THURSDAY, July 23, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Few caregivers of adults with Alzheimer disease and related dementias (ADRD) receive professional counseling about firearm safety, according to a study published online July 15 in JAMA Network Open.

Marian E. Betz, M.D., M.P.H., from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, and colleagues examined views on firearm safety risks among caregivers of persons with ADRD. Nationally representative estimates of adults living in households with firearms were generated to assess the firearm safety views of adults aged 35 years and older; 124 were caregivers to an adult with ADRD and 3,408 were not.

The researchers found that 71 percent of participants thought that a person with ADRD was more likely to hurt someone else unintentionally than to hurt themselves or someone else intentionally. Participants thought health care professionals should always (45 percent) or sometimes (34 percent) talk about firearm safety with caregivers or patients with dementia; only 5 percent of caregivers reported ever being spoken to about firearm safety by a health care professional. Thirty-one percent of the 41 percent of caregivers who lived with a person with dementia said that the person with dementia could access firearms in the house.

“Experiences with health care professional counseling and desired sources of information indicate the need for further work to encourage routine firearm safety counseling and easy access to information and resources from trusted sources,” the authors write.

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