Scams, Gambling, and Older Patients with Diabetes
According to an article in the January-February, 2014 AARP Bulletin, there is research showing that compulsive gambling is linked to obesity and heart disease, as well as other chronic health problems. According to University of Iowa psychiatry professor Donald M. Black, M.D., “The worse the gambling disorder, the worse the chronic health conditions we typically see.”
Age also plays a factor in poor money decisions. Scam artists prey on older people with mild dementia and a lifetime’s savings. Roughly one third of scam victims are over 65 according to Sid Kirchheimer, the author of “Scam-Proof Your Life”, published by AARP Books/Sterling. It is noted that people are most vulnerable to fraud within three years of a traumatic event such as the loss of a spouse.
We’ve always known that our older patients with diabetes are at higher risk for vascular problems, but it looks like they are also sadly at risk for poor money decisions, especially if dementia is setting in. The mail, the newspapers, the phone, and the internet are open avenues to the vulnerable.
Diets and supplements that promise to cure diabetes are some of the common ways to convince people with diabetes to part with their money. Patients have asked us what we think about a very expensive supplement plan offered locally that will cure diabetes and improve their love life. So we feel it is worth mentioning to all patients that they should avoid buying anything for diabetes without first asking their health care providers.