Household Firearm Ownership and Storage, Suicide Risk Factors, and Memory Loss Among Older Adults: Results From a Statewide Survey

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Household Firearm Ownership and Storage, Suicide Risk Factors, and Memory Loss Among Older Adults: Results From a Statewide Survey

Category: Suicide|Journal: Annals of Internal Medicine (full text)|Author: A Gomez, A Rowhani-Rahbar, E Morgan, F Rivara|Year: 2019

The lack of significant differences in suicide risk factors and memory loss among older adults in households with and without firearms is concerning and indicates the need for action on the part of policymakers, physicians, and families to address this issue. In addition to patient–provider communication, risk-based policies on eligibility for firearm ownership reduce access to lethal means. Some states currently restrict access for persons with mental illness, but few mention dementia. As “red flag” laws continue to be adopted throughout the country, the potential risk for firearm injury among older adults with memory loss should be considered an important indication. Recently published guidelines provide recommendations on the timing and content of conversations about firearms and suggest that providers include screening questions when seeing persons with dementia. These conversations with older patients could be crucial opportunities to prevent injuries and save lives.

 

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