DEAR ABBY: My widowed father-in-law is 77 and my mom is 71. I try to spend time with them so they won't be lonely. The problem is they now have only one interest -- gambling. They are only happy if someone will take them to a casino. A simple dinner or movie is no longer wanted.
I don't mind going once in a while. The closest casino is 90 miles away. But it ends up being an all-day affair, with me gambling money I would prefer not to let go of that way. I have brought books and spent time reading in the car or in restaurants, but that's not quality time, either.
They think that because my husband is successful, I should have no problem with money. Abby, I am careful how I spend money. You can't be in a casino for four hours and not lose a lot of money. Now they're mad at me because I don't want to take them anymore. Mom even wanted to stretch out the trip to an overnighter. Help! -- BETTING I'M RIGHT IN OHIO
DEAR BETTING: You are a caring wife and daughter. But it appears your mother and father-in-law are less interested in spending time with you than in spending time in the casino. If they can afford it, that should be their privilege, but you are all adults -- and if your concept of a social get-together involves more than sitting in front of a slot machine or repeating, "Deal me in!" then you're right to refuse to be used as transportation. Many seniors visit casinos in groups, using buses to get there and back, and so can your relatives. Don't feel guilty about it.