How to Have ‘The Talk’ With Aging Parents About Their Guns

How to Have ‘The Talk’ With Aging Parents About Their Guns

As it stands right now, there are no set restrictions or screening tools for older adults with dementia or other cognitive impairments and their ownership of guns. While seniors should still have the right to own the guns they’ve probably had their whole lives, it is not a bad idea to sit down and have a conversation with them about gun safety. We mainly focus on safety of guns around children and young adults, but there has been little focus on the older population, who may or may not having declining cognitive abilities and firearms in the home.

These concerns are especially alarming with seniors who have dementia in the later stages, involving aggression, paranoia, and suicide.

To combat these potential threats, families and doctors should be ready to speak to patients about their gun ownership and possible “retirement dates” for guns. A person with cognitive impairment may not necessarily need to have their weapons taken from them and they may not pose a threat to direct violence, but they may also be more prone to failing to properly secure guns in the home, allowing access to children and young adults. The discussion may be difficult to present to someone, but it may save a life because gun tragedies are irreversible.

Key Points:

  • 11 out of 3 people over age 65 own a gun in the united states.
  • 2There are no laws prohibiting people with dementia from buying a gun.
  • 3Make sure guns are safely stored to prevent accidents from occuring.


Up to 12 million Americans with dementia could be living in a household with a gun by 2050, researchers estimate.
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