Though gambling addiction is serious for anyone affected, different factors come into play for older adults. Retirees have plenty of leisure time on hand, and unfortunately, those who have a problem with gambling will see this as an opportunity to spend even more time and money at casinos or on other types of gambling, worsening what might already be a serious problem. Others may try gambling for the first time and develop an unhealthy relationship right from the start, leading to a downward spiral..
Major changes in life can drive older adults to spend too much time and money on gambling; older people tend to be “vulnerable to gambling-related problems due to loss experienced in their personal life: loss of role, loneliness, social isolation, and a lower fixed income.” Living on a fixed income can lead to serious loss of finances, accumulation of debts, and possible legal troubles. Mental health issues like anxiety and depression, which are risk factors for the development of a gambling addiction, can also arise from the challenges of these major life changes.
For most seniors, gambling can be just another form of entertainment. Before gambling, it is important to know the risks involved, responsible gambling guidelines, and the warning signs of problem gambling — in order to prevent the development of a problem and seek help through the 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine if needed. Balancing gambling with other types of recreation and taking regular breaks in play are important to prevent problem gambling.
Today is National Senior Health and Fitness Day, a nationwide event that encourages older adults to focus on their well-being, and a great chance to think about alternative activities that have a positive impact, such as: going to the park, attending a fitness class, taking a walk, dancing, getting a health screening done, volunteering, among many others.
The good news is that help and hope are available for anyone suffering from gambling problems, and treatment is available. The FCCG’s Confidential and Multilingual Problem Gambling HelpLine can be reached 24/7 by phone at 888-ADMIT-IT, by text at 321-978-0555, by live chat at gamblinghelp.org, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and by reaching out to the FCCG on social media.
 Guillou Landreat, M., Cholet, J., Grall Bronnec, M., Lalande, S., & Le Reste, J. Y. (2019, November 25). Determinants of Gambling Disorders in Elderly People-A Systematic Review. Frontiers in psychiatry. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6886010/#:~:text=The%20prevalence%20of%20problem%20gambling,a%20systematic%20review%20(1).