COVID-19 pandemic exposes US caregiving crisis; Biden seeks to boost at-home caregiving

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the nation’s caregiving crisis, including overrun nursing homes and those who watch loved ones at home. But for some, it isn’t a burden, it’s a privilege.

News 12 Staff

Apr 14, 2021, 2:30 AM

Updated 1,140 days ago

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The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the nation’s caregiving crisis, including overrun nursing homes and those who watch loved ones at home. But for some, it isn’t a burden, it’s a privilege.
Bud Focht was the sports information director at Rider University for 35 years. He would have celebrated his 40th anniversary there, but he gave up that job five years ago to care for his wife Terry.
“She’s my wife, she’s my partner and if anyone’s going to take care of her, it’s going to be me,” Focht says.
When Terry developed early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, Focht says that his working days were over. Friends suggested that he put his wife in a nursing home, but he rejected that notion. Terry was diagnosed with the illness at age 54, which is rare. And at that age, the disease comes with an accelerated timeline.
“Six to eight-year period between diagnosis and the end, and Terry was diagnosed seven years ago,” says Focht.
Within 15 years, older people will outnumber younger ones in the United States for the first time. The COVID-19 pandemic shows that the country may not be ready. Long-term care facilities in New Jersey struggled with COVID-19 outbreaks and about 8,000 people living in them died from the virus.
Because of this, President Joe Biden wants to spend more money on at-home caregiving.
Focht says that the pandemic has not changed anything for him – he has been living in quarantine ever since he left Rider to care for his wife.
“I got to the bank once a month. I go to the store once a week and that’s it. Other than that, I’m next to my wife 24 hours a day. And I’m not complaining at all, I’m blessed,” says Focht.
Focht was inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame a year after he left Rider.


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