Make end-of-life plans while you’re still together

by | Nov 23, 2014 | Our Blog

Elderly couple

Many elderly people need help staying at home, but they also need help in other areas of their lives. This is why each Stay at Home agency assembles a Total Family Care Team made up of trusted providers of companion care, medical care, facility care, legal planning, financial planning, mortuary planning, home maintenance, and medical equipment.

Mortuary planning

Funerals involve a lot of arranging, a lot of deciding, and a lot of expense. When you arrange a funeral, be prepared to answer dozens of questions, including

  • What do you want done with your body? You can be buried or cremated, of course, but your body can also be placed in a mausoleum or donated to a medical school or other medical facility.
  • If you are to be buried, do you have a burial plot?
  • Also, what kind of coffin do you want? An average casket goes for around $2,000, but they can go up from there.
  • What kind of service do you want?
  • What should the obituary say?
  • How is the whole affair going to get paid for? The average funeral costs over $7,000; for most of us, that’s a lot of money.

So here’s our question: Do you want to make these decisions when you’re all together and have time to weigh your options, or would you rather handle them when your loved one has just died and you have to answer all these questions in a matter of hours?

For too many of us, procrastination forces us into choice number two, and into the feelings of guilt, family conflict, and poor financial choices that go with it. We have four questions we ask our new clients to help them avoid the nightmare that comes with poor planning.

  1. Have you and your loved one considered the cost of final prearrangements?
  2. Do family members know your loved one’s final planning expectations?
  3. Have you and your loved one thought about grief counseling?
  4. Will the surviving spouse need help coping at home?

The last two questions are very important. Grief is a painful experience; funeral homes often offer grief counseling for up to a year after the funeral, and they sponsor survivors’ groups that help you feel less alone.

In addition, our experience is that when one spouse takes care of the other, the caretaker often dies first. At Stay at Home, we make sure funeral directors know what we do, so that the surviving spouse has somewhere to turn for the services they will need.

We know that end-of-life planning is no fun. But the alternative is much, much worse. Don’t let poor planning force you into a situation that is more painful than it needs to be.

Information for this post comes from Andy Houck, owner and administrator of Stay at Home of Loudon.