September 6, 2018

Hands aiming a pistol

Dementia and guns: Learn more about this important issue in this article.

Continuum, providing home care services St. Louis families trust, realizes there is a heated level of debate regarding the issue of gun control. Yet in spite of which side of the fence you are on, there’s one little-mentioned situation that will cause all of us to take pause: the worrying mixture of dementia and firearms.

One third of all aging adults in the United States report possessing a firearm, and an additional 12% reside in the house of a gun owner. Bearing in mind that nearly 9% of people over age 65 have some kind of dementia (and that number is expected to more than double by the 2050), it equates to scores of seniors with dementia living with guns. Along with erratic states of confusion, aggression, as well as other challenging behaviors, having guns in the home sets the stage for possible tragedy.

When you look at the state of Washington alone, a government survey discovered that thousands of older adults (54,000) reported memory decline and confusion, in addition to access to firearms – and as many as 15,000 of these respondents reporting that the firearms that they had access to were both unlocked and loaded.

As a matter of fact, in one single year alone, a Kaiser Health News report uncovered in excess of 75 reported homicides or suicides committed by people with dementia, together with the excess cases of guns being brandished against those closest to them – family members, neighbors, caregivers. Additionally the suicide rate for older adults is greater than for any other age bracket, with guns being the most common source for senior men, according to research by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

The Alzheimer’s Association advocates for removing guns from the homes of people with dementia; however, if that isn’t a choice families are able to consider, it is important to be certain guns are stored safely – locked, unloaded, and kept separate from ammunition. Just a little imagination can go a considerable way as well – for example, exchanging real guns with toy models that permit an enthusiastic hunter to safely maintain his link with that activity.

For additional advice on keeping individuals with dementia safe, email the skilled dementia care professionals at Continuum. Our fully trained and experienced caregivers are proficient in managing some of the more challenging facets of dementia, and in identifying when a senior might be in crisis and needs medical help. Our dementia respite care services allow family caregivers the ability to rest and recharge, understanding their senior loved one is with reliable and caring hands. Contact the professional providers of the home care services St. Louis families trust at (314) 863-9912 for additional information.