Health & Wellness

Wellspring Sponsors "Out of the Dark – Addressing the Hidden Addiction of Gambling Among Older Adults"

East Brunswick's Wellspring Center sponsors workshop about problems around senior adult gambling. Credits: Wellspring Center

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ  - In collaboration with the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey (CCGNJ) and others, Wellspring Center for Prevention (formerly NCADD of Middlesex County, Inc.) is pleased to offer a half-day conference titled “Out of the Dark – Addressing the Hidden Addiction of Gambling Among Older Adults”. 


The conference is scheduled for March 15, 2016 from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm, and will be held at the Middlesex County Fire Academy in Sayreville.


Middlesex County is comprised of over 13 percent of individuals 65 years and older, so a significant proportion of our population is at risk for developing a gambling problem. With the rise in the number of seniors who have taken up gambling as a new form of entertainment, comes a rise in the number who have developed a gambling addiction which knows no social or economic boundaries.

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“With the senior population, problem gambling can be devastating because seniors often live on a fixed income.  Seniors are at a high risk because they have more free time.  Sometimes, when people retire, they look for ways to fill or occupy their day.  If they turn to gambling, it can become a problem.”   Neva Pryor, MS, Executive Director, Council on Compulsive Gambling of NJ, Inc


To help foster education and discussion, the Conference will feature welcoming remarks by the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey Executive Director Neva Pryor; NJ Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin (D-18) who will provide a legislative insight into senior adult gambling; Daniel J. Trolaro of the CCGNJ who will present “What prevention efforts are being implemented?”; Dr. Lia Nower of the Rutgers University School of Social Work-Center for Gambling Studies who will present “Senior Adult gambling – how big a problem is it?”; Dr. Peter Mitchell of the Overlook Medical Center who will present on “What treatment options are there to address disordered gambling in the adult/senior adult population”; and two senior adults in recovery who will share their personal stories.


“Problem gambling is a hidden addiction and fairly easy to mask, as there are few to no physical symptoms that can be observed,” noted Wellspring Executive Director Ezra Helfand. “It is even easier to hide among older adults because often times they live alone and if there are signs or symptoms, they are frequently misread or attributed to the overall aging process. We expect this Conference to help those who care for our senior adult population to gain a greater understanding of this important issue.”


The Conference is geared to County and State officials, local Office on Aging directors, library staff, YMCA and senior center staffs who provide senior programming and local health providers, including community nursing staffs from area hospitals.  In addition providers of home health care services, nursing home staff and caregivers will be invited to attend this conference.


Those interested in attending the conference are encouraged to log onto



About Wellspring Center for Prevention

The Wellspring Center for Prevention is a private, non-profit health education organization.  Established in 1980, the agency is recognized as the leading resource in Middlesex County for information, education and prevention services on alcohol and drug abuse.  Services include: the Jason Surks Memorial Prevention Resource Center, information and referral help line, training, community education programs, early childhood prevention programs Footprints for Life™ and Forest Friends, advocacy for alcoholics and other drug dependent persons and their families, and public awareness campaigns. Additional information is available at

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