A recent CNN.com article talks about the “Las Vegas” centre in Yokohama. It’s actually a care facility, with a room converted into a casino.
The residents-turned-gamblers enjoy various games, including Mahjong and baccarat, complete with casino chimes and pings.
Mr. Kaoru Mori, Chairman of the Japan Elderly Care Service (operator of the Las Vegas centre), said: “We believe this casino stimulates the brain and helps to prevent or suppress the development of dementia.”
A recent Suwa Tokyo University of Science study found that elder gamblers showed increases in brain activity (both frontal and parietal lobe) and recognition.
But there is a risk of addiction. U.S. gaming industry data shows that half of all adult visitors to casinos are over 50, and the AARP states that seniors are the fastest-growing segment of U.S. gambling addicts.
So what’s the answer?
One senior who lives alone told CNN that often she doesn’t talk for an entire day, but in the casino she plays games and speaks with people. At the Yokohama centre, no actual money is used; residents compete for prizes using fake bills.
This may be an answer.
In addition, I think gambling should be studied further before being tried at care facilities here, and should be only one way used to stimulate residents’ minds.
This ad ran in the Richmond News on December 30, 2015.