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Study: One-third of Americans with Alzheimer's have access to guns

Gun-rights supporters hand out rifle magazines at a rally in Vermont
Posted at 8:55 AM, Jul 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-22 08:55:50-04

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.

About a third of people with Alzheimer's disease have access to a firearm in their home, according to a newly published survey of caregivers.

Few caregivers, however, have discussed what to do when their loved ones are unfit to handle the guns.

Experts say even if the person has past experience with guns, his or her current abilities will be altered because the safe use of firearms requires complex cognitive abilities and quick decision-making skills, which may be compromised due to dementia.

You can find tips on how to keep your loved one with dementia safe here.

Up to half of older adults in the United States live in a home with firearms, statistics have shown. Among that population, the greatest risk for firearm misuse is for suicide.

Yet less than 20% of the caregivers in the survey, published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Network Open, were worried about their loved one with Alzheimer's intentionally injuring themselves or others. Instead, nearly 70% of the caregivers indicated their greatest concern was accidental injury by gun misuse.