How to get Dad interested in something other than buying lottery scratch tickets?

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Dad has dementia and a host of other health problems. The only thing that keeps him interested in living is buying lottery scratch tickets and having a big stack of cash in his pocket. He doesn't drive so we take him out. Considering this is the only activity that he looks forward to, we don't want to say no. However he is spending far more than his monthly income on the lottery. We've tried to redirect him to other activities - going to senior centers, browsing antique stores (he used to enjoy this with mom), or just going for walks, but he doesn't want to. We've tried to at least reduce what he spends, but when we take him out, if he sees a convenience store, he asks to stop to buy lottery tickets. If we don't he gets angry and he'll stay angry for days and becomes obsessed with getting to the lottery store. Has anyone else had this issue, or any ideas on how to redirect his interests? Thank you!

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I'd say he's got an addiction. Playing the lottery is a form of gambling. The obsession with buying scratch-off tickets, and the anger he's exhibiting if he's not allowed to do so fits in with a gambling addiction.
It's not unusual for senior citizens to become addicted to buying lottery tickets. It's the dream of a big win, giving them the ability to do the things they've always wanted, and to leave a nice inheritance for their children that appeals to them, and then it become a habit.
People think playing the lottery is just a harmless little past-time, and for most people it is. But for some it can get out of control.
If your father can't control his lottery-ticket spending, and stews for days in an angry sulk when he's denied access to more tickets, then it's not a harmless little hobby.
If he spent the money on travel, or going out to dine with a friend it would be different. He'd be seeing new sights, socializing, getting out of himself. That would be "finding his bliss," as Maggie Marshall put it.
Obsessing over where his next scratch-off ticket is coming from isn't making him happy. No matter how many dollar tickets you buy him, he's not going to be satisfied. Talk to someone who understands gambling addiction.
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How bad is dad's dementia? I'm thinking not too bad if you trust him to check the lottery tickets to see whether or not he's won anything. Just a small, possibly irrelevant, point -- something that immediately popped into my head. Dementia effects everyone differently, but the reason I wonder that is because mom long ago lost her ability to read...tell time...even follow a TV program.

If your dad were spending that same amount of money (you don't mention how much) on senior center travel trips or something else more fruitful, would you still feel the same way? If you can answer, "Yes," to that, then I think you need to rein him in a bit. Give him a monthly limit. YOU go in and buy the tickets for him and buy dollar ones. More scratching to do. ;)

If, however, you answered, "Well, no, not really," then I think you should leave him alone. Be grateful he's found his bliss . . . some dementia'd people NEVER do . . . and for every birthday, Christmas and Father's Day, be glad you know the PERFECT present to buy for him. ;)
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I like to say with a dementia patient, treat every change in mental status as a symptom.
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No we haven't talked to his doctor about this and he hasn't seen a geriatric psych. I hadn't even thought that this could be related to his meds. He's always bought scratch tickets, but in the past he understood that he needed to control it. But now this seems to be the only thing he lives for. We had to take away his car, move him back to Massachusetts to be near us from Florida where he was alone. It's been hard for him so to take this one last thing away, it would be almost cruel. But on the other hand, what's keeping him somewhat independent is that his monthly income can provide for private care. But that will not last long at this rate. We will talk to the doctor and see what he says. Thank you
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Have you mentioned this to his doctor?I'm wondwonder about this from two angles; there is is a side effect from some Parkinson drug that can trigger compulsive gambling, but I also wonder if this could be a symptom of depression, anxiety, ocd and the like. Does he see a geriatric psychiatrist?
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