“The new face of problem gambling in America has become a senior woman who has lost a spouse or become alienated from her children, but has embraced slot machines and quite rapidly develops an addiction,” says Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling (Fulton, Mary Lou. “Gambling a Growing Addition Among Seniors – AARP VIVA – AARP.” AARP.N.p., 2009. Web.).
Surprisingly, gambling addictions among senior citizens are on the rise. In severe cases, seniors can end up in serious financial trouble unless a family member or live-in caregiver in Placer County is providing 24/7 monitoring. If you have the responsibility of looking after an aging adult, it is very important that you recognize the common signs of a potential gambling problem.
Reasons for the rise in senior gambling
Over the last 40 years, the number of senior citizens who gamble has increased by 30 percent. In total, about half of the senior citizens in America participate in some form of gambling. There are a number of reasons why older adults are susceptible to gambling problems. Boredom is a common complaint among seniors. Not only does gambling fulfill their need for entertainment, but it also gives them the opportunity to socialize with others. Gambling is very prevalent among seniors who are mourning the loss of close friend or family member.
Red flags that indicate a potential gambling problem
Older adults who have a gambling problem will gradually begin to suffer financial loss. If they are unable to pay their monthly bills on time, this is a key indication of a gambling issue. In an effort to support their gambling habits, some older adults may decide to take out a loan. You may also notice that certain valuable assets are missing from the home. If your aging parent becomes defensive or secretive about their spending habits, it might be time to seek professional help.
Common forms of gambling
Some of the common gambling events that are frequented by seniors include bingo, horse racing, sports betting, and card games. Many retirees also begin to play the state lottery. A better substitute that still allows for fun and socialization might be fun games at the local senior center that don’t involve monetary wagering.
How to stop a gambling addiction
There are many ways to help a senior who is struggling with a gambling addiction. As mentioned, one of the major triggers is boredom and isolation. Spend as much time with your aging loved one as possible or consider hiring a full-time or part-time home caregiver in Placer County who is able to provide companionship and social stimulation. We also recommend trying the National Council on Problem Gambling’s 24 hour confidential hotline at 1-800-522-4700.
If you’re interested in seeking in-home help for your aging loved one, call Placer County Home Care Assistance at 916.226.3737. We’d be happy to set up an in-home consultation to discuss how we can help your aging loved one live a full, balanced and healthy life.