Heaven at Home Senior Care, a Dallas home care provider, understands that it may be impossible to get to a final resolution regarding gun control. Regardless of one’s stance, we must be mindful of the alarming mix of Alzheimer’s (or another dementia) and firearms.
An Alarming Mix: Guns and Dementia
About 33% of all seniors in the United States reported owning a gun (9% of which are over the age of 65 and have some form dementia), and an additional 12% are living in the house of a gun owner. With erratic states of confusion, aggression, and other difficult behaviors, having guns in close proximity sets the stage for potential tragedy.
In Washington state, a government study discovered that thousands of older adults (approximately 54,000) reported memory decline and confusion, along with access to weapons. As many as 15,000 of those participants reported that the firearms in which they had access were both unlocked and loaded.
In just a year, a Kaiser Health News study revealed more than 75 reported homicides or suicides were committed by individuals with dementia. This also includes additional incidents of guns being brandished against those closest to them (i.e., family members, neighbors, and caregivers). According to research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the suicide rate for seniors is higher than for any other age group, with gun violence being the primary source.
A Creative Solution
The Alzheimer’s Association recommends restricting firearms from the homes of those with dementia. Otherwise, it is crucial for firearms to be properly stored – locked, unloaded, and separate from ammunition. A little bit of imagination goes a considerable way as well. For instance, exchanging real guns with toy models allows an individual who was once an enthusiastic hunter to safely maintain their link with that hobby.
For additional advice on protecting seniors in the Dallas area from gun-related incidents, call the skilled dementia care team at Heaven at Home Senior Care. Our properly trained and experienced caregivers are adept in managing a number of the more difficult aspects of dementia, and determining when a senior may be in crisis and require medical help. Our dementia respite care services allow family caregivers the opportunity to relax and recharge, understanding their family member is in reliable and caring hands. Contact us at 866-381-0500 for additional information.