Need help with advise on dads gambling. He has Alzheimer's and is out of control.

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We have poa, and am trustee over the trust. But he goes through his Weeks allowance in a day. Pull tabs, lotto tickets, video poker, pull tabs. It is all he wants to do, and I wish there was a facility where he could gamble all day without spending real money because he is beyond being broken of the habit, it is the only thing that makes him happy, winning! He recently lost his drivers license, and I have care givers with him all waking hours. I want him to play video poker, he plays for hours on the iPad and is very content. Best think i did was get him an ipad with video poker. The caregivers try to keep him from blowing all his money in the pull tabs machines at the local bars, but he yells and gets physical and states it is his G.D. Money . Says he does not care if he blows it all. I am considering giving the caregivers a daily envelope, one each day, and give him his allowance in ones and fives so he feels like he has a lot of money. The neurologist just doubled his dose of seroquel. I hope that helps the aggression. The problem is these seniors with Alzheimer's are so bored and lonely. Dad can not hear well, nor is he able to follow a conversation, or tv program, or simple game. His only thrill is winning at video poker, which he can still do, or pull tabs. But he likes to sit at bars when he does this because so many people at least say hi to him, and have known him for years. I don't want to take away these things. yet. I wish there were safe gambling places for seniors like him, penny games that feel like they win big. If there was a nursing home filled with fake gambling machines I would have dad there. I know it is a sad life, but with his disease I am no longer trying to change his habit.

8 Comments

If Dad is no longer driving, how does he get to the local bars? And is there a care giver with him? Video poker is more than a simple game, and if Dad can determine the correct cards in order to win, then it sounds like he is a little more aware. Have you given some consideration to purchasing a machine so that Dad can have his own? He would have the pleasure of playing and you would feel more at ease knowing he was safe at home and not at risk of being taken advantage of or losing his allowance. Doubling the dose of Seroquel may stop the aggression, but until you see how Dad reacts on a higher dose, it might be best to keep him out of the other type of environment. Are there any senior centers near him where he might participate with others and learn to enjoy other activities? I hope your situation improves for both of you.....Alzheimer's is difficult enough without the other added stressors.
Sweetnoodlesue, I think that you are doing an absolutely splendid job in a very challenging situation. Getting the iPad was brilliant. If poker is something Dad knew how to play for years and years it is not surprising he can still do it now, even if he would not have the capacity to learn it now from scratch.

I also like your idea of giving him a daily allowance, instead of a weekly one, and giving it to him in small bills.

I hope that the medication dosage change will calm him enough to allow him to continue visiting the bars where he is known and where he gets pleasure (with a caregiver, of course.) Obviously that can't continue if it poses dangers to himself or others, but I'm sure you are keeping a watchful eye on that.

The idea of a no-cost/low-cost casino for the elderly (with or without dementia) is an interesting one. Since there isn't one down the street from Dad's house, I think you are doing great in coping with the situation.
Yes letting the caretakers take dad to the local bar that he loves so much. I think I have a plan. I know my fathers mind for the most part and all his life he has had to work and "win" and that has given him his sense of accomplishment. So I am going to buy him several cases of those nasty pull tabs and have him start winning back is own allowance. I am excited about this because it will cost so much less.

Dad can not learn new but the video poker he has done forever so it is old knowledge. I tried to reach him solitaire which he also knew, but he could not re-learn that as he did not do it as often as the video poker.
He is always with caretakers at the bar, but they don't feeel they are in charge of managing his money. Don't blame them. They are angles. What a god sent job care giver do. We are all blessed by care givers.
My dad is not dissimilar. I have found that risperdal in 1 mg doses increased as needed (my dad gets one in the am plus 3 before sleep as he is up all night). Also, I suggest that your dad go on an antidepressant like zoloft (100 mg. for seniors, start at 50 but only 100mg will cut the behavior) to cut his obsession (ocd). I'm surprised the doc didn't realize it. I suspect your dad had ocd in some form in his younger years.
Sorry- risperdal as opposed to seroquel which I don't think worked as well. also cheaper :).
I am in town with him now. Several discoveries. One I took his I pad with us to the bar and played games, solitaire mostly, while there. I acted real interested and got real excited when I got an ace ect. I did not think he understood the game but then he started reaching over and moving cards. After the third game I went to the bath room and when I cam back he was playing by himself. Hejust likes to play. He can't hear well, he can't follow conversations, but simple games after awhile he seems to be able to play. Dad is a doer, always has been. He is bored out of his mind. So I started playing farkle, cut the rope, and angry birds with him. He loved angry birds.. My new instruction for the caregivers will be to always bring his I pad wherever they go and to start playing, laughing, until dad gets interested and plays himself. It won't cut out the tabs completely but it will cut them down a lot I believe.
For your bored out of their minds seniors I have found these I pad games to be a life saver. Solitaire, video poker, farkle, angry birds, cut the rope. Dad could do angry birds himself. He liked watching cut the rope, and reached over and cut a rope now and again but it gets to hard to do by himself. Farkle confused him. It is a simple game where only 1s and 5s are points as well as 3 of a kind, and 4 of a kind doubles the points of 3 of a kind. But he stilled. Liked playing. Cognitively to me dad seems better this time then 3 months ago ... Anyone ever experience that?

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