Taking care of your parents or other elderly relatives could bring responsibilities you hadn't anticipated. Nursing home fees can cost an average £627 a week (source: NHFA, 2008), and they tend to rise by more than inflation. However, there are a number of ways you can help fund this, including:
Care fees annuities
An annuity is a guaranteed income for life provided by an insurance company in return for a single lump-sum payment. They also offer a tax advantage - if the monthly income paid from the annuity goes direct to the care home provider, it's not taxable as income. Please bear in mind that tax rules can change.
State support and benefits
You may be eligible to claim for financial help from the government. Look into your eligibility for help in the form of 'Carer's allowances', local authority interest-free loans and 'Over 50s' benefits.
A parent having a serious illness can have significant financial implications for them and you. Critical illness cover is an insurance policy that pays out a lump sum to them to help them pay for any such costs as a result of illnesses, so it's worth making sure that your parents are covered for this kind of eventuality (cover is subject to application).
The NHS is always there for emergencies and serious illnesses, but for non-emergencies like a hip replacement, some people prefer to go private by paying for private medical insurance.