Caregivers Rise To The Challenge

hughes caregivers

When we first met Maryann Winchell, she was struggling to care for her aging parents, shuttling daily between her home and theirs, reports CBS News correspondent Sandra Hughes.

Nine months later, the situation is deteriorating. Her mother's rheumatoid arthritis is worse and so is her father's dementia. Caretaking costs have gone up $500 a month.

"Because of our finances, we are moving them with us, because it is a hardship having them live somewhere else," said Winchell.

Maryann's husband, Stacy, has taken on even more work as a nurse practitioner, going six days a week to help pay the bills.

Winchell's family may be America's new norm. An estimated 34 million Americans care for loved ones age 50 and over.

A just-released healthcare study of a thousand caregivers finds half of them are spending more than 10 percent of their income on it. One in three used some of their savings to cover costs.

Just like the Winchells.

When asked if they had any savings put away for their own retirement, Stacy Winchell said, "No and I don't foresee that at this point in time that there will be any retirement."

People in the study said they cut back spending on leisure activities and saved less or not at all for their children's future.

Last winter Danny was only dreaming of going to college. The family took out a huge loan to send him.

Probably most significant for caregivers is the squeeze on their time. One person in the study said: "Time is the most expensive commodity I provide but it has no price tag."

Caretakers in the study spent on average 35 hours a week caring for their loved ones. And more than half of them said they did not work. A third said they had quit their jobs or reduced their work hours.

"Thirty-seven percent are actually saying they're more depressed over the situation," said Sherri Snelling of Evercare. "Sixty-five percent are saying they have a lot more stress and anxiety."

Still, most caregivers do it willingly.

"I have to be there for them," Winchell said. "I feel like I have to be there for them."

But without her own financial cushion, it might be her own children who have to be there for her, when the time comes.