With the lack of support from their families, the elderly are taking it upon themselves to survive in a world that looks down upon them. According to ElderlyAdults. org, it is this time of life elderly individuals suffers from poor health, slower reaction times, and even their life partners (2011). As of 2012, over 40 million elderly are living within the United States; accounting for nearly 13 percent of the total population. With the rate statistically to increase, by the year 2030, studies show that the population will go up to over 50 million (AOG.org, 2011).
Furthermore, California has fifty-eight counties, with 42 seeing an increase of over 150 percent increase in its elderly population (Aging. ca. gov, 2013). Social Workers across the nation will have their work cut out handling the cases of the elderly, as sources of Social Security is becoming dire each passing year. It is in the interest of future and current Social Workers to advocate for funding, and looking for resources that will provide the quality care that will meet the needs of the elderly.
So how do elderly adults respond to the stresses of life, the local casinos that offer them the peace of mind most are searching for? Some families and friends of these individuals feel this is not the proper way to cope with life, especially as most of casinos offer alcohol, many smoking individuals, and the financial burden that they are already suffering from with lack of adequate monthly funding from Social Security. Most Seniors believe that their life serves no further purpose, and it is the best of interests to relive the golden years in earlier times of life (CasinoWatch.com, 2013).
With many local casinos that offer seniors the chance to get addicted on the wrong things of life, our study will be conducted within San Bernardino County. These casinos will provide the starting point for our research, furthermore, separate interviews with the elderly themselves will provide answers to their gambling ways. Once our research is completed, our results will be submitted to a local agency that may help future elderly dealing with the struggles of addictive gambling. Literature Review.
Gambling will always be a prevalent issue within the United States. Like cocaine, alcohol, etc. gambling is an addiction. At times, the desire to gamble can be insatiable to the point where therapy will no longer suffice. To illustrate this concept, consider an example. When an individual is gambling at a slot machine, he or she is constantly pushing their finger on a button in the hopes of winning some money. The desire to win becomes so overwhelming that people will often lose hundreds (or even thousands) before realizing that they should stop.
However, by that time, it may very well be too late. According to Lauren Erickson (2005), Pathological gambling is an impulse-control disorder characterized by preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money, chasing lost money, and continued gambling in spite of escalating negative consequences. The issue here is not the fact that the elderly cannot make an informed decision, but rather it is a combination of mental decline, the feeling of being alone, etc. that influence their desire to gamble.
Gambling among the elderly can influenced by numerous factors. One of the more common ones, according to many researchers, is because they often feel as if they are living a solitary life. Often times, they are neglected by family or friends, are retired from their profession, etc. Essentially, the feelings can be overwhelming and gambling may be the only solution when it comes to rectifying any of these hostile feelings. Because of this, researchers have determined that the primary factors behind the high level of gambling is due to health and mental decline.
Results from this study also suggest that disordered gambling is associated with mental and physical health problems in older adults. Seniors will continue to find peace of mind in these casinos until there is enough support to help alleviate these issues. With legalized gambling present in over 47 states, it has become a multi-billion dollar industry. Consider the fact that just over 25 years ago, legalized gambling was allowed in over 4 states (including Nevada). With the increase in casinos and elderly individuals (e. g. baby boomers), there is a direct correlation to the increase in elderly gambling.
In other words, with the population of seniors 65 years or older hitting 45 million in the United States, casinos have seen a spike in revenues. Because of this, there is great concern over the stability of these seniors. Grant Stitt has spent over 7 years studying the effects of senior gambling, debt, their relationship with family, etc. After compiling enough data over those years, he concluded that these issues need to be addressed (currently they are not). These two phenomena, an expansion of casino gambling and an aging population, raise interesting questions and potentially are cause for concern.
Certainly one issue is whether there will be a rapid rise in pathological and problem gambling amongst the elderly, a group that frequently has increased leisure time and greater disposable, albeit perhaps fixed, income. Despite these growing concerns, many researchers have developed several models in order to predict and analyze the various reasons why these issues are occurring. Acknowledging that there is an issue is perhaps the most important step. The reason being is because it encourages researchers to determine why there is an issue and to develop strategies to help rectify the situation.
Without a doubt, the United States is experiencing an epidemic when it comes to elderly gambling. Not surprisingly, many organizations have even established online gambling sites to cater to those who may be unwilling to drive or feel uncomfortable leaving their locale. After several years of research, many individuals have concluded that the social cognitive theory holds merit when it comes to elderly gambling. According to Vanchai Ariyabuddhiphongs (2009), social cognitive theory model hypothesizes reciprocal relationships among person characteristics, environment variables and gambling behavior.
The review will use the social cognitive theory model framework to examine older adult gambling behavior, and related personal and environment variables. The social cognitive theory simply dictates that elderly gambling is directly tied into social and environmental factors. For example, if an elderly individual is neglected by family and friends, that would constitute being a social issue on account that they do not have any form of support from those that mean a lot to him.
Conversely, if the environment is hostile or not ideal per se (e. g.gang ridden neighborhood or lack of financial stability) that can also contribute to their willingness to gamble. It is imperative to acknowledge the fact that many of these individuals continue to struggle within their environment. Because of these social and environmental factors, many seniors continue to struggle with gambling. Gambling is an addiction that can be difficult resolve. Like drug addiction and alcoholism, there are numerous programs out within the community that aim to combat these issues. Many seniors share certain characteristics that make it difficult for certain organizations to help them.
Not only are many of them on a fixed income, but many of them have time to pursue other endeavors and gambling has proven that it can give them the peace of mind needed. As time progresses, the government and other researchers need to establish new programs aimed at minimizing this growing epidemic. As of today, millions of seniors continue to lose much of their savings because there is little done about their financial well-being. Once they reach the level of retirement, many of them feel that the only way to obtain solace is to gamble and play the lottery. Intervention programs are the only solution to these issues.