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TARCOG News & Headlines

Read on for recent happenings, announcements, and notable headlines from TARCOG and its communities throughout the region.

June is Elder Abuse Awareness Month


How Everyone Can Make a Difference

Looking forward to a future where older adults are treated with dignity, respect and compassion is TARCOG’s goal for observing World Elder Abuse Month throughout June, and World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, on Saturday, June 15.

“This year, we want to raise awareness about elder abuse, a pressing issue affecting our olde population,” TARCOG’s Area Agency on Aging Director Sheila Dessau-Ivey said. “Elder abuse is an act that harms our seniors and is often perpetrated by those they trust.”

Elder abuse is everyone’s business, Sheila said.

An aging adult has different internal and societal pressures for self-care. They have spent their adult life not only caring for themselves, but in most cases, being responsible for the care of others.

Sheila said adults moving into a phase of life where they need assistance to be independent can experience a challenge to self-identity and self-worth. Asking for help can be difficult.

Often, Sheila said many older adults who experience a decline in their ability to take care of day-to-day matters fear that asking for help will lead to loss of independence and possible placement in a nursing home or other long-term care facility. Sheila said that by accepting help, a person will become more capable of maintaining their independence and living at home.

Sheila said TARCOG is here to provide and coordinate services to elders and others, which enable them to continue living at home and in their communities. Help is available by calling 256-830-0818.

TARCOG’s Elder Law Attorney LaTanya Rhines said older adults throughout the United States lose an estimated $2.6 billion or more annually due to elder financial abuse and exploitation. Elder abuse also creates health care and legal costs for our society. If you’re interested in learning how to can change this, visit

LaTanya said community education, supportive communities and accessible resources are essential to engaging older adults and preventing abuse. To learn more, visit

“Educating our communities on how to prevent abuse requires us all to do our part,” LaTanya said. “Recognizing abuse is the first step. It is also essential to know how to report and knowing what resources are available to help those being abused. Finally, you have to speak up – if you see something, say something.”

LaTanya said an estimated 5 million, or 1 in 10, older Americans experience abuse, neglect, or exploitation.

“Working together, we can raise awareness and foster action to end elder abuse. Let’s work to keep everyone safe as we age,” LaTanya added.

If you suspect elder self-neglect or other abuse, you can call the Alabama Adult Abuse Hotline at 1-800-458-7214.

In an emergency, call 9-1-1