Seniors and Guns a bad combo. Getty Images
Guns and the Elderly – Five Questions to Ask Elderly Americans are the most likely to own a gun. Those aged 65 and older now have the highest rate of gun ownership in America and that presents both medical and legal problems for physicians and caregivers according to Dr. Ellen Pinholt writing in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
Federal law prohibits mentally incompetent persons from possessing a gun; however, this only applies to a formal finding by a court and not necessarily to a physicianÛªs diagnosis of dementia. Dr Pinholt suggests Û÷5 LÛªsÛª, questions about gun ownership, which should be asked as routinely as questions about driving.
- If there is a gun present is it Locked?
- Is it Loaded?
- Are Little children present?
- Does the gun owner feel Low?
- Is the gun owner Learned?
Elderly people also have a high prevalence of depression and suicide. Dementia can add additional layers of risk. Geriatric professionals and home health providers have a unique and increasingly important role to play, but there are no national guidelines to aid providers in assessing gun safety. More here.