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Some posters have said their parents have been addicted to gambling. I am curious why facilities take the elderly to casinos on a bus for a day trip.


How does this work? Do they limit the amount of money they spend? Are the facilities concerned about addiction?

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In the end, it's really not up to 'us' how our parents choose to spend their money, or what foods they choose to eat, or if they want to drink wine or cocktails, or if they enjoy gambling at casinos. As much as we try to micromanage their lives, we can't. And we should stop. We had a 93 year old poster named Laura here the other day leaving a comment to the "My 99 y/o mother gained 20 lbs eating chocolate" post and what she had to say was rather profound. It gave me a whole new perspective on how NOT to treat my mother like a child. She isn't a child. She's 93 years old herself and entitled to live life as she sees fit, at least to some degree. Here is a link to that thread for anyone who's interested:

https://www.agingcare.com/questions/my-99-year-mother-has-become-addicted-to-chocolate-and-has-gained-over-20-lbs-in-the-last-2-months-455347.htm?orderby=recent

That said, they do NOT take dementia residents who live in Memory Care to casinos. Of course that would be ridiculous. Some regular ALFs DO take the residents who WANT TO GO to the casinos, and of course they don't limit their spending! Just as they do not limit what they eat or even how much they drink at happy hour on Fridays (which they have at my mother's ALF). One lady gets plastered on wine every Friday, but that's her right as well. Sometimes she has to be walked back to her room after happy hour is over, even. But hey, that's her choice again.

If I live to 90 or 93 or 99, I will be damned if my children are going to tell me what to do, what to eat or not eat, or whether or not I am allowed to go to a casino. Their 'inheritance' isn't their inheritance, either, until I'm dead, meaning I am free to spend my money however I'd like. If a person can 'afford' Assisted Living, they can surely 'afford' to waste a little MORE money in the casino once in a while!!!
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NeedHelpWithMom Feb 16, 2020
I agree if someone can afford it. There shouldn't be a problem. You have more insight as to what happens, Lealonnie, because you work at a facility. It's always good to hear your input.
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The saddest experience I’ve had recently has been in a casino. We went for a concert that was onsite, but I got a good look at the many elderly there. Sorry to judge by appearances, but many appeared disadvantaged, poor, and some quite out of it. The casino staff was obviously overly solicitous toward them, easy to see the casino as the best place they’d go all week as they were fawned over. There are constant loud announcements that if you need credit it’s easily available. Just keep playing. I know many assisted living facilities do day trips to casinos, I think it’s ethically questionable at best. Same facilities wouldn’t hesitate a bit to kick out a resident that couldn’t pay their rent but encourages poor decisions by a vulnerable population
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NeedHelpWithMom Feb 16, 2020
Yeah, I have thought about the same thing with the lottery. Do rich people buy lotto tickets? Or is it only people who would like to win money? Sometimes we do hear about a rich people winning a powerball prize. Well, I guess we all have heard of rich people loosing all of their money gambling too. So addiction can happen to anyone, rich or poor.
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Actually, I have a story about a dementia resident where I work (in a Memory Care community) who loved to go the casinos in the mountains. She was late stage Alzheimer's. Her husband would come & take her every Thursday, weather permitting, to the casino to eat lunch at the buffet and to play the nickel slot machines, which she loved. She most often won. When they'd get back, Fred would pull off his baseball cap and show me the winning ticket he'd had under there. The last time they went, it read $1200.00 that she'd won. He was always very pleased that she'd eaten so well from the buffet, and proudly tell me what she'd had.

All of a sudden, she went dramatically downhill one day about a month ago, probably due to a stroke. She became wheelchair bound, was totally silent, and began to drool. Within 2 weeks she passed away. The last great memory Fred had was that last Thursday he'd taken his beloved wife to the casino to play the nickel slot machines.
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cwillie Feb 16, 2020
What a sweet story!
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I see no reason why elders can’t continue to do the things they like just because they are in an assisted living facility. It’s not like their life is ending. it’s their money, their life. Let them live a little more before they die.
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I've never heard of such a thing. A really stupid idea in my opinion. There has to be a more wholesome activity they could participate in.
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NeedHelpWithMom Feb 16, 2020
It is very common here. They load them up on a bus. Doesn’t matter if they can’t walk. They are in wheelchairs, use walkers and even have oxygen tanks.
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Fine if no one is memory-impaired. POA family members should be presented with a waiver to sign. Otherwise, it’s like giving a five-year old the keys to your car, or a pen with your checkbook, a box of matches and a pile of important documents...I think you catch my drift?
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I would be opposed to it - gambling and dementia - what could go wrong?
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worriedinCali Feb 16, 2020
Many people in AL don’t have dementia though.
you seem to assume that everyone there does.
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Please remember ALs have many residents without any cognitive impairments and lots with only mild memory or cognitive problems. AL activity trips include weekly shopping trips to local malls and festivals where there are also opportunities to overspend. There are even coin operated "games" I consider gambling at the bowling alley!

A bus day trip to a casino can be a lot of fun. First, getting out and seeing the sites during the bus ride. Second, socialization during the bus trip and meal/restroom stops. Third, those residents not wanting to gamble can attend a show. Most of the residents in the AL adjacent to my father's MC actually went on these twice a year trips for the shows and maybe play a few slots.

The AL I know about did allow residents with MCI to attend casino trips; however, there were safeguards in place. One, the AL required residents to decide how much money they wanted to spend at the casino and for meals prior to the trip and loaded debit cards (one for casino and one for off bus meals); residents agreed not to take other credit or bank cards. Please realize Medicaid residents use their monthly allotment or family support to fund these trips. The AL also has activity money funded by fees and donations that were occasionally used to fund trips for residents who could not otherwise afford them. Total cost for two restaurant meals and two 90 minute casino shows and some snacks plus $10 for slots was $100. Two, by agreement the casino only accepted the debit cards and did not extend credit offers to the AL residents. Typical schedule was bus leaving AL around 8:30, stopping for a brunch around 10:30, arriving at the casino around noon and departing around 4:00, stopping for an early supper around 4:30, and arriving back at the AL around 8:00p. It was a full day and almost everyone slept during the bus ride back to the AL. It's like a field trip for seniors.
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TNtechie Feb 16, 2020
I guess I approve of these trips... since I sponsor the trips for two Medicaid AL residents without family support each year. It's one of their few opportunities to get out of the AL for a significant block of time. The local church which sponsors their other activity trips throughout the year will not cover the casino trips because of the gambling angle. I just think when you're old and have already given up your home and lost most of your family and friends you deserve a day out with the group to have some fun.
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We have a lot of casinos opening up here in upstate New York. They take people by the bus loads to the casino . I hate it. I wish they would do away with casinos and bingo!!!!
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NeedHelpWithMom Feb 16, 2020
It would be wonderful if there was a test to see who was going to become addicted to gambling.
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My nephew#2 worked security at the local casino, he said the place was full of old people. It's big and shiny and exciting and as long as you aren't a fool about it you can spend the day and and have something to eat at a cost comparable to any other entertainment.
Not to mention it is super easy for the facility, all they need to provide is the transportation.
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