The Family Center: Resources for Families, Individuals and Professionals

Serving our community through programs and resources vital to today’s families.


My Mother's Medications are Overwhelming

Ask The Experts by Ghada Abdallah

Q: "My brother and I are sharing the responsibilities of taking care of our elderly mother. She is on so many meds it's hard for us to keep track of what she's taken and when, especially when neither of us are with her all the time. Is there a fool-proof system we could use to ensure we don't miss something?"

A: Yes! Blister packs or pill boxes would work. By simply compartmentalizing your medications, you will save time/hassle and track doses more effectively....

Read more: My Mother's Medications are Overwhelming


Working with Your School when Your Child has a Congenital Heart Defect

Ask the Experts by Richard Humes, M.D.

Q: My son is entering school and has a congenital heart defect. Any advice on how to prepare him for school?

A: For many families, preparing for the upcoming school year is a very busy time. But for those with congenital heart defects (CHD), back to school issues can mean much more than where to find the coolest notebooks since their heart condition can have an impact on the student's performance both in and out of the classroom.

CHD is the leading cause ...

Read more: Working with Your School when Your Child has a Congenital Heart Defect


Are My Kids Ready to See the Dentist?

Ask the Experts by Eric McCutcheon 

Q: I have two kids, aged three and five, that are getting ready for school. I try my best to keep their teeth clean and look for problems, but I don't know when they should start going to the dentist since mine doesn't see children. When is the best time to take my kids for their first dental checkup?

A:  As a family dentist, I get this question often from parents concerned about their children's dental health but worried their kids will be scared ...

Read more: Are My Kids Ready to See the Dentist?


What would you say if your family member was sucidal?

Watch this compelling TED Talk video by Kevin Briggs - "The Bridge Between Suicide and Life"

For many years Sergeant Kevin Briggs had a dark, unusual, at times strangely rewarding job: He patrolled the southern end of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, a popular site for suicide attempts. In a sobering, deeply personal talk Briggs shares stories from those he’s spoken — and listened — to standing on the edge of life. He gives a powerful piece of advice to those with ...


Survivors: Let Someone See You Reading this Article

Ask the Experts by Mary Petersen

Q: "I have a friend who has disclosed to me that he had been sexually abused. How can I help diffuse the stigma and offer support so he can talk about it more easily?" 

A: Let it be okay for him to admit and discuss this horrific topic. Statistics are, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men, in their lifetime, will admit being sexually abused. So imagine what isn't reported. 

Survivors often don't even tell their closest family and friends due to the great stigma ...

Read more: Survivors: Let Someone See You Reading this Article


Dad is Becoming Very Forgetful - What Should I Do?

Ask The Experts By Michael Kelly

Q:  My father is becoming very forgetful about things he would normally remember. I'm worried he is in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease or other dementia. What should I do?

A: Your first step is to have Dad examined by a qualified physician. The doctor determines what, if anything is actually wrong and recommends treatment. If the diagnosis is dementia further legal steps to provide Dad with adequate protections are necessary.

Once the diagnosis ...

Read more: Dad is Becoming Very Forgetful - What Should I Do?


Make Reading A Year Round Commitment

Ask the Experts by Nick Smith

Q: My child worked so hard during the school year to become a stronger reader. How do I keep his reading skills sharp during the summer months, especially when he does not enjoy reading?

A: A common concern among parents, especially those who have children that struggle with reading, is what to do over the summer so that the skills attained during the school year do not regress. According to a report released by the RAND Corporation, the average summer learning ...

Read more: Make Reading A Year Round Commitment


What's So Special About a Special Needs Trust?

Ask the Experts by Michelle C. Harrell

Q: I am the parent of a 17 year old special needs child. I've been hearing the term "special needs trust" frequently lately. What is it and does my child need it? 

A: As parents of special needs children, we hear the term "special" so frequently that the meaning is sometimes lost.

I personally began to check into the aspects of a special needs trust for my youngest son, Adam, who suffered a brain injury. I needed answers to the question of what was ...

Read more: What's So Special About a Special Needs Trust?


Share the Caregiving Responsibilities

Ask the Experts by Jill Gafner

Q:  As a full-time working mother of busy teenagers and caregiver to my aging parents, I am often exhausted and overwhelmed. I would like to make some changes for the summer and enlist my kids to take on some of the responsibilities with my parents, but I'm not sure how to go about it. Please help!

A: I completely understand and empathize with your situation. You don't want the tasks to be a burden on your teens, rather you'd prefer they would willingly offer ...

Read more: Share the Caregiving Responsibilities


Fractured Elbow?

Ask the Experts by Ahmed Bazzi, D.O.

My child fell and hurt his elbow falling from a monkey bar. How can I tell if it's fractured? 

The warm weather is upon us. This is great news for kids that have been cooped up inside. But as kids hit the playscapes, trampolines and other activities requiring jumping and climbing, parents should be forewarned these activities have the potential to cause elbow injuries.

It is one of the more common injuries we see in the Orthopedics Department. According ...

Read more: Fractured Elbow?


Group Therapy Works Well With Teens that Are Abusing Drugs

Ask the Experts by Catherine Zatkoff

Q: My son is a tenth grade honor's student. I found a pipe and marijuana in his bedroom over the weekend. How concerned should I be - it's only pot, right?

A: You should be concerned. A staggering amount of today's teens are abusing substances. Parents need to understand that the issue is epidemic, and that the old adage of "not my kid" has to stop.

Honors and AP kids are telling us that they are abusing substances on a regular basis. Some kids have admitted ...

Read more: Group Therapy Works Well With Teens that Are Abusing Drugs


Being Fully Present

Ask the Experts by Marla Ruhana

Q. Is it just me or do other people feel stress from technology? I feel like I can't get anyone's undivided attention in my home.

A. You are not alone. Although we see tremendous benefits from technology, we also see drawbacks. Folks complain that they are isolated in their homes with family members present. "They're home but no one is interacting with one another."

Q. Exactly. I am guilty too! Seems when I attempt to be with my child, I have 6 unread texts. I ...

Read more: Being Fully Present


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