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The Family Center: enrichment programs for families and professionals

Overcoming Grief in a Healthy Way

Ask the Experts by Mary Petersen

Q: We have had a recent loss in our family. What will help us all recover in a healthy way? 

A: Every human being eventually will suffer some sort of loss, and the grief that results is normal. How we process that grief will determine how healthy we are as we come through the recovery. Additionally, processing sooner rather than later lends itself to the best outcome. 

It is imperative that we allow ourselves to move through the many stages of grief and let our reactions run their course fully until they wind down on their own. Often the stages are not neat and orderly like textbooks may suggest as they attempt to explain the nuances of human nature. Many times people are not sure how they feel or cannot seem to make sense of the loss. Sharing with others and verbalizing what is going on is imperative to help sort thoughts and get feelings out.

Read more: Overcoming Grief in a Healthy Way


Hope and Healing with a Faith Community

Ask the Experts by Rev. Peter J. M. Henry

Q: What role can a faith community play in my life if I am not really that religious?

A: I can't speak for every faith tradition, but in many congregations one does not have to be a member to attend worship, educational, pastoral and fellowship events. Most faith traditions have a interest in and commitment to the health of all people. This includes mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health and the desire to support others extends to anyone seeking that health.

It is true that some of the resources that a particular community brings to bear are unique to that community's tradition. However there are some basic elements that are common to most of our communities of faith. Principal among them is this: you do not have to be alone. When we grieve, we do not have to do so isolated from those who grieve with us and for us.

Read more: Hope and Healing with a Faith Community


Self-Care Skills for Coping with Grief

Ask the Experts by Mary Beth Garvey

Q: I've recently had a loss in my life and I'm getting a lot of advice about how I should be coping. Despite good intentions, people don't know what I'm experiencing or what feels right for me. Is there a "right way" to deal with grief?

A. There are many misconceptions about the grief process, but there are some basic self-care skills which are beneficial for anyone who is coping with a loss. 

It is particularly important to attend to your physical health because grief can be psychologically and physiologically exhausting.  Sleep, some exercise, and trying to eat well is a good starting point. Staying away from alcohol, which is a depressant, and other drugs which help you numb out, is also important.

Read more: Self-Care Skills for Coping with Grief


Keeping The Family Home Out Of Probate -The Deed in a Drawer Dilemma

Ask the Experts by Michael Kelly

Q. I heard from a friend that you can quitclaim your home to a loved one, never record it at the Register of Deeds, and then file it away in a dresser drawer or other location and let the loved one know where to find it when you pass on. The loved one can then record it and enjoy title to the property. Is this true?

A. For a very long time it has been commonplace in estate planning to use the "Deed in a Drawer" to pass real estate on after death without going through a probate procedure.

These deeds are a problem for a number of reasons:

Read more: Keeping The Family Home Out Of Probate -The Deed in a Drawer Dilemma


Mental Health First Aid Training Sessions to be Offered Through The Family Center

Ask the Experts by Pam Moffitt

Q: Can you tell me about the Mental Health First Aid training sessions that will be offered through The Family Center this Fall?

A: The Family Center, in partnership with the Tree of Hope Foundation and The Grosse Pointe Academy, will be offering certified Mental Health First Aid training. Just like First Aid and CPR training provide lay people with the skills to help someone experiencing a physical health crisis, Mental Health First Aid is a course, designed for lay people, to provide the skills needed to reach out to a person experiencing a mental health crisis.

Read more: Mental Health First Aid Training Sessions to be Offered Through The Family Center


Sports Injury Information

Ask the Experts by Edward Dabrowski, M.D.

Q: My 9-year-old son wants to play football next school year. Should I let him play?

A: Some sports are more dangerous than others. Contact sports such as football are more likely to result in a higher number of injuries than a noncontact sport such as swimming. However, all types of sports have a potential for injury from contact with other players or from overuse or misuse of the body.

Sprains and strains, tennis elbow, dislocations and illness due to heat exhaustion, cramps and stroke are common for growing children who participate in sports. Awareness, education, warning signs and early treatment can make a significant difference in keeping athletes in the game. Teaching athletes proper strength training, flexibility, conditioning and endurance minimizes the risk of injury. 

Q: I have heard concussions among athletes in contact sports such as football, hockey and soccer are common. What symptoms should I look for after a head injury?

A: Symptoms can happen immediately after an injury or several days later.

Symptoms to watch for include:

Read more: Sports Injury Information


Help Your Kids Develop Good Sleep Habits

Ask the Experts by Mohsin Maqbool, M.D.

Q. How can I get my kids to have good sleep habits?

A. When it comes to good sleep habits, the old saying "early to bed, early to rise, makes a person healthy, wealthy and wise" has never been truer.

The amount of sleep needed for optimal brain development in children varies with age. Newborns sleep up to 20 hours per day. The sleep requirement decreases in toddlers down to 12 to 14 hours of nightly sleep with naps during the day.

