April 22-28, 2015

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Water everywhere!

Cradled in the arms of two rivers, and interlaced with dozens of creeks and streams, Philadelphia is a dream come true if you’re yearning to be in, on, or around water. Fishing, boating, strolling or biking along the riverbanks, all beckon during spring and summer.

Gone fishing

For those who enjoy the challenge of matching their wits against wily fish, Philadelphia’s waterways offer an abundance of both locations and species. There are fishing spots in virtually every section of the city, including the Manayunk Canal; Meadow Lake in South Philadelphia’s FDR Park; Tookany Creek in the Northeast; the Wissahickon in East Falls and Darby Creek in West/Southwest Philadelphia.   

"The Schuylkill Banks between South and Walnut Streets is the easiest to access, even if you need a scooter or have any kind of disability,” says Leo Sheng, author of the Extreme Philly Fishing blog. His catches from the Schuylkill’s waters have included Common Carp, Flathead Catfish, White Perch, Yellow Perch, Largemouth Bass and American Shad.

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Help available for gambling problems

Many factors can make gambling particularly appealing to older adults, according to Josh Ercole, chief operating officer for the Council on Compulsive Gambling of Pa., Inc. Among them, gambling may help fill a void for those who are not working and suddenly have additional free time or for those dealing with depression, loss of loved ones or isolation.

Options continue to increase, Ercole says. In addition to casino expansion, the lottery is being offered at more establishments than ever before; internet gaming is now legal in several states (but not in Pennsylvania); 50/50 raffles are available at many professional sporting events; and fantasy sports betting is on the rise, he says. 

Some signs of gambling problems may include a change in appearance or mood; disappearance of items of value; a preoccupation with gambling activity; spending less time with family and friends; emotional outbursts; borrowing or stealing money; and “chasing of losses” – gambling to try to win back money that was lost on previous bets, Ercole says. 

Casinos can be especially alluring. They offer socialization, stimulating sights and sounds, and promotions like inexpensive buffets and free bus transportation, which add to the appeal. Some senior gamblers may view the possibility of winning a jackpot as a way out of financial difficulties and ignore, or are unaware of, the remote probability. For others, cognitive decline, including dementia, may make them unable to fully understand the risks that gambling presents.

While casino gambling may be the most popular form of gambling, it is far from the only one. Lottery/scratch offs; sports betting, such as racing and off track betting; and bingo and card games that involve winning and losing money also draw their share of senior gamblers and can lead to financial loss.

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