By Meaghan Lyver, Communications Intern, Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling
Each year, for the entire month of May, the nation recognizes its elders. Throughout the month, Councils on Aging (COAs) promote healthy aging, mental wellness, physical wellness, and the overall well-being of older adults. Challenges such as, health issues, health insurance and financially stability often make everyday life more difficult as people age.
Many older adults also tend to have a lot of free time on their hands. This is a big change for people who have worked hard their whole lives. Balancing finances, combined with newly-found free time, plays a large role in how older Americans live their lives.
It’s not uncommon to see senior citizens partaking in bus trips to local casinos as a way to socialize. According to the Mass. Council’s General Fact Sheet, of U.S. adults over the age of 65, 50.3% have gambled in the past year. Older adults who gamble 5 or more times in a year, are significantly more likely than their counterparts, who have not gambled as frequently, to have mental health disorders and/or substance abuse disorders. Also, compared to older adults who gamble 4 or fewer times in a year, older adult gamblers who do not gamble 5 or more times in a year are more likely to have nicotine dependence and alcohol use disorders.
With this in mind, the Council works with organizations such as:
- Councils on Aging and Elder Task Forces
- The Massachusetts Partnership on Substance Abuse Among Older Adults
- The City of Boston’s Commission on the Affairs of the Elderly
- Health and Long-Term Care Task Force
Trainings we provide specifically for older adult populations include:
- Making the Most of Your Leisure Time
- Healthy Aging: You and Your Money
- Older Adults and Gambling
If you are interested in a training, or another activity to learn about older adults and gambling, please contact Program Specialist, Amanda Poggenburg at 617.426.4554.
For information about how to talk to older adults about gambling and its potential risks, or if you think yourself or a loved one may be experiencing problems with gambling, please explore our website, call our Helpline: 800.426.1234, or chat online with us any time, any day of the week.