Alzheimers Disease and other Cognitive Disorders
Basic Information
Introduction & Causes of Cognitive DisordersDementiaAlzheimer's DiseaseOther Cognitive DisordersDementia Coping Skills & Behavior ManagementTraumatic Brain Injury (TBI)Conclusion and Resources
More InformationLatest News
Alzheimer's May Strike Women and Men in Different WaysHistory of Mental Illness Tied to Earlier Onset of Alzheimer's DiseaseAHA News: Black, Hispanic Families Hit Hardest by DementiaWhy Some 'Super Ager' Folks Keep Their Minds Dementia-FreeDementia Seen in Younger Adults Shows Even More Brain Damage Than Alzheimer'sToo Little Sleep Could Raise Your Dementia RiskSpecialist Care for Alzheimer's Is Tough to Find for Poorer, Rural AmericansTony Bennett's Struggle With Alzheimer's RevealedFluid-Filled Spaces in the Brain Linked to Worsening MemoryCOVID Vaccine Advised for Alzheimer's Patients, Their CaregiversAphasia Affects Brain Similar to Alzheimer's, But Without Memory LossCaregivers Feeling the Strain This Tough Holiday SeasonYears Before Diagnosis, People With Alzheimer's Lose Financial AcumenCould Dirty Air Help Speed Alzheimer's?Strong Sleeping Pills Tied to Falls, Fractures in Dementia PatientsAnxiety Might Speed Alzheimer's: StudyPre-Op 'Brain Games' Might Prevent Post-Op DeliriumDoes Hard Work Help Preserve the Brain?Staying Active as You Age Not a Guarantee Against DementiaSmog Tied to Raised Risk for Parkinson's, Alzheimer's DiseasePoor Brain Blood Flow Might Spur 'Tangles' of Alzheimer'sIs Apathy an Early Sign of Dementia?A-Fib Treatment Reduces Patients' Dementia RiskFall Risk Rises Even in Alzheimer's Early StagesPTSD May Be Tied to Greater Dementia RiskNew Research Links Another Gene to Alzheimer's RiskIs Rural Appalachia a Hotspot for Alzheimer's?Why Are Dementia Patients Getting Risky Psychiatric Drugs?Get Dizzy When Standing Up? It Could Be Risk Factor for DementiaCan Seniors Handle Results of Alzheimer's Risk Tests?More Education May Slow Start of Early-Onset Alzheimer'sUnder 50 and Overweight? Your Odds for Dementia Later May Rise9/11 First Responders Have Higher Odds for Alzheimer's: StudyCould the Flu Shot Lower Your Risk for Alzheimer's?Will Your Brain Stay Sharp Into Your 90s? Certain Factors Are KeyMany Americans With Dementia Live in Homes With GunsBrain's Iron Stores May Be Key to Alzheimer'sHormones May Explain Greater Prevalence of Alzheimer's in WomenMiddle-Age Obesity Linked to Higher Odds for DementiaCould Crohn's, Colitis Raise Dementia Risk?5 Healthy Steps to Lower Your Odds for Alzheimer'sCOVID-19 Brings New Challenges to Alzheimer's CaregivingAlzheimer's Gene Linked to Severe COVID-19 RiskHealthier Heart, Better Brain in Old AgeAHA News: Hearing Loss and the Connection to Alzheimer's Disease, DementiaBrain Plaques Signal Alzheimer's Even Before Other Symptoms Emerge: StudyCertain Gene Might Help Shield At-Risk People From Alzheimer'sHow to Connect With Nursing Home Patients in QuarantineHow to Ease Loved Ones With Alzheimer's Through the PandemicCaring for Dementia Patient During Pandemic? Try These Stress-Busting Tips
Questions and AnswersVideosLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Aging & Geriatrics
Memory Problems
Elder Care

Many Americans With Dementia Live in Homes With Guns

HealthDay News
by By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Jul 16th 2020

new article illustration

THURSDAY, July 16, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Many people with dementia may have access to a gun in their home, yet few families have gotten advice from a doctor on how to handle the situation, a small new study finds.

In the United States, somewhere between 39% and 49% of older adults live in a home with firearms, the researchers said. Meanwhile, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

Exactly how often those two realities intersect is not clear. It's difficult to get good data on how many people with dementia have access to a firearm, said study author Dr. Emmy Betz.

Given that, it's also unclear how often that ends in harm to dementia patients or others, according to Betz, an associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of Colorado's School of Medicine.

While numbers are hard to come by, the Alzheimer's Association has long recognized that firearm safety is important, said Beth Kallmyer, vice president of care and support for the association.

"Families need to be aware of it as a safety issue, and it would be great if doctors were bringing it up as part of safety planning," Kallmyer said.

The Alzheimer's Association has created a safety checklist for doctors with questions to ask families, she noted. The topic of firearms is included.

In the latest study, however, few family caregivers said their doctor had broached the subject.

Betz said that for families and doctors, safety issues like driving are often top of mind.

"But firearm safety has flown a bit under the radar," she said.

The study, published July 16 in JAMA Network Open, included 124 people who were caregivers to someone with dementia. All were participants in a larger, national study of Americans living in homes with a firearm.

In cases where caregivers lived with a dementia patient, one-third said there was access to firearms in the home. Of all caregivers, most thought doctors should talk about firearm safety -- but only 5% said that had ever happened.

There are a number of reasons to be concerned about dementia patients having access to firearms, according to Betz and Kallmyer.

As the disease progresses, confusion, impaired judgment, agitation and even physical violence can all become issues, Betz said. So if, for example, a health care worker is coming to the home -- and could be seen as an intruder by the person with dementia -- gun access is worrying.

People with more advanced dementia can also fail to recognize a family member or friend, Kallmyer said. If they believe a stranger has entered their home, she noted, there's a chance they will go for the gun if it's around.

"We generally recommend firearms be removed from the home," Kallmyer said.

Locking the firearm and ammunition away in hidden locations, or having the gun disabled, are other options. But, Kallmyer noted, that does not guarantee the firearm won't be found. And even if the gun cannot be fired, she added, simply the appearance of the person with dementia holding a gun can be trouble -- especially if it's directed at someone from outside the household, or if law enforcement is involved, for example.

Ideally, Betz said, discussions about firearms should happen earlier in the course of dementia. If a family member with the disease is a gun owner, ask them what should be done with the firearms as the dementia progresses. They may, for instance, want a family member to inherit them.

Passing the firearm on can also be a strategy in cases where someone with more advanced dementia does not want to part with it, according to Kallmyer. "You might say, 'Hey, maybe you'd like to give that to your grandson to take care of?'" she said.

"This is not about confiscation or about gun control," Betz stressed. "And we're not trying to say older people with firearms are the coming menace."

Instead, she said, firearm issues should be seen as part of the overall safety plan for people with dementia.

If families need help with disabling a firearm, or want information on how to sell or give away a gun, local law enforcement or a gun retailer can be good resources, Betz said.

Advice is also available, Kallmyer said, at the Alzheimer's Association's 24-hour helpline: 800-272-3900.

More information

The Alzheimer's Association has advice on firearm safety.


Amazon Smile


Children and Adult services are available now with no wait time.  

Please contact HBH at 860-548-0101, option 2.


powered by centersite dot net