Emmy Betz, MD, MPH, professor of emergency medicine and director of the “Firearm Injury Prevention Initiative,” University of Colorado School of Medicine, speaks on firearm related injury and suicide. In the interview, Dr. Betz shared the following for families concerned about loved ones with dementia and access to firearms:
For caregivers—once you get to the point where the older adult firearm owner perhaps is impaired and can’t make that decision themselves, for caregivers, I think it’s important to recognize a couple of things. So first, it’s the disease, not the person, that’s the problem. And emotionally, I think it can be hard, but it’s important for people to come to terms that dad or mom is not who they used to be.
And then second, really, as in suicide prevention, it’s about reducing access. There are lots of ways to do that. And we encourage caregivers to find the thing that works for them and their family, whether that’s locking firearms up, moving them out of the home, selling them or so forth, depending on what the family wants. But it’s really about making sure that impaired person doesn’t have access.
Included in this AMA Update are the following free resources for healthcare professionals and families concerned about a loved one who may be considering suicide: