Ask the experts - Winter 2020

Got a burning question you’re not quite ready to ask in person? Send your questions to our experts and have them answered here.

  • Winter 2020
  • Ask the experts

Family ties

Q: Before we were married my husband fathered a child with his then girlfriend, a relationship which was basically a prolonged fling. The baby, a girl, was adopted. She has since tracked down my husband and they have communicated via email several times. She has children of her own and wants to get to know her biological father. I believe she has also contacted her biological mother who has declined to meet for whatever reason.

Now, my husband and I have two adult children of our own and grandchildren. They know nothing of this and I feel it would be a huge shock to them and a source of hurt potentially. My husband feels a responsibility to get to know his biological child, especially given her biological mother has refused. I, however, am concerned how this will affect our family.

A:  Your situation sounds difficult and I can certainly understand your reluctance and fears. However, this is a reality, and the potential has always existed for the consequences of his decisions as a young man to come back to him. This adult child has spent her life not knowing her biological parents, and a significant part of her identity still needs to be developed via getting to know her genetic father. Genetics are important as they account for a great deal of our personality and medical predispositions.

I suggest taking it slow, telling your adult children that you have something difficult to share with them and that you hope they will be understanding. Tell them it will come as quite a shock to them, as it did to you, but that a woman has made contact with you about meeting her biological father. Give them time to process what has happened. Invite them to ask questions. Be open. And ask them to try and keep an open mind; having this person in your lives may enrich you all, providing extra 
family members to get to know and enjoy.

Answered by Dr Rachel Hannam, North Brisbane Psychologists

Slipped standards?

Q: I realise this may seem like a triviality but it bothers me greatly to see how dress standards have slipped dramatically in recent years. My granddaughter wears jeans to work in her office and assures me it is the norm. I retired only 10 years ago and cannot recall seeing any of the ladies wearing jeans in an office environment! Am I just old fashioned?

A: I suppose you are used to a different dress standard from a different time. Fashion and dress code expectations are certainly changing year on year and being 72 years old I have seen a lot change myself. Funnily enough one of my grandsons is a labourer and outside of work he is always dressed to impress. My granddaughter on the other hand is studying law and is what you would call a tomboy, not really into fashion or fuss. I expect she will dress appropriately when she is working in an office environment of course. The bottom line is the expectation set by an employer. If they want a casual office environment then they are likely to encourage staff to dress that way. Every workplace is different.

Answered by Jan T, National Seniors member


Q: On behalf of many other seniors and myself, I would like someone from the dental profession to explain what is on offer these days apart from dental implants (very expensive) and dentures, which often cannot be used because of loss of too many teeth. Is there some other option like a plate that can be used and held by suction? If so, how much does this cost and how is it done?

A: Both dentures and implants are long-lasting treatments that can improve your quality of life. Dentures usually require short and easy appointments and are cost-effective, with an average price of $1,350 for a full denture. However, finding the perfect stability in your mouth is the biggest challenge and it takes time to get used to them.

Implants can fix the prothesis, increasing comfort considerably while looking more natural. However, they involve surgical procedures, and a single implant can cost between $3,000 and $6,500. A thorough discussion with your dentist is fundamental. Your general health and the status of your gums, bone and remaining teeth can determine which treatment is the most suitable for you, as well as the final cost.

Answered by Dr Annamaria Sordillo, Scientific Consultant for AIRFLOW Dental Spa