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If you are 55+ and want to stay active, connected to the community and meet new friends, Good Neighbours Active Living Centre may be the place for you. Are you looking to stay active or get in shape? Try one of our fitness classes. Are you interested in exploring your creative side? We offer painting, craft workshops and woodcarving. Would you like to share your love of music with others? Good Neighbours has a Choristers group and a variety of instructor-led music classes. Would you like information on issues affecting those 55+? We offer a variety of presentations on healthy living, financial planning and community resources. For more information, check out our website at www.gnalc.ca or call us at 204-669-1710.

When a Senior Loved One Has a Gambling Problem
Sad Elderly Man

 

Gambling is a huge industry in Canada. Casino gambling is more popular than ever.

Seniors enjoy bingo, racetrack betting—and especially, casino gambling. Retirement-aged consumers are an especially desirable demographic for the gaming industry because they fill the floors during off-peak hours. Casinos market to them aggressively, offering discounted meals, ‘Golden Oldies’ entertainment shows, and complimentary shuttle service.

For many seniors, gambling is harmless entertainment. They hop on the casino shuttle, socialize with others and casino staff, bet a few dollars and take advantage of senior discounts on meals, drinks and perhaps a show. They’ve set aside part of their entertainment budget for gambling, and they stop when they reach their limit.  However, some older adults develop a gambling problem that seriously impacts their financial well-being.

What is problem gambling?

Problem gambling—also referred to as gambling addiction, pathological gambling or a gambling disorder—happens when a person becomes obsessed with gambling and has an uncontrollable urge to keep gambling. According to the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling, “For the problem gambler, making a bet is not just about having fun or winning money. Gambling becomes an emotional response to change the way they feel.” In addition, warns the NCPG, a person might have a gambling problem if they are:

  • Bragging about gambling, exaggerating wins and minimizing losses
  • Restless and irritable when not gambling
  • Gambling in hopes of winning back what they have lost
  • Borrowing money for gambling
  • Lying to hide time spent gambling or unpaid debts
  • Doing something illegal to get money for gambling
  • Jeopardizing a significant relationship or job by gambling

Why are seniors at higher risk?

The NCPG explains that boredom, isolation, depression and cognitive impairment affect judgment and make it harder for senior gamblers to stick to their limit. Seniors on a fixed income—who can little afford to gamble away their money—might hope that they will strike it rich and improve their financial situation. In addition to the signs above, family may notice that their loved one has withdrawn from the activities they used to enjoy. Possessions may have disappeared from their loved one’s home, and their loved one is vague about what happened. A senior may be neglecting their personal needs—food, medical care, or exercise. And here’s a sign experts often cite as a red flag: Seniors with a gambling addiction show little interest in the buffet, entertainment or social aspects of a casino trip, instead heading straight for their “lucky machine” and settling in.

What can family do?

The first step is to review the warning signs of problem gambling to get a better picture of whether your loved one has a problem. You can’t step in merely because you don’t approve of gambling, or you think Mom should spend her entertainment money somewhere else.

The next step is to determine whether there are medical reasons behind the problem. Gerontologists say problem gambling might be a sign that a senior is dealing with early Alzheimer’s disease or other cognitive impairment that impairs judgment and impulse control. The side effects of some medications also can make a senior more susceptible to compulsive gambling. For example, certain drugs prescribed to control the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease have been linked to impulse control—including pathological gambling. Urge your loved one to be evaluated by a healthcare provider to rule out or diagnose these problems.

Having a conversation about problem gambling can be very difficult. Your loved one may resist talking about it and may insist that there isn’t a problem. Assure them that you have their best interests in mind, and that you want to help, not judge. Encourage your loved one to talk to a professional. Treatment is available for gambling addiction and includes support groups, psychotherapy and sometimes medication. Consider bringing in a geriatric care manager (also called an aging life care specialist) to mediate the conversation and to help you locate treatment resources. Talk to your loved one’s financial manager, or consult an elder law attorney. Sometimes, if a senior is no longer able to manage their money, families must take a larger role. (Read “Stepping In, Stepping Up: Legal Issues for Family Caregivers” in the August 2016 issue of the Caring Right at Home newsletter to learn more. A poll in that issue found that many Caring Right at Home readers have held a durable power of attorney or guardianship for a senior loved one at some point.)

Not every gambling habit rises to the level of addiction. A senior who goes to the casino several times a week to stave off boredom and loneliness might find even more mental stimulation and companionship through a senior recreation program, volunteer service, events at their faith community, or taking a class. Help your loved one locate appropriate activities in the area. If your loved one has become isolated due to mobility challenges, consider hiring home care to provide companionship and transportation. Even computer games can be a substitute for folks who enjoy relaxing with a machine—and as a bonus, these games offer far more mental stimulation and brain exercise than a slot machine.

