If your friend or loved one started sneaking out to take part in an activity, would you be concerned about them? If they started lying about what they were doing, would you dig deeper to get the truth? If they can’t live without this activity, do you know how to help them? What if the government endorsed an activity that could lead to these behaviours; does that make it acceptable?
When the government started calling gambling “gaming,” many people, including seniors, felt that it was no longer the illicit industry of the past. This change in morality is affecting the senior community, with some areas experiencing a 15% rate of bankruptcy. When seniors have to claim bankruptcy, we know there is a problem.
Why do seniors gamble?
For some seniors, the act of going out to the casino or the bingo hall is a social excursion. It’s an afternoon out with friends, or a chance to socialize and maybe win a few dollars. But for other seniors, it’s a narcotic that helps numb them to the feeling of loss they experience after losing a spouse or a child. The bustling atmosphere of a casino filled with other people can help them forget that they are all alone at home.
According to the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, over 2/3 of Canadian seniors gamble, and over one in 50 have a moderate to severe gambling-related problem. The number of seniors in Canada is expected to be over 5 million in 2011 – which means that there will be over one hundred thousand seniors with a gambling addiction next year.
How can you tell if someone has a gambling addiction? If they become increasingly sensitive about discussing finances or defensive about their gambling habits, it might be time to have a frank discussion with them. If you notice that items are being sold off, for no apparent reason, this should act as a warning bell.
But there is good news. If you suspect that your senior friend has a gambling problem, there is help available. You can call the Problem Gambling Health Line at 1-888-347-8888, or visit this website to learn more about the dangers of gambling: www.GameOverVLTs.com/help.htm.
Visit your senior friends today. Take them out for a coffee, or just have a chat. Play a game of cards so they know that they don’t have to go to the casino to be with other people. Gaming is for fun, gambling isn’t.
Get Fi$cal About Your Disability – contact Linda Chronobay to learn how to qualify for the Disability Tax Credit.