Resources for Families, Individuals and Professionals

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Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and their Effect on Health

Ask the Experts by Dr. Jennifer Kowalkowski

Q: I’ve recently heard about the link between something called Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and negative health outcomes. Given some different events in our lives, my children have at least two ACEs already. Is this something I should be concerned about?

A: ACEs are stressful or traumatic events that include abuse, neglect, and other household dysfunction such as witnessing domestic violence, family members with substance use disorders, or parental separation/divorce. Read more: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and their Effect on Health

Spread the Message of Suicide Prevention

Ask the Experts by Amelia Lehto

Q: With what seems to be a rise in teen suicide, both across the country and locally, what should we know as parents, friends, community members, to help change this frightening trend?

A: In the past year suicide has made headlines many times, for not only the losses of iconic rock stars but also the tragic losses of our friends, neighbors and loved ones. Suicide also made headlines as the focal point of rap artist, Logic’s, record-breaking hit “1-800-273-8255” featuring Khalid and Alessia Cara. What inspired a telephone number to be the title of a rap song, you may ask? It happens to be the 24/7 direct phone number to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Read more: Spread the Message of Suicide Prevention

Gardening Without Back Pain

Ask the Experts by David Gilboe

Q: Since spring is almost here, I’m wondering if you can provide some tips on how I can prevent my back from hurting when I get my garden and flower beds ready for planting?

A: Good body mechanics is the key to being able to garden without creating back pain. Here are several tips that will help you:

Read more: Gardening Without Back Pain

Recovery is about the family, not just the individual

Ask the Expert by Jeff & Debra Jay

Q: We have an addicted loved one and don’t know what to do as a family to intervene and help him. Are there things we can do as a unit to make a difference in his potential recovery?

A: For most families, the recovery process feels unmanageable, with too many things left to chance. The whole process of getting an addicted loved one into treatment, getting them into aftercare, and getting them into a stable recovery – even getting them to admit they have a problem in the first place, seems almost impossible. In the past, most of these things have been left to chance, and as a result, most people haven’t gotten better, and far too many have died. If alcoholism and drug addiction are real diseases (and they are), we can’t let the treatment and recovery process be subject to luck.

There are old myths that get in the way. “You have to let them hit bottom” and “they have to want to get better” are commonplace. But since addiction is characterized by denial, how long will we have to wait? And how many children will have to suffer in silence?

Read more: Recovery is about the family, not just the individual

It’s all a Trap! Helping your Adolescent Identify the Thinking Traps that contribute to Anxiety and Depression

Ask the Experts by Amy E. Graham

Q: Depression and anxiety seems to run in our family. My older brother struggled with both anxiety and depression his entire life and had a lot of problems because of it. He did poorly in high school, drank a lot of alcohol, did not finish college, was never able to keep a job for an extended amount of time, and has pretty much excluded himself from family events. My 9th grade son was just diagnosed with both anxiety and depression. Are depression and anxiety just different words to describe a future of failures, substance use and misery?

A: Although depression and anxiety affect different people in different ways, they are both treatable conditions, and most definitely not a guarantee of future failures, substance use or misery. In fact, depression and/or anxiety may resolve with competent, informed care (psychotherapy, improved self-care, social supports, and in some cases medication).

Read more: It’s all a Trap! Helping your Adolescent Identify the Thinking Traps that contribute to Anxiety and Depression

Technology in the Classroom: Is it the Best Fit for Your Child?

Ask the Exerts by Tommy Adams

Q: My child has been telling me a lot about the devices they have been using in their classroom lately. I don’t understand what they are doing with the technology and how is it helping them learn? We hear so much about limiting screen time, so what is best?

A: All over the country, schools of all sizes and varieties embrace the use of technological devices in classrooms. One-to-one tablet programs, apps and virtual learning are now curricular hallmarks from pre-kindergarten through high school. Is this healthy for our children?

Those of us in education and administration are constantly concerned with finding the right balance while using technology to enhance learning. In an online survey of 2,462 advanced placement and writing teachers, the Pew Research Center found that 77% of teachers polled say that the internet Is a useful search tool that positively impacts student research, while 87% say that overuse of technology is creating an easily distracted generation with a short-term attention span.

Read more: Technology in the Classroom: Is it the Best Fit for Your Child?

Know the signs and symptoms of heart disease in women

Ask the Experts by Dr. Joan Crawford, DO

Q: I was surprised to learn that heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. How are the signs and symptoms different for women than men?

A: You’re not alone. According to an American Heart Association survey, only 45% of U.S. women know that cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer. About 400,000 women died from cardiovascular disease in 2016.

The signs and symptoms of coronary heart disease are different in women than in men. While the average man experiences extreme pain in the center of his chest when having a heart attack, 60% of women have vague symptoms that are often ignored or attributed to something else.

Read more: Know the signs and symptoms of heart disease in women

Raising Empathic Children in a Disconnected Age

Ask the Experts by Bart Bronk

Q: I’m worried about the considerable amount of time my teenager spends staring at her phone, but I also recognize what a powerful tool technology can be. What are long-term impacts should I consider?

A: You are certainly not alone in your anxiety about screen time. Common Sense Media, a leading nonprofit dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology, reports that the average teen today spends an incredible 6.5 hours per day staring at a portable screen.

First, let’s consider what your teen is experiencing. Her screen is a veritable Nirvana of the kinds of stimuli teens have always craved: dialogue with friends, interactions with the opposite sex, gossip, games, music, entertainment and, perhaps most enticing, a 24-7 reality show featuring the (heavily curated) lives of everyone she knows.

Read more: Raising Empathic Children in a Disconnected Age

Caring for a Parent with Dementia

Ask the Exerts by Barbara Roden

Q: My mom was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s -type dementia. She lives alone, so when I visit she is always very excited to see me. Over the course of my visits, she keeps repeating herself over and over. I tell her she’s already told me that, but then a little while later, she tells me again! How can I help her memory so she doesn’t keep repeating everything?

A: Unfortunately, you won’t be able to “help” her memory. It is a physical change, and currently there is no cure.

What you can change is how you react to her repetitive statements and questions. Repetitive behaviors are often caused by stress, anxiety, frustration, or fear. Your mom may be unsure of what’s happening, where she is, or what time of day it is. You can imagine how unsettling that might be.

Read more: Caring for a Parent with Dementia

Program Offerings from The Family Center

Ask the Experts 1/18/18 

Q. I’m hoping to take advantage of the enrichment and educational programs offered by organizations in our community. Where can I find opportunities to do that?

A: The Grosse Pointe community has a number of helpful organizations that offer various types of enrichment and educational programs throughout the year. You will have no trouble finding something that fits into your schedule and your interest.

In addition to The Family Center, The War Memorial, Grosse Pointe Public Library, Grosse Pointe Public Schools, SOC (Services for Older Citizens), the Neighborhood Club and many other organizations are where you should begin looking for options.

Read more: Program Offerings from The Family Center