Visit Right at Home Canada

New Year, New Love

Is one of your New Years’ Resolutions to find a loving, meaningful relationship? In a world with more than 7.28 billion people, finding love should be an easy task. As humans, we tend to complicate things, especially when our emotions are imprinted by our relationship history. If the methods you have used in the past to find love have not worked for you, then it is time to change things up. It’s a new year, why not try something different? A professional matchmaker handpicks potential partners who are screened and presented to you one by one. Their intentions have been determined and many of the important compatibility factors have already been established.

Product Review: RC Essential Oil

This time of year brings new memories and resolutions, but sometimes may also bring discomfort to your respiratory system.
RC Essential Oil blends the scents of cypress, spruce and eucalyptus to provide a refreshing aroma to the air in any office or home. RC promotes a restful sleep when diffused in a bedroom. It also provides an invigorating experience when added to a bath or shower. When applied to the throat or chest RC also promotes a refreshing respiratory experience.

Benefits of Blue Light-Blocking Glasses

Exposure to artificial light at the wrong times of day is one of the largest often-overlooked health risks of living in the 21st century. Blocking blue light serves an important biological purpose, helping to regulate your internal clock to control sleep patterns and other body functions; avoiding blue light at night is crucial to protecting your health. One of the least expensive and simplest ways to protect your body’s internal rhythm, and thereby support healthy sleep and a lowered risk of many chronic diseases, is to wear blue-light-blocking glasses at night.

Purify Your Home

Here in Canada, due to our colder climate, we tend to seal our homes and buildings with deadly precision. We use the term “deadly” because there is a possibility of over 1500 invisible and potentially toxic substances contaminating your air space right now, Isn’t it time you took control over what you’re breathing? With active purification technologies such as ionization, UV light and Activated Oxygen; we can now effectively remove smoke, odours, allergens, bacteria and viruses! Purifiers such as the pureAir 500C are effective solutions that have a whisper quiet fan when running.

Keep Balance This Season

The winter season is a wonderful time to spend more time with family and eat lots of great food! These are lovely activities, but it is also important to remember to keep balance between eating, relaxing, and being active. It can be easy to incorporate physical activity into the day while still spending time with loved ones. Here are some simple ideas to get you started: skating, tobogganing, taking a walk to see the festive lights, or going for a mall-walk to start your new fitness routine. So enjoy your time and balance it all out with some physical activity!

Learn to Master Self-Compassion

’Tis the season for New Year’s resolutions. This year, why not try something a bit different? Commit yourself to the cultivation of self-compassion. Research demonstrates a strong link between self-compassion, health, and wellness. Indeed, many experts believe it to be fundamental to good mental health. Cultivate self-compassion through a positive daily mantra. Write a kind letter to yourself at the end of each week, by taking the perspective of a loving friend. Once you’ve mastered self-compassion, turn your attention to others. Showing compassion for others is a surefire way to create happiness in your life.

Make Social Interaction a Priority
social interaction

 

Maintaining relationships and spending time with others is essential to our emotional and mental well-being. It can help prevent depression, which affects 20% of the population over 70 years of age. Plan regular get-togethers with friends, such as a weekly lunch date or coffee with another senior or loved one. Scheduling social interactions gives us something to look forward to on a regular basis. For those who are truly adventurous, you can enjoy new experiences and meet new people by signing up for travel tours, book clubs, and much more at your local community centre.

Visit Right at Home Canada

Product Review: Kyäni Sunrise™

Kyäni Sunrise™, is a blend of Superfoods, vitamins, and trace minerals. Taken in the morning, it provides a rich blend of antioxidants that help defend against free radical damage. Kyäni Sunrise™ contains juices and extracts from some of the world’s most potent antioxidant sources, including: Wild Alaskan Blueberries, Concord and White Grapes, Red Raspberries, Pomegranate, Cranberries, Aloe Vera, Maqui and Amla Berries, Gooseberries, Ginseng, Kale, Brocolli, Ashwaganda, Spinach, Mangosteen, Acai, Aronia and Wolfberries. Natural ingredients your body needs to support heart health, healthy blood sugar levels, mental health, and immune system… all in one little pouch!

Save Your Back This Winter

One of the most common causes of back pain during the winter months is snow shoveling. Are you shoveling snow properly?
Improper technique: bending down at the waist to scoop the snow onto your shovel and then twisting at the trunk to throw the snow to the side.
Proper technique: pushing the snow forward and then position your body so that you are facing the spot where you want to dump the snow. Bend from the knees into a semi-lunge position to scoop the pile of snow onto your shovel and dump the snow directly ahead.