We have reported before about the vulnerability of senior citizens when it comes to dependencies and mental health struggles. As one advances in age, there are often health declines and loss issues, which can trigger severe reactions. It is also worth noting that one other issue has become quite prominent among this set. And that would be gambling addictions, as referenced in some recently released stats.
Oklahoma affiliate KFOR 4 reported on the topic this month, devoting an online article and a three minute video segment to the growing problem. They revealed that as many as four million Americans aged 65 and older suffer from a gambling disorder. As the piece explains, there is a wide variety of reasons for this ongoing trend.
“You know there are a lot of reasons why we’re seeing this type of problem occur within the senior community,” Savvy Senior editor Jim Miller told KFOR’s reporting team. “For one, being retired they often have extra time on their hands. Besides that, more casinos are popping up across the country which makes it much more convenient for them to go and gamble.”
Miller does make a good point. Boredom is another major contributor to the start of addictive habits. He emphasized that there could be loneliness at play, particularly if a senior is now widowed or without a partner. Casinos are often dressed up to be lively, welcoming locations, which can easily lure in a vulnerable retiree.
Speaking of retirees, there is also a monetary component to this habit. Those who have properly saved or put in years at a company would now get a pension or regular checks from their savings account. Having excess cash is another prime contributor to the problem, according to Miller. He warns that family members should be made aware of this and pay attention to drastic changes to an older loved one’s bank account.
He warned seniors and their families to also be aware of tactics local casinos use to bring older people into their establishments.
“Casinos often cater to older adults,” Miller added. “They provide free transportation, special lunch coupons and free drinks. It is basically any tactic just to get them in the door.”
Over in our neighborhood of Southern California, we are well aware of the growing number of local casinos. And yes, a lot of Miller’s points hold very true over here. If you suspect an older loved one in your life may be dealing with a gambling problem, please reach out and help get them the support they need.