Thursday, January 09, 2014
When should you have the talk?
By Dr. Anthony Policastro

One of the questions that parents sometimes struggle with is when is the time right to speak to their children about sex. Every child is different. Therefore, the answer is different for every child. What is important is that the conversation occurs before they get misinformation from their classmates. A recent study suggests that the age at which that occurs might be younger than many parents realize. A group of researchers in Rhode Island did a survey of middle school children. They were all between the ages of 12 and 14.  The students were identified for the study by their school counselors. The counselors selected children that they felt had emotional issues. Thus, the group was not an average middle school group. However, these were children who came in touch with their average classmates on a daily basis. There were 410 children that completed the survey. The results were somewhat surprising. Of the group 22% reported sexting within the previous six months. Those who only sent suggestive messages accounted for 17% of the 22%. The remaining 5% sent both suggestive messages and suggestive pictures. Girls were more likely to send pictures. Those involved in sexting were more likely to engage in other sexual behaviors as well. Another issue that was noticed was that members of this group felt peer pressure to send these messages. If the parents of these children planned on waiting until the child reached high school to have a discussion, they would have been too late. In addition to the issue of discussing matters such as these at the right time, there is an issue about using electronic devices for these things. A parent child relationship needs to be based upon trust. Therefore, snooping around a childs electronic devices can create issues with that trust. However, there is an alternative approach. While some children view owning a smart phone as a God given right, that is not the case. A child who obtains a phone should have ground rules that include proper use of the phone. The rules should also include a way of checking how the phone is used so snooping is not an issue. It is a matter of following the rules. This is no different than owning a car. There are rules for new drivers. A smart phone needs to come with rules as well. Parents might indeed wonder when the time is right to speak to their child. Current research suggests that it might already be too late when kids are in middle school.

Fit for Life Keep your body flexible

By Jonathan Souder

Have you ever watched a kid play? They run, jump, fall, then get up and do it again and again. My kids love the ground. In fact, Im old school when it comes to kids and play. After school, it is a requirement for my kids to get outside and get dirty on the ground. As we get older though, theres one thing we dislike. The floor. Why dont we like this fantastic place for exercise? It could very well be the lack of strength and flexibility. Theres a great stretch that can be done on the floor called an upper spinal rotation. Picture yourself laying in a fetal position on your side and moving your upper body to the opposite side of where your knees are pointing. A flexible person can do this and have their knees pointing to the left and their right shoulder blade lying comfortably on the floor demonstrating great spinal flexibility. I teach this stretch in one of my classes to a group of active and fit 60 and 70-year-olds. It doesnt come easy to them. They work very hard every week trying to improve their ability to do this trunk rotational stretch along with other stretches. Then I go home and tell my kids to do this stretch and they effortlessly perform it. Why? Most kids are very flexible because of daily movement. The older we get, the less we move or want to move in our day and then we get tighter. Ive made a commitment to myself to move more in my day and to stretch daily. Stretching is often overlooked in the exercise routine because its slow and time consuming. It takes time to properly stretch each muscle group. You know what else takes time? Rehabilitating from an injury. An injury that could have been prevented by stretching and maintaining flexibility. So, take the time daily to move and stretch your muscles, ligaments and tendons. And dont forget to eat well, sleep well and exercise. Heres to your good health. About the author Jonathan Souder is the fitness director at Manor House, an ACTS Retirement-Life Community in Seaford, Email your questions to

Affordable Care Act enrollment Citizens without health insurance are invited to attend the Affordable Care Act Information and Enrollment Assistance Event at the Sussex County Democratic Party Headquarters at 10 West Pine St., Georgetown, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18. Certified marketplace guides will be available to answer questions, walk individuals through the enrollment process and enroll them in an affordable plan that meets their needs. This is an important opportunity for individuals and families to learn about the various plans and find out if they are eligible for federal tax subsidies that will help lower monthly costs. Individuals who currently have health insurance are also invited to attend to find out if they can access more affordable insurance. To enroll at the event, individuals need to bring: " Birth dates of those applying for coverage " Social Security numbers of those applying for coverage " Paystubs, W-2 forms, or other information about familys income And if applicable: " Policy/member numbers for any current health coverage " Information about any health coverage from a job thats available to you or your family (if applicable) Remember that the Affordable Care Act requires every American to have health insurance. March 31 is the deadline for open enrollment in 2014. Contact Joanne Cabry at or 302-226-5019 for directions to the event in Georgetown. For those who cannot make it on Jan. 18, contact Chris Casazza, lead Delaware marketplace guide for Delmarva Foundation for Medical Care, at 302-853-5524 or

Center plans Grief Retreat The Family Support Center will hold a Grief Retreat for adults who have experienced a loss on Saturday, Jan. 25, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Delaware Hospice Center, 100 Patriots Way, Milford. Spending time with others who know what you are going through helps you heal. When someone understands us, the intense feelings of being alone and misunderstood begin to fade. Dr. Judy Pierson, licensed clinical psychologist, will facilitate the retreat, leading discussions on topics such as what to expect when grieving, accessing and expressing our feelings of loss, soothing and caring for self, educating your support network and honoring our loved ones. There is no charge for this Delaware Hospice community outreach program, however, lunch is available for a $5 fee. Registration is required as space is limited. Register by contacting Michelle August at 800-838-9800 or

Health centers receive grants The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded grants to Delawares federally qualified health centers to help enroll Delawareans in health insurance coverage. La Red Health Center, Henrietta Johnson Medical Center and Westside Family Healthcare received $177,872 to help with their enrollment efforts in the communities they serve in Delawares three counties. With these awards, health centers will be able to meet immediate needs, including expanding the hours of existing outreach and enrollment assistance workers, and hiring new or temporary outreach and enrollment assistance workers. Delawares three health centers served 39,401 patients last year, with more than 37 percent of them uninsured.

New Email a Patient service Family and friends may now send emails to patients at Bayhealth Kent General and Milford Memorial. Several design choices are available online. You may enter a personal message and submit your email. Bayhealth volunteer staff will print and deliver emails to patients daily. To learn more, visit

Diabetes support group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, Seaford, will hold a free diabetes support group from 5 to 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 27, at the hospital. As a person with diabetes, are you struggling to make positive behavior changes in your life or would just like to share with others coping with diabetes? The support group will feature a webinar offered by the American Association of Diabetes Educators on the topic of Diabetes and the Mouth: A Two-Way Street. There will also be a question and answer period. Registration is required. To register and to obtain additional information regarding the support group, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospitals Diabetes Education department at 629-6611, ext. 2446.