Dementia and Firearms: an Exploratory Survey of Caregiver Needs

  • Marian E. BetzEmail author
  • Megan L. Ranney
  • Christopher E. Knoepke
  • Rachel L. Johnson
  • Rocco Pallin
  • Matthew Miller
  • Garen J. Wintemute
Concise Research Reports


The cognitive impairment and behavioral disturbances accompanying dementia can impair individuals’ ability to safely operate a car or be home alone; these issues may also increase risk of firearm injury or death, for both persons with dementia (PWD) and caregivers.1 Healthcare providers have a recognized role in providing guidance related to both driving and home safety, and materials for providers2 and the public3, 4 exist. Although firearm access in dementia has received increasing attention recently,5, 6 it is unknown whether caregivers of PWD need or want help on this topic, nor is it known how resources on firearm safety compare with driving and home safety for PWD and their caregivers.


We conducted an anonymous internet survey with a convenience sample of family members, friends, or other caregivers (hereafter referred to as “caregivers”) of PWD (2/2018–10/2018). Eligible participants were English-speaking adults who self-identified as having been a family...



Ashley Clement assisted with study preparation and posting on Alzheimer’s Trial Match. Peter Pressman assisted with participant recruitment.


This work was supported by the Paul Beeson Career Development Award Program (The National Institute on Aging; AFAR; The John A. Hartford Foundation; and The Atlantic Philanthropies; K23AG043123); The Heising-Simons Foundation (2016-219; 2017-0447); the National Institute of Mental Health (R01HD093655; R34 MH113539); the American Heart Association (18CDA34110026); and the California Wellness Foundation (2014-255).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

The Colorado Multiple Institutional Review Board approved this study.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they do not have a conflict of interest.


Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the funding agencies. No sponsor had any direct involvement in study design, methods, subject recruitment, data collection, analysis, or manuscript preparation.


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marian E. Betz
    • 1
    Email author
  • Megan L. Ranney
    • 2
  • Christopher E. Knoepke
    • 3
  • Rachel L. Johnson
    • 4
  • Rocco Pallin
    • 5
  • Matthew Miller
    • 6
  • Garen J. Wintemute
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Emergency MedicineUniversity of Colorado School of MedicineAuroraUSA
  2. 2.Department of Emergency MedicineRhode Island Hospital/Alpert Medical School, Brown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  3. 3.Division of CardiologyUniversity of Colorado School of MedicineAuroraUSA
  4. 4.Department of Biostatistics & InformaticsColorado School of Public HealthAuroraUSA
  5. 5.Violence Prevention Research Program, Department of Emergency Medicine, Davis School of MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaSacramentoUSA
  6. 6.Department of Health Sciences, Bouvé College of Health SciencesNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA

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