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Senior man, woman with their caregiver at home. Concept of health care for elderly old people disabled. Elderly man.

INALA Conversations: Dementia and Guns – Part Two

If an individual’s dementia has progressed to the point that conversation is not possible due to the disease or lack of judgment, than it is important that family members take action to safeguard the individual and others in the home.

In this situation, here are some tips for dealing with firearms in the home:

The best option is removal of firearms before there is a major safety concern. But if that cannot happen then consider:

  • Store all guns separately from ammunition in a secured and locked case or firearm vault.
  • Remove ammunition from the house.
  • Do not allow the person with disease to have unsupervised access.
  • If guns are in the home, other adults in the home should make it a priority to learn proper and safe handling of the guns.
  • Consider having an adult child, neighbor or friend “borrow” or “store” the guns permanently. Make sure you follow the laws on how to legally transfer gun ownership.
  • Have the guns leave the house for “professional cleaning.”
  • Have a professional disable the guns. This could still present risk if law enforcement ever becomes involved. They must act with the belief a gun is operational.
  • Go through a licensed firearms dealer if the guns are to be sold.
  • If you want law enforcement to destroy the guns and ammunition, call first and find out what is required. Do not simply walk into the station carrying the guns you want destroyed. They may want to see a statement of diagnosis from a physician and they can give you instructions on how to bring in the guns or whether they will send someone to collect the guns.
  • Indiana has a “red flag” law which allows immediate and temporary seizure of weapons from a person who poses a threat to themselves or others. Contact law enforcement anytime you think there is an imminent threat.

With appreciation to the California Central Coast Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association for most of these tips!

Resources:

https://consumer.healthday.com/cognitive-health-information-26/alzheimer-s-news-20/when-do-you-take-guns-from-someone-with-dementia-733653.html

https://www.agingcare.com/articles/should-seniors-be-allowed-to-keep-guns-169994.htm

https://www.seniorhomes.com/w/guns-in-senior-living-communities/

Aging and Thinning Skin

Is your skin becoming thinner as you age? Thin skin is a natural part of getting older, alongside wrinkles, less skin elasticity, and skin that is dry or easily damaged. While thinning skin is not reversible, there is help for thinning skin!
  • Moisturize your skin! It can make skin more flexible and less likely to break.
  • Drinking enough water helps keep the skin hydrated. Dry skin can be irritated or damaged more easily and is often less flexible.
  • Avoid anything that makes your skin red or sore. Protect yourself from the sun! You will burn more easily as your skin ages. Also, take care to avoid harsh chemicals that could damage your skin.
  • Wear long sleeves, gloves, and long skirts or trousers to help avoid bruises or tears.
  • Eat a balanced diet to help support overall health. Include plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and proteins. Vitamin E, found in foods such as almonds and avocados, can also support skin health. The fats in these foods may help to keep the skin supple.
  • Using creams that contain vitamin A, also known as retinol or retinoids, may help to prevent skin from thinning further. Your doctor can prescribe this medication or there are some over the counter products you can use. As with any medication, make sure you follow the instructions and talk to your doctor if you experience problems.
There is usually no need to see a doctor for thin skin that is caused by aging and is not presenting any health problems. If you find you are bruising or damaging your skin often, you may wish to seek medical advice.
Since specific treatment is not available for thin skin, prevention is the best option. Protecting your skin from sunlight and keeping your skin hydrated may help prevent further thinning of the skin.
Close up picture of elderly hands with young caretaker's hands

INALA Conversations: Dementia and Guns

The best time to have a conversation about firearms in the house is BEFORE there is a major safety concern!

For an individual living with dementia, gun ownership may represent security, pride in a skill gained and honed over time, treasured memories of a lifetime of gun ownership and a mark of responsible adulthood.

As dementia progresses the individual affected will experience a decline in judgment skills, memory, perception and reasoning. The individual’s ability to act safely may be impaired in a variety of situations like driving, using power tools or cooking. Just as difficult conversations may have to occur around these activities, similar conversations should happen around guns.

These can be highly emotional discussions and decisions. To get you started, you should know:

  • As dementia progresses, information and training in safe gun handling skills may fade.
  • Some people with dementia experience changes in personality and emotions.
  • Dementia affects the ability to control emotion and emotional outbursts can occur.
  • People with dementia may mistake someone they know for someone else, like an intruder.
  • Depression is common in those with dementia and can increase the risk of suicide if there is access to a means, like a firearm.
  • In later stages of dementia, people may suffer from delusions and hallucinations, some of which can be paranoid, persecutory or hostile.

You and the person experiencing dementia can come up with a plan as to how guns should be handled as the disease progresses. You might discuss a “firearms retirement or early inheritance date.” Or the person experiencing dementia might designate someone they trust to have the authority to take away their guns when the time comes.

Whatever you and your loved one chooses to do, as the disease progresses, continual reassessment of safety issues will be needed. If dementia is creating risk, neglecting to address gun safety could result in tragedy.

Resource:

https://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/news/20140721/guns-dementia#1