Older men are at high risk of suicide, and they’re far more likely to kill themselves if they have access to firearms.
Doctors should ask relatives of older people with depression or cognitive problems if there are guns in the home, much as they might ask about whether it’s time to take away the car keys, an academic paper says.
“There’s been so much attention to the role of physicians and the safety of young children when there are guns in the home,” says Marshall Kapp, a professor and director of the Center for Innovative Collaboration in Medicine and Law at Florida State University, and author of the paper. “We really haven’t seen much discussion in the physicians’ role regarding older patients.”
For decades, pediatricians have asked parents about and safe storage methods, in an effort to reduce accidental deaths and suicides among children and teenagers. But there are no similar physician policies for adults.