Gambling Addiction in the Elderly
Posted March 15, 2016

Gambling addiction in the elderly has become more common than you may think. Often people assume that gambling means spending too much time at a casino; but it can include a lot more.

Games of Chance/Gambling Games

  • Lottery Tickets
  • “Tips” purchased in social clubs/bars
  • Online gambling sites
  • Bingo
  • Slot Machines
  • Card Games
  • Video Poker (often found online)
  • Racing (horses, dogs, carriage, car, etc)
  • Keno
  • Any of the Top 10 Casino Games

Types of Gambling Addiction in the Elderly

There are three types of gambling addictions recognized; however, gambling addiction in the elderly is always something to be concerned with because they can quickly go through a lifetime of savings.

  1. Social Gambling – Probably the most common type of gambling in the elderly; social gambling is exactly as it sounds – a social outlet for those who may have fewer social engagements as they age. If there is a reasonable allotted amount for “fun money” this could be an acceptable social outlet; however, it can quickly spiral into problem gambling.
  2. Problem Gambling – Problem gambling usually begins as a social outlet (social gambling) but despite negative results over and over they continue to gamble. This type of gambling can actually cause great financial damage and literally eat away a lifetime of savings that seniors have put away for retirement.
  3. Professional Gambling – This type of gambling is rare and requires a special talent. It’s extremely rare for those of any age to become a professional gambler and, most likely, your grandparent’s/parent’s aren’t going to be able to become a professional gambler in their retirement.

If A Senior You Love Is Showing Signs of a Gambling Addiction

It’s important that you address gambling addiction in the elderly as soon as possible because if left unaddressed it can lead to loosing their entire lifetime savings in a relatively short length of time.

  • Do Not Approach Aggressively – It’s important that your loved one doesn’t feel like they are being attacked regarding how they are spending their own money. They may argue that “you’re just worried I’m spending your inheritance!” and ending the conversation completely.
  • Make Mention of Their Actions While In Conversation – Try to find the perfect time to talk about their “social” life and mention the gambling while enjoying normal conversation at home. Find out the facts without accusing them of anything and you may find that they are being responsible.
  • Make Suggestions – If you notice that they are going without groceries and bills are unpaid but gambling continues, it’s definitely time to step in. Suggest that you help pay their bills out of their account and then leave a certain amount for fun money, or if the situation is out of hand get them professional help.

Gambling addiction in the elderly can cause the golden years to become frightening and sad if someone doesn’t step in to help.


Picture by: deluxtrade / Pixabay

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