Tips to maximize good sleep habits:

Read more: Help Your Kids Develop Good Sleep Habits


Help for Aging Parents

Ask the Experts by Mary Ellen Brayton

Q: My mom is 85 years old and lives with me now. I take care of her practically 24 hours per day. I have an opportunity for a new job, but I don't know what to do with mom and can't afford 12 hours a day care at my home.

A: We hear stories like this all the time when talking with families. An option that might work well for some seniors and their families is combining in-home care with an Adult Day Center. A professional in-home caregiver could help get your mom up and ready for the day and then take her to an adult day center in the afternoon where she could stay until you can pick her up on your way home from work. 

Q: Why should I hire an agency to care for my mother when it seems cheaper to hire an aide directly?

A: There are both legal and personal risk issues involved in directly hiring a caregiver. Some things to consider include: criminal and reference checks, tax withholdings, liability and worker's compensation insurance, bonding for personal property theft, and arranging for replacements if the caregiver does not show up for a shift or becomes ill. Professional in-home care companies can help to alleviate these concerns. 

Read more: Help for Aging Parents


About Hookah Smoking

Ask the Experts by Samuel Fawaz, M.D.

Q. There is a lot of talk about the dangers of hookah smoking. What is hookah?

A. Hookah is a single or multi-stemmed water pipe for smoking tobacco, where smoke passes through a water basin and is then inhaled into the lungs. 

Q. My teenage son doesn't smoke tobacco, but he says his friends are hookah smoking. Should I be concerned?

A. Yes. According to the World Health Organization, hookah smoking is becoming the largest public health concern in the world, most notably with kids 18 and older. A recent study found experimentation with hookah for 14-year-olds was 23 percent and rose to 40 percent for 18-year-olds. Hookah is also believed to be a gateway to kids trying illegal drugs. 

Read more: About Hookah Smoking


Enhance Your Brain Health

Ask the Experts by Mary Ellen Brayton

Q: My husband and I are grandparents and want to keep up with our grandchildren. What are some suggestions to help us enhance our brain health?

A: Listed below are some helpful hints:

Maintain a healthy diet. A heart-healthy diet is the same sort of diet that keeps the brain healthy. Some examples: control your portion size, eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, limit unhealthy fats and cholesterol, chose low-fat protein sources like lean meat, fish, poultry, egg whites and low-fat dairy, reduce your sodium intake, create daily menus with the strategies above to put your plan into action, but do allow yourself the occasional treat!

Stay socially active in order to help build new connections and thought processes. Stay connected to the people that have been important in your life and maybe even build new connections. 

Read more: Enhance Your Brain Health


Traumatic Brain Injury Warning Signs

Ask the Experts by Ajit A. Sarnaik, MD

Q. When should my child seek medical care if he has been hit in the head? 

A. If you are a parent, chances are you've seen your child experience more than one bump in the head. But when do you know if your child needs just a little comforting or the bump or injury requires immediate medical attention?

The good news is most bumps in the head are minor, but Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and disability in the United States.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, about half of all patients hospitalized with head injuries are less than 20 years of age. Boys are also injured twice as often as girls. 

Parents should look for the following warning signs after a bump in the head to determine if medical attention is warranted:

Read more: Traumatic Brain Injury Warning Signs


Dealing with a Protective Pet's Reactions to Caregivers

Ask the Experts by Carolyn Van Dorn

Q. My mother is currently in a Rehabilitation Facility recuperating from a fall. Her beloved dog Bella has been staying with me while she is there. Once home she will need the help of a Nurse Aide and visits from a Physical Therapist. Bella has been quite a challenge to have in my home due to her strong personality. She is so protective of my mom I am worried about how she will react with strangers moving and touching her. Am I wrong to be concerned?

A. Absolutely not. Many of our clients have pets in their home and we have never had an issue arise. It is completely dependent on the personality and temperament of the individual dog. If you already know she is a "challenge", you should be concerned.

Professional Dog Trainer Ray Kerimian from Razor K-9 Private 1-on-1 Dog Training ( says that this is not such an uncommon situation.

Read more: Dealing with a Protective Pet's Reactions to Caregivers


The Family Center is a Constant Compass

From the Director

The families that we meet all see changes in the path of their lives. Some are caring for newborns, preparing for kindergarten, transitioning to the middle school years or starting the college selection process. Others are managing relationships, health issues, stress and grief, including coping with the challenges of caring for aging family members.

In all its 13 years of service, The Family Center has been a constant compass – guiding people with questions toward those who can help.

Some of the families that first came into contact with our presentations for newborns continue to attend our presentations for students in upper grades. Some now are part of a "sandwich generation," caring for children while caring for elderly parents or relatives.

We’ve responded with resources designed to encompass this range of need and help families find a way ahead.

Read more: The Family Center is a Constant Compass


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