Gambling might sound like a social activity for your retired mom or dad. But if these trips are frequent and seem to take priority over other activities, it might be time to take a closer look as to whether or not your parent has a gambling problem.
Numerous studies have shown that aging adults are not afraid to gamble with their retirement savings, pensions, and Social Security checks. Health issues can also arise if a senior is gambling away money that should have been spent on medication or other medical care.
While most people want their aging parents to enjoy their retirement years and live independently, if you are worried that your parent or other family member is gambling more than he or she can afford to, here are some resources to help you address the warning signs. While you can’t force your parents to stop gambling, providing them with resources and support can help them get back on track.
Signs to watch for include:
- Repeatedly asking for loans because they have lost their wallet, the bank made a mistake, etc.
- Dropping other hobbies or recreational activities
- Sudden changes in hygiene or self-care
- Less food in their refrigerator or cupboard than is typical
- Receiving calls regarding past due utilities or other bills
- Showing poor decision-making skills in other areas of their life
- Lying about gambling (this may be an outright lie or complete omission)
If you are beginning to suspect that a parent is demonstrating signs of a possible gambling problem, it is critical to support them in getting help. Start by encouraging them to assess their risk by taking the Responsible Gambling Quiz. Finally, encourage them to check out treatment resources in your area or call the Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-589-9966.