Marteny: Planning ahead avoids grieving family from making hard choices

To remember and be remembered are natural human needs. Every senior has the opportunity to plan the final footprint she or he leaves on this earth.

To remember and be remembered are natural human needs.

Every senior has the opportunity to plan the final footprint she or he leaves on this earth.

A way to ensure those wishes are known and respected, a senior can pre-arrange their funeral.

Recently, my brother died from brain cancer. Prior to his death, he was faced with the reality of finalizing his funeral arrangements, including picking out a casket for himself.

By making these decisions, he gave a gift to our family.

Many of his wishes we were all in agreement with, but after he no longer had the mental capacity to give us guidance, our family started to disagree on some final decisions.

This was mainly due to the clashing of ideas and perceptions from two generations. It was causing major family conflicts.

However, we always referred to his decisions.

A lot of the disagreements were also due to the emotions surfacing and the individual ways that each of us grieves.

More than ever before, people are making plans for every stage of life, including their funeral.

Seniors can give their families an immense gift by pre-arranging their own funerals.

It spares the family from anxiety, expense and inconvenience at the time of a senior’s death.

If seniors don’t pre-arrange their funerals, then loved ones are left asking what the senior would have wanted.

It ensures that decisions that must be made are done so by seniors for themselves at a time when emotions of grief are not involved.

Funerals don’t have to be elaborate. It has been proven that when seniors pre-arrange their own funerals, they spend less on it than if a family member arranges a funeral after their death.

Pre-planning helps prevent emotional overspending.

If funeral arrangements have not been made ahead of time by a senior, then his or her family is left with the added task or organizing it, and with that responsibility comes the related haste, indecision and stress.

When a person dies, the family needs time to come together to mourn and heal.

And as with a will, the funeral plan should be reviewed on a regular basis and updated when necessary.

It is amazing the amount of information that is required at the time of one’s death.

A pre-arranged funeral planning guide can help seniors walk through the required information paperwork.

It does not need to be completed at the time that the funeral is pre-arranged. However, it should be done while a senior still has the capacity to provide accurate information.

Sometimes, it is easier for a senior to write this information down on paper, rather than talk about it with a family member.

After the planning guide is complete, it should be reviewed with the executor of the will, so your personal wishes are clearly understood.

At the time of death, the completed planning guide is provided to the funeral director so that the funeral is carried out in accordance with a senior’s expressed wishes.

Sharen Marteny is a services consultant for

seniors in Kelowna.



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