Geriatric care field is growing

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THERE IS NO Dr. Spock for adult children who take the role of parenting their parents. Most baby boomers are unprepared to care for their octogenarian and nonagenarian relatives. They don’t have the expertise, the resources or the time. And the costs for care can be staggering.A practical “” and increasingly popular “” solution for many is to hire a geriatric care manager, a professional who is trained to assess, orchestrate and monitor their relatives’ care for a sum “” typically several hundred dollars a month “” that will not break the bank.

Before Berkeley resident Jim Balandra’s wife, Kay, died seven years ago, he promised her he would look after her 87-year-old mother, Margie Wolthuis. Even though she lived alone in Crockett, it didn’t seem like a great burden to him at first. But within a year, Wolthuis was hallucinating and was forgetting to feed herself.

“Margie would call me several times a day telling me she saw people in the house. Often I could talk her down and calm her, but increasingly I would have to go out there,” Balandra said. “Those were whole half days out of my life, sometimes in the middle of the night. My employers were very understanding at first, but it was becoming a strain on my colleagues and it was very stressful for her and me.”

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