You would be surprised how often I hear from concerned caregivers for loved ones living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia who have in their home open access to a firearm. Unfortunately, gun ownership is like so many aspects of living with dementia; we often don’t think much about it until we are confronted with a crisis.
Dementia erodes good judgment, reduces cognition, slows reflexes, and impairs the senses, including vision, hearing, manual dexterity, and fine motor skills. In short, dementia attacks every faculty or skill that we need to safely handle firearms.
According to Pew Research, we have in Florida 16 registered firearms per capita. We also have an estimated 577,000 citizens living with dementia, which places us second only to California, which has three times our population. One statistic seems to have nothing to do with the other, but together they add up to a potentially serious problem.
Let me interject right here that we are not embarking on an argument against guns. Firearms may become more dangerous in a home where someone is living with dementia, but the same thing can be said for automobiles, knives, electrical appliances, and household chemicals.
Whether it is firearms or something else, in every case it comes down to two simple words: “awareness” and “planning.” But immediacy is in order. Putting it off until confronted with a crisis is not planning! And ignoring a potential problem can be fatal.
Fortunately, there is a Florida non-profit called Dementia Education Inc. that has just published a new book entitled “Dementia and Firearm Safety.” It contains writings by a variety of experts that includes Certified Dementia Practitioners, an attorney who specializes in Gun Trusts, an award-winning target shooter who has made firearms safety a family affair, a retired law enforcement officer, and a licensed firearms dealer. Their collective knowledge is brought together to suggest a variety of ways you and your loved one with dementia can plan to remain safe when there are firearms in your home.
“Dementia and Firearm Safety” is available at Amazon for $9.95. It can also be found at HNR Gun Works in Inverness, and hopefully soon at other firearms dealerships in the area. It is an easy read; you can learn a lot in no time. If you own firearms and are caring for a loved one living with dementia; start your planning now! Don’t wait until you are confronted with a dangerous and possibly lethal situation.
Start the discussion today.
Until next time remember: “We all deserve the Best”
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