How do I prevent my husband with mid stage dementia from having a gun?

4 answers | Last updated: Sep 18, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My husband often has tirades of rage and last summer was taken for a 72 hour hold and evaulation on a 51/50. Our son has his guns now but my husband is insisting that they be returned.

Expert Answers

Brenda Avadian, brings knowledge, hope, and joy to family caregivers for loved ones with Alzheimer's and dementia. She cared for her father with Alzheimer's and helps families one-on-one and in groups. She is the author of eight books, including the pioneering memoir "Where's my shoes?" My Father's Walk through Alzheimer's and the Finding the JOY in Alzheimer's series. She presents vivid, compelling, and funny keynotes to both professional and family caregiving audiences.

Thank you for writing about preventing your husband with mid-stage dementia from having a gun. Given his rage and that he's been on a 72-hour hold for a psychiatric evaluation, having guns in your home could make you his next victim.

If he's angry with you for removing his guns, ask your son to talk with his father about why he now has his father's guns and what they mean to him. Make sure he thanks his dad for passing the family legacy to him and for giving him his guns.

Knowing that his son has his guns may be of comfort to your husband.

To help him remember, take photos of your son holding your husband's guns. Better yet, ask your husband to stand by his son's side while his son holds his father's guns. (Make sure all ammo is removed, first!)

When he gets angry and insists that his guns be returned, show these photos to your husband.

You want peace in your home, now. Even though his dementia will progress and he will forget his guns, these are two options.

Your husband may find it difficult to insist that his guns be returned when he was the one who gave them to his son.

Meanwhile, to remain in his good graces, show him the photos so he remembers. And if he wants his guns returned, suggest he call his son. (He may not be willing to do this.)

A final option, assuming there is no way your husband can get his hands on ammo, is to bring one of his favorite guns back into the house so he may look at it and handle it. Again, he can NOT have access to ammo. All it takes is one bullet.

Another helpful article is How do I convince my husband with dementia that he should give up his guns?

Community Answers

Clvtg answered...

I didn't mention that he is also blind so pictures wouldn't help.

Brenda avadian answered...

Re: your comment about his blindness ... consider the first and final options--have your son talk with him re: passing on your husband's legacy and consider the final option. Again, caution is the key with the final option as you must make certain he has no way of getting ammo (from a neighbor, friend, other family member, etc.); otherwise, it's all over!

A fellow caregiver answered...

Thanks for your ideas but this is probably a legal matter. He HAS dementia and cannot be easily reasoned with and cannot remember what he has agreed to do.