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Senior Gambling

Senior Gambling

Some people retire at a much younger age than ever before. Late 50’s and early 60’s is fast becoming the norm, including affording second careers, entrepreneurship, voluntarism, rest, relaxation, social outings, and most recently senior gambling. Casino gaming has become an emerging leisure activity for the retired population. With an increase in legalized casinos, and incentives like free transportation, free lunches and discounted accommodations, studies show more than 70% of retirees have visited a casino within the past two years and senior problem gambling exceeding 10%. Socialization, escape, enjoyment, curiosity, and the thrill of winning are reported as key motivations. In April of this year, Ziettlow, a hospice chaplain, reported on the stampede of walkers and wheelchairs in casinos. She suggests seniors were “contenting themselves with mechanical substitutes for humans: slot machines”, and for most “it was just something to do”.

Although casinos enjoy political and economic support, excessive gambling by retirees can lead to bankruptcy, the destruction of families, and serious health problems. Depression and isolation have been reported in large percentages of older female gamblers, and obsessive-compulsive symptoms, anxiety, and extensive psychological problems in older males.

Improving Lives Counseling Services can help. Explaining the potential short and long term behavioral and psychological problems of gambling is a must – a message children and grandchildren might not be the best at delivering. Our therapists and counselors are trained to detect, diagnose, and treat senior gambling. We differentiate the moderate from the compulsive gambler, discuss inducements, and the psychological, and financial effects of gambling. Diagnosis and treatment is also available for internet gambling, often associated with depression and social isolation.

Early retirement offers a vast array of opportunities, however, many are left feeling unwanted, lonely, remote, and secluded. Others experience the loss of a spouse, downsizing, and relocation. At Improving Lives Counseling Services, we understand seniors need distractions; we also know the damage compulsions can do. Today half of all visitors to casinos are age 50 and greater – a percentage of whom suffer from frontotemporal dementia presenting as pathological gambling. We can help. Improving Lives Counseling Services offers individual, family, and group counseling services in a safe, confidential, and friendly environment. Call us.