The Family Center: enrichment programs for families and professionals

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, ...

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....

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 ...

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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 ...

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Avoiding Childhood Obesity

Ask the Experts by Donna Morrison

Q: I'm worried about my daughter's weight and unhealthy eating habits, but I don't want to put her on a diet. What else can I do to help her lose weight and eat healthier foods?

A: First, it's important to focus on good health without overemphasizing body weight. Introducing healthier options for snack and meal times will provide your child proper nutrition, while also promoting positive eating behaviors.

Portioning is extremely important in the fight against ...

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Stress Management Success

Ask the Experts by Jill Wrubel

Q. Do you think that companies should be providing stress management programs for employees and families?

A. There are two distinctive styles of leadership emerging throughout "best companies to work for" from what I have observed over several decades. There are those that have implemented programs for employees, their families and local groups to be able to participate in to manage stress through both holistic and wellness offerings --- and those that don't. ...

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Suicide's Warning Signs & the Struggle to Notice Them

Ask the Experts by Mary Petersen, LMSW

Q. After a loved one committed suicide, I hear many people report feeling guilty because they did not notice any warning signs prior to the incident. Could there have been signs someone failed to notice? 

A. Guilt is often pronounced when loss results from suicide. Loved ones erroneously feel they could have done something to prevent the tragedy, and they feel powerless. I believe human beings often find it easier to accept that they could have done ...

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Caring for family members who become incapacitated

Ask the Experts by Michael Kelly

Q. If my loved one becomes incapacitated can I arrange for their care and manage their financial affairs?

A. There is no inherent right to act for another person who is incapacitated based on a relation to them, except for a parent/child relationship. Express legal authority is required to do so. This applies to anyone age 18 and over.

Q. How does one obtain express legal authority to act for another?

A. It depends on whether or not authority was given to ...

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Slowing Down...

Ask the Experts by Marla Ruhana

Q: I find myself so irritable, short fused, and I feel it is leading to anxiety and depression. Is this possible? 

A: Yes, it sounds like you are experiencing detrimental effects of stress, which can lead to anxiety and depression. Can you think of what might be precipitating your irritability?

Q: My husband has been out of work for two years and since he lost his job, I've been working full time and caring for the kids. I do not like my job at all, it is ...

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Talking to Teens About Suicide

Ask the Experts by Mary Beth Garvey

Q. My kids and their friends are struggling with the suicide of a classmate, and they respond to this tragedy in such different ways. How do we talk to our teenagers about suicide?

A. The suicide of a young person impacts the whole community. In general, the severity of the response correlates to how connected they were to the deceased. Many of us feel incredibly vulnerable when confronted with the suicide of a young person, and there is often a wide range ...

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Recovering From A Loved One's Suicide

Ask the Experts by Mary Petersen

Q. close friend of our family committed suicide. How can I help my family understand the nature of grief and loss and navigate through the grieving process in a healthy way?

A. Grieving is a natural part of human experience, and necessary after loss for a person to heal.

Among the most common stages of grief are shock/denial, anger, sorrow, and acceptance. There are infinitely many ways to grieve. However, for someone to survive loss and be healthy, they must ...

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Teen Suicide Awareness

The recent, tragic loss of one of our high school students has deeply touched everyone in the community. Here at the Family Center, we can be a resource to help cope with hurt and grief.

Please use the search function in the left-hand column for articles on dealing with suicide, grief, and loss.

Access our Association of Professionals to find professionals who can help in this difficult time.

External resources: (links will open in a new window)

Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide


Caring for People with Alzheimer's who Wander

Ask the Experts by Tom Gordon

Q. My father has the early onset of Alzheimer's. A friend of mine went through this with their parents and I am particularly worried about wandering. What steps should my family consider if my father begins to wander? 

A. One of the most common hazards someone in need of Alzheimer's care faces is the potential for wandering. Wandering can occur as either a side effect of medicine or because of an environmental trigger or a vague memory. Incidences of wandering ...

Read more: Caring for People with Alzheimer's who Wander


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