Gambling addiction is a problem at any age, but even more so when you’re living on a fixed income. Many seniors are prime targets for online gambling sites because of available retirement funds and diminishing mental capacities. Be aware so you can help your senior loved ones avoid this pitfall.
Your Senior Loved One with a Gambling Problem
Whether they live in an assisted living facility, or at home, they may need your help in this area. Take the time to observe them and prevent major losses. The following guide will help you.
1) Monitor changes in behavior.
Watch for unusual behavior. Your parent may become less available than you are used to. They may start saying they can’t afford go out for dinner and other activities. They may even start asking to borrow money. Another red flag is losing interest in something they’ve enjoyed for some time.
2) Look for the deeper issue.
Often, problem gambling is masking another issue. They may just be lonely, or responding to a recent life transition. It happens often at the death of a spouse. It serves as a means of escape from something bigger they don’t want to face.
3) Catch it early.
Their life savings only goes so far, and gambling can eat it away very quickly. Once it’s in the casino’s hands, it’s gone for good.
4) Clean it up.
You may face pushback trying to talk to them about spending their money more wisely. They may get defensive and tell you it’s their money and they worked hard for it. They need your patient persistence to help them make better decisions. They may even need you to take over paying their bills for them.
5) Seek professional counseling.
You may need guidance and counseling for yourself and for them. There are many gambling help hotlines and organizations you can contact for help. Make sure you work with a professional who understands the dynamics of problem gambling for seniors.
Invest Your Time
One of the best ways you can prevent this and other pitfalls is to invest your time into your senior loved one’s life. Visit them regularly. Make sure they feel loved and connected. Pay special attention when they’re going through life transitions like the death of a spouse. Don’t let a gambling problem go unnoticed and wipe away their life savings. If you have a senior loved one who needs daily care, Contact Us for a tour of one of our assisted living cottages.