Older Adults & Gambling
A survey was conducted in 2005 by the Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre involving adults age 60 and over. 73.5 % of participants said they had participated in some form of gambling in the past year.
The most popular forms of gambling in order were:
- lottery tickets
- raffle tickets
- slot/electronic machines at casinos
- scratch tickets
Why do people 60 and over spend their time gambling? The same report mentioned these common reasons:
- to win money
- for excitement and fun
- to socialize
The Ontario Resource Group is composed of representatives from each of the sites currently mandated by MOHLTC- Addictions and Mental Health branch to provide Problem Gambling Programs for older adults. These specialized programs develop and share clinical resources, participate in current research initiatives, and provide data related to gambling and problem gambling behavior among older adults. Lastly, these programs are working together to develop resource and prevention/awareness information specific to the older population. To learn more about their work visit: http:/www.rgco.org/olderadults/ or click on either of the two links on this page.
Discovering all you can do!
One of the greatest challenges facing an person in retirement is making the transition from a life that focused primarily on work and family obligations to a life that can involve activities, interests, and relationships that are satisfying, but are of personal choice. There may exist activities or interests that have lain dormant for many years while energies were diverted elsewhere. Some interests may be new discoveries.
Part of the discovery for older adults is exploring what they are interested in doing, what barriers or fears stand in the way, what physical or mental limitations exist that may include decreased decision- making capabilities, increased dependence on others due to mobility issues, reduced vision, chronic medical conditions or slower mental functions. An integral piece is listening to the yearning deep in one's head and heart. There may have been satisfying activities that have not been done in a long time or new ventures to explore.
Some older adults may take the leap into retirement and become actively involved in the community. Many may pursue community activities, sports, personal interests or leisure activities with a renewed zest based on a long anticipated desire. Others may be more hesitant and have fears around what they can offer, or have restrictions in what they can give to the community based on limited financial or personal resources. Few may wonder who would want them to get involved anyways or have led closed lives and do not know how to get involved.
Aging presents many challenges and bumps in the road. The aging process is a natural event and cannot be altered Some may fully embrace the changes and be open to them. They may see it as having an amazing array of learning and interactional opportunities at their disposal. Others may struggle for a period of time and turn to gambling, alcohol, or drugs as a means to cope with sadness, isolation, depression, grief and loss issues, frustration, feelings of inadequacy, lowered self esteem, stress from trying to cope with numerous life changes and transitions, or experience a decreased freedom and sense of purpose.
Aging does not have to be a dismal and dark place. Aging can be a time of renewed interests , sharing of one's strength, hope, wisdom and purpose. It can be a time to gain new skills and meet some personal needs. There are retired bankers who sculpt, bakers who paint and engineers who become photographers, barbers who consult on small business or secretaries who become authorities on Celtic music.
There are services and programs available to assist the older adult. in exploring issues related to problem gambling and/or substance misuse/ abuse. We offer opportunities for older adults to explore new and alternative ways of coping in a supportive, warm environment. Sessions can be provided in your home, in a community setting, or on site. Individual sessions, group sessions, educational sessions or residential services can be matched to best meet your unique needs.