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Getting Help for Senior Problem Gamblers

Certified gambling counselors see clients of all ages, from teens to older adults. Individual counseling, family therapy, and group counseling are options for the problem gambler and his/her loved ones at any age. Behavior modification techniques can also be used successfully, especially with late-onset problem gamblers. Moreover, support groups as Gamblers Anonymous and Gam-Anon welcome persons regardless of age.

Senior Gambling Detection

Treatment Issues for Older Adults with Problem Gambling

  • The perceived stigma due to age considerations (e.g., view of gamblers as weak or degenerate) will undermine the therapeutic relationship
  • A retrospective approach can be helpful: older adults have more invested in the past than expected of the future
  • Consistency is essential: frequent use of individual sessions is recommended
  • Therapy must be safe, confidential, and a place for sharing deficits
  • A same-age sponsor is a very helpful model
  • Networking with social workers, etc., can result in shared information and better mutual referrals
  • Issues such as transportation, support systems, finances, and housing are often critical treatment planning issues
  • Neither early or late onset seniors present for care through the usual networks (EAPs, courts, family)
  • Older adults are often outside of the mainstream of society.  Many older adults no longer drive or work outside the home; and many live alone.
  • The primary route of intervention with older adults is through the medical profession.  However, medical professionals, often, may fail to diagnose gambling issues
  • Older adults often need to establish self-identity and re-socialization
  • The therapeutic approach must also involve treatment of co-existing physical and/or mental disorders: arthritis, chronic pulmonary disease, diabetes, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and medication management

Source:  Senior Prevention Intervention Counseling Education, Topeka, Kansas

If you or someone you know needs help, reach out – we’re here to help.

What Resources are Available?

National Problem Gambling Help Line
(800) 522-4700

The National Problem Gambling Help Line provides help to people with gambling problems and their families. Callers receive confidential, professional service from trained counselors. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is free of charge.

Indiana Help Line
(800) 994-8448

Gambling Recovery Ministries
(812) 926-1052

Gamblers Anonymous (GA)

Gam-Anon: A peer-led support group, Gam-Anon provides a supportive environment for the spouses, relatives, or close friends of- problem gamblers to share their experiences. There is no membership fee.  A list of local meetings is available by calling the above Problem Gambling Help Lines.