At my wits end... gambling & dementia

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Linbrusco, Aug 18, 2019.

  1. Linbrusco

    Linbrusco Registered User

    Mar 4, 2013
    Auckland...... New Zealand
    #1 Linbrusco, Aug 18, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
    Sorry this is long.
    I’m not from the UK, so not sure what you can advise given different laws?
    My sister & I have contacted our national Gambling Line for advice... but throw dementia into the mix :confused::eek:

    Mum is already in care 3 yrs with end stage Alzheimers.
    Dad lives on his own ( in between my brother staying) but lives directly behind us.

    Dad 82 has mixed dementia, with many FTD traits. Has always had a gambling problem if he has money on him.
    For this fact Mum took over the finances 40 yrs ago. Dad has never had a bank card or credit card. He doesn’t know who he banks with, bank account no, or how much him & Mum have in the bank.
    I get him out a weekly cash allowance. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. He doesn’t tend to lose money, he would still know fake money from real, and trying to split his money twice a week instead of his usual Monday that Mum did for years, has caused many arguments so I keep his routine the same.

    Almost two weeks ago, Dad won money on the poker machines at his club. As a rule he goes there once a week.
    Best guess ( and from what his friend told me) about GBP 200 but has since won more.
    As a result Dad has been back to his club 11 days in the past 14. He stays 3-5 hrs at a time and knows enough to ring for a taxi there and back, but has been known to walk home. A 15 mn walk.
    He will tell you he’s not on the poker machines but playing darts or snooker with his mates. He only has 1 good friend there that goes once a week. If you ask him who these mates are he can’t name them.
    I have spoken to the Club Manager before when he did the same. She said they would limit any alcohol, and move him on from the poker machines by 3-4pm. Because they know he can’t access more money via an ATM they’re not too concerned.
    They have my contact details.

    My added concerns are:
    - Dad does not eat for the time that he is there, drinking alcohol, and nothing since breakfast.
    - Dad now has a low blood pressure issue, from sitting to standing. His GP has reduced one of his meds, but given that Dad has dementia he will deny any issue. He has had a few minor stumbles already which may be dizziness.
    - We never know when Dad will go to his club. He doesn’t tell us.
    I check up on him and next minute you see a taxi pull up and he’s away. We never know when he will be home either.
    I also work 4 days a week.
    - Dads carrying large sums of cash in his wallet.
    - Hes drawing attention to himself to the point that shortly he may he barred from any gambling there... could he then decide to go elsewhere.? At least we know where he is.
    - When I rung his club yesterday to check on him ( all the staff know him) the Bar Manager told me that lately Dad has been getting quite sarcastic & bad mannered with staff. .... this will be because of any drinking & gambling curtailed.
    - when he does get home ( after s few pints) there’s the added risk of cooking or smoking in the house.
    I have switched off his cooker at the mains before he actually knew enough to turn it on.

    Dad is not self funding for care, and doesn’t yet qualify until that crisis happens.
    He will not join any other activities, groups.
    I cannot keep tabs on him 24/7 , but I do have a meeting this week about Dad getting a tracker device on his key ring.
    It can only be activated by the Police if he goes missing.
    If I limit his gambling in some way or get his club to pay directly into his bank account , he will make my life miserable wanting his money out. :(I have authority on his bank accounts.

    Any advice here please?
  2. charlie10

    charlie10 Registered User

    Dec 20, 2018
    Hi @Linbrusco.....I don't have any experience of this but it must be so worrying for you, not to mention hard work! Does he carry a mobile phone with him? Could you use a tracker app like this I expect there are others, this was the first one I found. He probably wouldn't agree to it but if you installed it without telling him would he realise?

    Could you arrange with the club to give him a 'free'sandwich with his drinks.....or something that he really likes, to soak up some of the alcohol. It might be good for them too, as it might keep his blood sugar levels more stable and therefore his mood. And what about your local CAB.....they might be able to put you in touch with other support/advisory groups....gambling, alcohol, dementia?

    I do hope you can find some help to keep your dad safe and to take the load off you. Take care

    PS another thought is to try the police....maybe ask to talk to your neighbourhood officer and see if he has any suggestions
  3. charlie10

    charlie10 Registered User

    Dec 20, 2018
    I believe the Salvation Army also work with people with gambling problems, so they may also be another place to try for suggestions. As to anything you could do legally, CAB can probably tell you where your nearest Community Law Centre is to advise on that....but if you're thinking along the lines of making the club ban your dad, I would think that he might just go elsewhere, and, as you say, you will then be completely out of the loop so it may be a case of 'better the devil you know'.
  4. Lawson58

    Lawson58 Registered User

    So what would your dad do if you cut back his allowance? I don't believe for a moment that he is winning all the time so what happens when he runs out of money?

    i would be interested to know what sort of gambling he does. That might have some impact on what people can suggest to help you.
  5. Linbrusco

    Linbrusco Registered User

    Mar 4, 2013
    Auckland...... New Zealand
    no he doesn’t have a mobile phone or would know how to use one.
    His club has cheap cooked meals available... but Dad would not part with money intended for either a taxi home or spent on poker machines ( are they called fruit machines in the UK?)

