Event focuses on elder abuse education, prevention

Local seniors flooded The Lodge at Stone Bridge Farms on Saturday, June 15, 2024, for the second annual Elder Abuse Awareness Day Event held by Render Aid Alabama. (Cheyenne Sharp)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Render Aid Alabama held its second annual Elder Abuse Awareness Event, sponsored by Traditions Bank, on Saturday, June 15. The grounds of The Lodge at Stone Bridge Farms were filled with over 60 local seniors, all of whom were welcomed with lunch, informative booths from senior and adult resource centers and presentations on how to protect themselves and loved ones from elder abuse while living life to the fullest.

Participating organizations including the Cullman County Commission on Aging, Choices Counseling, Alabama Department of Human Resources Adult Protective Services, Render Aid Alabama, Victim Services of Cullman, Beltone, NARCOG and Brandie Drane Insurance set up informational booths at the luncheon, providing attendees with useful information on the resources, assistance and programs available to area seniors.

After lunch, guests were treated to presentation that contained tips for avoiding financial scams from Gabrielle Helix with the Alabama Office of Prosecution Services, elder care registered nurse Kristen Herrin and Micheal Key of the Cullman County Department of Human Resources. Rep. Randall Shedd, R-Fairview, helped seniors better understand the legislation that surrounds elder abuse and how the State is tackling the epidemic.  

Cullman County Sheriff’s Office Victim Services Coordinator Captain Edward Potter introduced the department’s Yellow Dot Program. This program, a key tool in emergency situations, allows the CCSO to quickly access the personal information of a victim. In a collaborative effort with senior centers, photos of each participant will be taken, along with important individual and medical information that may prove necessary in the event of an emergency.

The collected information and pictures, including lists of current medications, medical conditions and emergency contacts, are placed into a yellow folder to be kept in the glove compartment of a vehicle. A Yellow Dot Program decal will be given to the participant to place in the lower left corner of the rear window to alert emergency response teams of the folder’s existence. The folder’s contents have the potential to save a life in a dire situation and, at the very least, provide officers and responders valuable information on next of kin.

Despite the smaller crowd due to the heat and scheduling conflicts, Render Aid Alabama President Candie Cummings said she is already looking forward to next year’s event, hoping to make it a more inclusive and in-depth showcase.

“Next year, we’ll do it during the week and bring the senior centers in!” said Cummings.

The Yellow Dot Program is a free program available to all residents of Cullman County with an emphasis on seniors. To sign up, contact Captain Joey Collier with the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office at 1910 Beech Ave. SE, or at jcollier@cullmansheriff.org or 256-734-0342.

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