Will you assume a caregiving role?
Some long-term care insurance policies cover payment in certain situations to family members who are caregivers, says June Ann Schroeder, a Certified Financial Planner professional with Liberty Financial Group in Elm Grove, Wis., but the premiums are often prohibitive.
Medicaid may pay relatives for caregiving, too, in cases where the patient is eligible, Modigliani says. She recommends that the whole family agree to a care contract spelling out who will pay if the caregiver needs outside help.
Even if medical expenses are covered, hidden costs can add up quickly, says Schroeder, a former nurse who cared for her mother at home. For example, utility bills will likely rise. "Older people like it warm and need to turn the thermostat up," she says. "They may want their own phone line or account."
Special diets are almost certain to have an impact on the household food budget, Schroeder adds -- as are favorite treats, such as a cheese Danish with breakfast or a glass of brandy at bedtime.
"Caregivers may want to explore a financial contribution from the parent," says Miriam Zucker, a certified professional geriatric care manager and founder of Directions In Aging in New Rochelle, N.Y. "Not only because they may need it, but also because older adults need to feel that they are not a burden."