Resources for Families, Individuals and Professionals

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On the Front Lines of Alzheimer’s & Dementia

Ask the Experts by The Family Center

A special Ask the Experts interview with documentary film director, Keith Famie

On December 6, 2017, The Family Center, in partnership with The War Memorial, Grosse Pointe News, Grosse Pointe Magazine and producer/director Keith Famie, will be showing a special long-format trailer for the upcoming documentary film in production “On the Front Lines of Alzheimer’s & Dementia.” Mr. Famie spoke with us about the film and the devastating illness it highlights.

FC: Why did you want to make this film?

KF: Over the years I have produced a three-part series about aging, all of which aired on PBS here in Michigan.

  • The Embrace of Aging: Men – 7 parts
  • The Embrace of Aging: Women – 13 parts
  • The Embrace of Dying: How we deal with the end of life – 8 parts

During these productions I encountered many dementia-related stories and in 2003 I lost my father to Alzheimer’s. I was his principal caregiver and learned first-hand just how devastating this disease is for patients and loved ones. Now at 57 I felt it was time to produce a film that can help the baby boomer generation on their cognitive aging journey.

Read more: On the Front Lines of Alzheimer’s & Dementia

What to Look for in Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage Plans

Ask the Experts by Dan H. Tripp CLU

Q: I’ll be turning 65 in a few months. I keep hearing about Medicare Supplement plans and Medicare Advantage plans. What should I look for?

A: The first thing you need to know is if you are within 3 months of turning 65 or turned 65 less than 3 months ago, you are in the “open enrollment” period, meaning you are guaranteed coverage regardless of your health. You have a 7-month window to get Medicare without having to answer any health questions. Don’t wait; if you are 90 days past your 65th birthday, you may be ineligible, based on your health.

The major difference between Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans and the Advantage plans is who administers them. Advantage plans – Medicare Part C – replace parts A & B, except for hospice care, which remains in Part A. Many include prescription drug coverage, and offer dental and vision benefits. These plans are administered by private insurance companies, not Medicare. Premiums are individually set, and can be as low as $0.00, but typically have very high deductibles and copays. Keep in mind that premiums can be raised and/or benefits changed or dropped.

Read more: What to Look for in Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage Plans

Is it a Cold or the Flu?

Ask the Experts by Dr. Banu Kumar

Q: How can I tell the difference between a cold or the flu in my child? When should I be concerned?

A: As a parent, your first goal is always to get your child comfortable when they aren’t feeling well. Then you begin to question how serious is this? Has anyone else been sick lately? Is this the flu or just a cold?

It can be difficult to tell the difference, because flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses. They can have the same sore throat, runny nose, congestion and cough. Fortunately, there are some ways to identify which is occurring, but they don’t replace the importance of consulting with a doctor.

Read more: Is it a Cold or the Flu?

Digital Distractions: Phubbing

Ask the Experts by Dr. Lori Warner

Q: My husband told me I’m “phubbing” him. What does he mean??

A: The term Phubber combines “phone” and “snubber”. But are you a Phubber?

Let’s find out – here are a few of the indicators. Do you:

  • Check your phone during meals with others?
  • Check your phone during a lull in the conversation?
  • Glance often at your phone while talking to someone?
  • Place your cell phone where you can see it when with others?

Read more: Digital Distractions: Phubbing

Online College Search Tools

Ask the Experts by Milissa Pierce, MA, LPC

Q: What are some good online tools to help with my college search?

A: There are many easy-to-use and useful tools that parents and students can use to aid in their college search. Most are free of charge and many will often help you personalize your search.

In the Grosse Pointe Public School system we use a tool called NAVIANCE which is an all-in-one tool that can not only help students search for colleges, but also compare themselves to other students from the district. The students simply log into the website from the school website using their assigned username and password. Once there, students select the COLLEGE bar and can personalize as well as compare and search.

Read more: Online College Search Tools

Finding the Right College

Ask the Experts by Beth Walsh-Sahutske MA, LPC

Q: I think I should be doing something to prepare for college now that my son is in high school, but it feels a little overwhelming. Where do I begin?

A: Often when students are asked what they are looking for in a college they don’t really know either. The best way to start is to physically get on college campuses – even if they are not the ones he is thinking of attending.

Locally, we are fortunate to have many easily accessible colleges to consider. If your son is a Freshman that may be a visit for informal activities like sports or theater performances. But older students will want to be more intentional with their visits and take an official tour.

Read more: Finding the Right College

What Parents Can do to Help their Child be Ready for Kindergarten

Ask the Experts by Kristen DeVooght and Dorothy Heitjan

Q: How can we as parents help our preschooler make a successful transition into kindergarten? Might you have some tips to share?

A: It is vital in the preschool years to provide your child with the experiences that will build the foundation for later success in school.

In order to help your child build this foundation, parents should provide:

Hands on experiences:
Dig, cook, build, paint and sculpt with your child. Activities like these foster curiosity, eye-hand coordination, spatial relationships, and vocabulary development.

Read more: What Parents Can do to Help their Child be Ready for Kindergarten

Aging Parents? Strategies to Remain Conflict-free

Ask the Experts by Sean Cleland

Q: My parents are getting older and I worry what will happen if/when my siblings and I must make decisions for them. Is there anything we can do ahead of time?

A: By 2030 there will be more Americans over the age of 65 than under the age of 16. As we age an increasing number of care concerns arise, such as the ability to live independently. Families should have a plan in place to handle these care concerns before they arise.

If you have parents in their mid-seventies or older, it is a good idea to hold a family meeting to discuss how they want their needs met during their later years and to make sure that each family members’ role is agreed upon.

Read more: Aging Parents? Strategies to Remain Conflict-free

Helping Seniors Agree that It’s Time to Stop Driving

Ask the Experts by Marian Battersby

Q: My family and I are struggling with our elderly father and his insistence on driving. What resources are out there for resolving this sensitive issue?

A: You are correct that the issue of driving when elderly is a sensitive one. Driving a car is a symbol of independence and is closely tied to an individual’s identity. It represents freedom and control and allows senior adults to gain easy access to social connections, health care, shopping, activities and even employment. The loss of this freedom can lead to isolation and depression.

Read more: Helping Seniors Agree that It’s Time to Stop Driving

Indoor Play Option for Little Ones

Ask the Experts by Kristen Young

Q: The weather is turning cooler and I’m a bit anxious about the upcoming long winter days and trying to keep my little ones entertained and socialized. I also would like to meet some other parents with children the same age as mine – are there any options around here?

A: You are not alone! Those infant and toddler years can feel a little isolating for parents during the cold months. But the energy level of the kids doesn’t wane – so finding activities and options is very beneficial for all. One great local choice many people don’t know about is Play Central.

Play Central is a drop-in open play group run by The Family Center, a local non-profit organization. The program begins October 4 and runs every Wednesday and Thursday through May 31 from 9am-11am – for $5.00 per visit for the whole family.

Read more: Indoor Play Option for Little Ones