Problem gambling can be an issue for seniors

Watch above: Lisa Pennington with the gambling awareness program offers prevention and education programs and workshops. As she tells Kevin Stanfield, many people don’t initially realize they have a gambling problem. 

SASKATOON – Your senior years can be a time of great change – and that can also lead to problems with gambling creeping into your life. That’s according to Lisa Pennington, a gambling awareness coordinator with the Canadian Mental Health Association.

“Gambling can be used as a coping mechanism in these times,” she told Global News.

Pennington said some of the stresses for older adults can be the loss of a spouse, the loss of the ability to drive, or moving into a retirement home.

“Sometimes you don’t initially realize that you are experiencing difficulties but there can be risk factors and signs that people can notice around you,” she said.

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She said a big warning sign is financial problems.

“You might not be paying bills, you could have mood swings related to gambling and stress around that,” she said. And if people live alone and gamble on-line, there are other warning signs.

“You also could not be meeting your basic needs,” she said. “It can turn into a situation where they are not bathing, they are not eating, they are not taking medication that they need as regularly as they should.”

But there are places to go for help. She said the Ministry of Health offers free counseling for gambling problems in every health region.

There is also the toll free gambling hotline that people can call day or night, and there is also advice on how to talk to someone you think may have a gambling problem. The hotline number is 1-800-306-6789.

Gamblers Anonymous 20 questions

  1. Have you ever lost time from work due to gambling?
  2. Has gambling ever made your home life unhappy?
  3. Has gambling affected your reputation?
  4. Have you ever felt remorse after gambling?
  5. Do you ever gamble to get money with which to pay debts or otherwise solve financial difficulties?
  6. Does gambling cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?
  7. After losing do you ever feel you must return as soon as possible and win back your losses?
  8. After a win do you have a strong urge to return and win more?
  9. Do you often gamble until your last dollar is gone?
  10. Do you ever borrow to finance your gambling?
  11. Have you ever sold anything to finance your gambling?
  12. Are you reluctant to use “gambling money” for normal expenditures?
  13. Does gambling make you careless with the welfare of yourself and your family?
  14. Do you ever gamble longer than you had planned?
  15. Have you ever gambled to escape worry or trouble?
  16. Have you ever committed or considered committing an illegal act to finance gambling?
  17. Does gambling cause you to have difficulty sleeping?
  18. Do arguments, disappointments or frustration create within you an urge to gamble?
  19. Do you ever have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few hours of gambling?
  20. Have you ever considered self-destruction as a result of your gambling?

Source: Gamblers Anonymous 

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