    Eventually he will run out of the money he won. If he doesn’t win, then he’s just at his club once a week. Basically when he does win, the ability to gamble again and the lure of money is too great, until its all spent. We end up with a week or two of stress & running round after him till he does.
    The other weekend we arranged a family lunch out. Dad said he was going, then he wasn’t, then he was. 1/2 an hour before we are due to go he rings me ( my no is on speed dial) to say he’s going to his club. There was no changing his mind, and he said he wasn’t hungry anyway.
    If I cut his allowance, it would create so much aggravation for me, I avoid it at all costs.
    I already have a few stress/health related problems :(
  6. Lawson58

    Lawson58 Registered User

    It certainly is difficult and he sounds as if he is a stubborn old codger and perhaps a bit of a bully as well.

    Poker machines are designed and programmed against the player so I really can't see that he is winning too much or too often. They are notoriously addictive and you are well aware that he has no hesitation in lying to you so anything he tells you about winning should be regarded with great caution.

    It seems to me that you are stressed if he is going to the club and you are afraid that he will be really aggravated if you withhold his cash allowance, that he will make your life miserable. I am of the opinion that you really don't have much in the way of options available to you. Rock and a hard place!

    I think I would try keeping back his money and see what happens. It seems that you don't live with him and perhaps it's time you got your brother on board and gave you some help in this area. We all understand about stress but I don't think your dad's bullying can be helping too much. Get your brother to do some of the dirty work.

    I can't help but wonder what your dad would do if he did end up in care and couldn't have access to the pokies.
  7. Lynmax

    Lynmax Registered User

    Nov 1, 2016
    Gosh, what a worry for you.

    If his visits to the club are curtailed once his money runs out, then let's hope that happens soon! In the meantime, I like the idea of asking the club to provide him with "free food" because he is such a valued customer. They could bill you directly and it should help with his blood sugar levels and drinking on an empty stomach.
  8. Bod

    Bod Registered User

    Aug 30, 2013
    Does he always use the same Taxi company?
    It might be possible for them to contact you, if he goes anywhere different.
    An account for "free food" might be a way of feeding him, could be more acceptable if his mate, were to have the same. (Finances allowing)

  9. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    This sounds absolutely typical of FTD.
    You wont be able to completely stop him until he physically cant get there any more.
    There have been some good suggestions. A separate account (that he doesnt know about) with the club to provide "free" food sounds an excellent idea. I think that a tracker in case he ends up going elsewhere would be good, provided that he doesnt remove it.- you can get ones that will alert you rather than the police.

    If you can get access to his wifi account I would also put on the parental controls so that he cant access on-line gambling sites. Do it in a way that he doesnt realise what you have done. I had to do this with OH going on porn sites. He still doesnt realise that it was me that blocked the sites (I blamed an up-grade by the wifi provider)
  10. Linbrusco

    Linbrusco Registered User

    Mar 4, 2013
    Auckland...... New Zealand
    Thanks all for the suggestions.
    Yes he does use the same taxi company, so will contact them.
    Dads a creature of habit.
    I wouldn’t think he would go anywhere else, as he won’t even join any dementia clubs where he doesn’t know people.
    Even at his club, names & faces escape him, but people know him by sight and his name.

    The “free food” , will look into that also. Can’t guarantee he will eat it :rolleyes:

    @canary I’ve thought about what would happen if he was banned from his club.... I’m sure he would soon forget. o_O

    @Lawson58 yes he is stubborn, and was most definitely a bully towards my Mum. Dad lives in his own house at the back of our property.
    My brother & Dad barely tolerate each other. Dad only listens... sometimes :rolleyes: to me or my sister.
    My sister doesn’t like to rock the boat. She’s more concerned about him potentially walking home than anything else, and says we can’t take away his one enjoyment, and would be different if he had access to his bank accounts.

    Personally I’m thinking of myself as his registered caregiver and POA for health & welfare.
  11. Glokta

    Glokta Registered User

    Jul 22, 2019
    My Uncle had a lifelong gambling problem and in later life developed Parkinson’s disease and, eventually Lewy Body Dementia. He continued almost until his death, bullying my Aunt into placing bets for him, taking taxis when she refused. Eventually he started to become confused by the process of placing bets and that’s when he stopped. He died shortly afterwards. He led my Aunty a dogs life with all this, it was very hard for her, and I’m sure it’s hard for you too. The only things that worked for them was limiting access to funds and when he became so unwell he could no longer get to the door. However, he didn’t bet on slots, but on the horse racing. I’m sorry I can’t suggest anything that would help.

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