia-related confusion. If not, it’s likely you stole the car while drunk and should probably ditch it and flee on foot.

You may find yourself living in a shotgun shack.

If you live in certain parts of the southern United States, living in the type of narrow, rectangular residence called a “shotgun house” would be no cause for alarm, as they are quite common. But if you’re unsure if you’ve ever lived in one before, perform a quick check: Do you have a Southern accent? Are you hungry for jambalaya? Do you know what chitlins are?

You may tell yourself, “This is not my beautiful wife.”

Prosopagnosia, which is the inability to recognize the faces of familiar people, can be scary to  experience. If you’re having trouble determining if the woman beside you is your wife or a total stranger, go ahead and ask her. If she screams that she’s never seen you before in her life, calmly climb out of bed and wait for the police to arrive.

You may ask yourself, “How do I work this?”

As we grow older, it’s perfectly normal to occasionally be confused by technology. It would be understandable to be asking yourself this question while trying to operate the newest iPhone. However, if you’ve been a pilot for years and are suddenly bewildered by the control panel, it may be a sign of a larger problem—not only for you, but for your passengers as well.

Additional warning signs of cognitive problems to be aware of include dressing in ill-fitting clothing, such as a comically oversized suit, or making sporadic, jerky movements that resemble some strange dance. Consider yourself fortunate if something like the above only happens to you once in a lifetime.