Elderly people are particularly vulnerable to the lure of gambling, as old age and retirement brings its own set of problems: inactivity, bereavement, failing health, loss of purpose, social isolation, depression, loneliness, dementia and often no one to hold them back.
Gambling’s promise of instant wealth, excitement and glamour can seem irresistible to many seniors. Those with private pensions are also likely to have the funds, and time, to devote to a gambling habit.
From Bingo to Casinos
There has been a recent shift from bingo, traditionally the game of choice among the elderly, to casino slot machines, and many casino slot machine halls are filled with senior citizens during the day.
Targeting senior citizens is an important part of the casino business model, and vulnerable gamblers are offered free transport to casinos from their retirement homes, and free meals to entice them to stay. It is estimated that 58% of adult visitors to casinos in the U.S. are over 50 years old.
Easy and Anonymous Gambling Online
The rise of gambling websites on the internet has resulted in it becoming a lot more accessible for elderly people. What was once an afternoon in the bookies betting on horses is now 24/7 roulette and sports betting.
Tony Marini, a therapist at Castle Craig, writes: “Before the internet it could take years for gambling to become a problem: the bets would most likely have been smaller; they had to physically go to a bank and a betting shop; and it would all take longer. You couldn’t use a credit card in bookmakers like you can now.”
The Effects of Gambling Addiction on Senior Citizens
Pathalogical gambling is considered one of the most dangerous addictions because the financial consequences are substantial and far-reaching, resulting in loss of savings, loss of property, financial bankruptcy for whole families and family break-up. Older gamblers often have no means to recover their losses because their age prevents them from working. Emotional and physical health will deteriorate as the gambling escalates and their savings plummet. Due to these life-changing consequences it is the addiction with the highest rate of suicide.
Gambling Addiction Rehab for Over 65s
Senior citizens can be treated as effectively as younger patients and if the problem is caught and treated early, financial losses and mental health problems such as depression can be minimised.
At Castle Craig we treat patients of all ages for addiction. Elderly patients easily adapt to residential treatment and become valuable members of the therapeutic community and are well-respected.
Family members may have unresolved feelings of blame and anger towards the problem gambler, especially if their addiction has meant the loss of the family home or inheritance. These problems need to be addressed through a family therapy session, with a counsellor present, so that relationships can be rebuilt.
Contact Us to Quit Gambling Now
If you are concerned about an elderly loved one, or if you are a senior citizen having problems controlling your gambling, get in touch with Castle Craig’s admissions team. Early recognition and treatment can help prevent serious financial problems and family breakdown and help you quit gambling for good. If you think someone you love has a gambling addiction, contact us to get help.
30 Years of Addiction Rehab
Castle Craig Rehab has over 30 years of experience in treating alcoholism, drugs and gambling addiction. Our integrated residential rehab treatment programme starts with a personalised detox process and medical care. Patients attend the therapy programme, which is made up of specialist therapies.
This includes individual therapy and group therapies that help each patient address their own personal history and psychological issues. Some of the specialist group and individual therapies that our patients attend include PTSD therapy, Grief-therapy, Eating Disorders group therapy, Women’s group therapy, Cross-Addiction therapy and holisitic addiction therapies.