Armed and Aging: Should Older Adults Be Allowed to Keep Guns Once They Show Memory and Thinking Problems?
The debate surrounding gun ownership has been raging for decades, and I want to preface this article by acknowledging that seniors and guns are not a “bad” combination by default. Advancing age, by itself, should not preclude anyone from leading an independent life and enjoying their rights and privileges. However, when exercising one’s freedoms threatens others’ safety or puts oneself in danger, I do believe that some sort of intervention is necessary.
Comparing Taking Away the Car Keys and Taking Guns From Elderly Parents:I find that a simple comparison helps me wrap my head around this heavily contested topic. Many family caregivers are familiar with the dreaded process of addressing unsafe driving with aging loved ones. Whether an elder gets lost while driving, has a few fender benders or near misses, or experiences worsening eyesight or reaction time, it becomes clear at some point that they should no longer be on the road. In my opinion, guns fall into the same category as cars. Both are useful tools, but they can also be lethal, whether intentionally or accidentally.
While I’ve never owned a gun, I live in an area where hunting is a popular sport. Many households here have one or more guns used for hunting, and some people also own handguns for protection. A 2020 Gallup poll found that 32 percent of adults in the U.S. say they personally own a gun, while 44 percent say they live in a gun household.
I feel that if an elder is cognitively sound and has good eyesight and reflexes, he or she should be able to possess a firearm for hunting and self-defense. I don’t feel that age alone should be a deciding factor with guns any more than it is with driving. However, as with the ability to drive a car, the time may come for many elders when owning a gun is no longer safe. That’s when the challenge of removing this hazard arises.
When Does Gun Ownership Become Too Dangerous for Older Adults? Continuing with the comparison between the ability to safely own a firearm and drive a car, the answer to this question is very rarely…
Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories. “For anyone having to walk the last segments of life with a loved one, read this.” …Delores
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