Many seniors across the country can gamble and not experience a problem. Some will just gamble occasionally and for fun. There are other seniors who are developing problems and potential wasting away their savings.
There are many sings that you or a senior that you know may start to become, if not already, addicted to gambling. Family members need to watch out for withdrawal from friends or family. If you have a family member that constantly is unable to attend family gathering or other events, you may wish to investigate. Many seniors will start to only focus on the wins and will often times omit the losses. The more times that a person gambles, the more losses that they will likely have; however, many seniors who are becoming hooked on gambling may not discusses the losses or even lie about the amount.
One of the most common signs that a senior in your family may be addicted to gambling is if they ask for money from friends or family. It is an extremely important sign to look out for. If the senior does not have enough money to gamble with, they may not even have enough money to pay for necessities.
There are some seniors who gamble because they claim that there is nothing else to do. If you know someone who has this reasoning, you can pick up activity brochures for them. Many counties across the country have an “office of the aging” somewhere within their county office building. This organization often offers activities onsite, at senior centers, or on field trips. Many activities could include prize bingo, shuffleboard, movies, and other games. These are usually offered at little or no cost.
Most seniors who possibly have a problem with gambling are often referred to as “escape gamblers.” These gamblers start out gambling as a way to escape from their normal, everyday lives. They may use gambling as a way to cope with their problems or stress. Seniors who are dealing with isolation (often after a move), health problems, loneliness, stress, or depression may need help from loved ones to stop. Just like any addiction, individuals often can not stop with out professional help and counseling. Many seniors may not wish to get help for their gambling.
They may try and say that they have lived a full and responsible life and they deserve the opportunity to do what they want now. You need to make this senior realize that they may need health care in the future and that someone else will have to pay for their care, if they keep on gambling their funds away.
When people think of gambling most just imagine casinos; however, there are many forms of gambling that may lure in seniors. Playing the daily lottery numbers or instant win scratch off tickets have somewhat of an excitement. Many seniors purchase these items trying to win, thinking that it is only $1. Many tickets and games are increasing in prices and it is hard to stop with one ticket. Over time that one dollar could add up to hundreds or thousands of dollars lost.
There are also bingo halls that may not be a part of a casino. Many seniors enjoy going to horse races and betting on the horses. Due to the fact that some may have to travel a long distance to the track, off track betting facilities have grown in popularity.
If you are a senior reading this article and recognize the sings or if you know someone who shows some of the above mentioned signs, you should encourage them to get help. You can visit the Gambler’s Anonymous website at http://www.gamblersanonymous.org or looking through your phone book for local hotline numbers. Get your senior gambler the help that they need.