How To Identify And Help Seniors With Gambling Addiction

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National Senior Citizens Day is August 21st of each year and is an opportunity  to express thanks to older Americans for their contributions to making our families, our communities, and our country better. 

Florida is a destination for older adults, who flock to the state, as do their younger counterparts to enjoy the weather, the beaches, the entertainment, and the lifestyle. As gambling is among recreational activities enjoyed by many seniors, it is not surprising that so many retirees are relocating to the Sunshine State. Per the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest estimates, Florida has the largest percentage of senior citizens (21% or 4.2 million) [1], which doesn’t appear to be slowing.  To document the number of relocations, in 2020, 167 people moved into Florida for every 100 who left, whereas in 2021, that number doubled to 210 inbound residents for every 100 who left, meaning more than twice as many people moved into the state than left it [2]. Further, Tampa was among the top three metro areas that experienced the largest number of new residents from 2010 to 2020, along with Orlando and Miami [3].

For many seniors, gambling provides a social outlet, giving them a place to go and meet others at a time in their lives when they enjoy the socialization.  For others, gambling seems like a fun way to have a little excitement and maybe win some money along the way. As one grows older, some have found that gambling offers a way to fill empty or free time, brought about since retirement or following the loss of a loved one. Over time, slowly, gambling may become viewed as a necessary activity to provide excitement, relief from boredom or sadness, or a place to belong. And some find themselves spending more and more money gambling and less time in other activities. Since gambling may have seemed like a harmless activity in the beginning, it can be difficult to see it in a different light. 

The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling wants Floridians to know, whether they are living on fixed incomes or not, that while special circumstances may present when gambling becomes a problem among senior citizens, one contact to 888-ADMIT-IT will help them and their families to start their paths to recovery, one step at a time.  Keep in mind seniors have less time and fewer financial resources to recover from social, financial and, particularly, the medical and psychiatric consequences resulting from disordered gambling, so seeking prompt assistance is important and supports are available around the clock. Remember, it’s never too late to start recovering, so this National Senior Day, secure the help you or a loved one needs.

In addition to a breadth of resources and referral organizations, 888-ADMIT-IT can provide self-help workbooks for seniors in print and in audio, for those who experience visual difficulties.  Moreover, 888-ADMIT-IT offers self-help guides for loved ones, who frequently experience many of the same symptoms as their problem gambling counterparts. Beyond a Peer Connect program and an Online Program for Problem Gamblers, 888-ADMIT-IT refers to certified gambling addiction professionals, self-help organizations, and provides diverse supports pending individual circumstances and needs.

If gambling is presenting difficulties in your life or in a loved one’s, Your One Sure Thing, 888-ADMIT-IT can provide the services you need.  The HelpLine may be reached by phone (888-ADMIT-IT or 888-236-4848), text (321-978-0555), email (fccg@gamblinghelp.org), chat (gamblinghelp.org), via the 888-ADMIT-IT mobile app (https://landing.appypie.com/888-admit-it), or on social media.

  1. Reference: Rubin, E. (2022).  Elderly population in U.S. by state. Consumer Affairs. Retrieved Population Over 65 by State (2022) | ConsumerAffairs.
  2. Reference: Hayes, K. (2022). New Yorkers and Californians Flock to Florida. Florida Realtors. Retrieved New Yorkers and Californians Flock to Florida | Florida Realtors.
  3. Ibid.

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