The Importance of Proactive Funeral Planning for Seniors

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Marc Bisson

Funeral planning encompasses many steps and can feel overwhelming, even if it seems far off on the horizon. However, starting the conversation early can ease the burden and give you enough time to make well-informed decisions about your final arrangements. Additionally, having well-thought-out plans helps ease the burden of grief for loved ones as they navigate your estate after your passing.

The Basics of Funeral Planning

Being Laid to Rest

One of the primary considerations you may already be pondering is how and where you would like to be laid to rest. With modern technology and the development of sustainable solutions, you have the choice between a traditional burial, cremation, exploring a green burial, or considering donating your body to science. Taking some time to think about your preferences and how you would like to be honoured will set the stage for your funeral plans.

Like burial planning, you must also consider how you would like your loved ones to come together to say their final goodbyes. This may be through a traditional funeral service, a memorial, or a celebration of life. Here, cultural and religious considerations can play a large role for some and can be helpful in guiding your plans.

Final Arrangements

Traditional

If you go the traditional route of planning a funeral or memorial, start by researching funeral service providers in your area. Some may specialize in funerals related to your faith, while others may have connections to a cemetery that is preferable for your burial. Once you have a few options in mind, you can schedule a funeral arrangement meeting with a representative from the funeral home. At this meeting, you will discuss everything from how you would like to be laid to rest to the vessel that will hold you in the afterlife and the exact proceedings for the day of your funeral. In collaboration with your loved ones, you can make special requests to have specific pictures and memories on display, flowers, obituary, and refreshments. The more time in advance you give for planning, the more intricate details you can include.

Non-Traditional

If you opt for a less traditional funeral, consider where you would like your loved ones to gather immediately and if you would like to set up an ongoing memorial space. Using a portion of your estate to create a garden, donate a bench, or plant a tree are increasingly popular and sustainable options for leaving a legacy and providing loved ones a place to remember you. If you are not planning a traditional funeral service, consider connecting with loved ones who can plan and gather the family for a wake or celebration of life in your honour to say final goodbyes.

Financial & Legal Considerations

Once you have an outline of your preferred final arrangements, you can solidify these wishes with your last will and testament.

Having a will notarized before you pass is an important legal step that can significantly expedite the process of settling your estate. Yet, many adults still neglect this process as they age. Consider your will to be the roadmap that your beneficiaries will follow to honour your wishes once you are no longer here to communicate them. In addition to allocating the portions of your estate that carry monetary and sentimental value to your beneficiaries, you can also solidify your final arrangements.

Personalizing Your End-of-Life Plans

Cultural and Religious Considerations

When it comes to end-of-life planning, your faith and beliefs can facilitate decision-making and provide clarity through the process. Religions and cultures have traditions for how they honour the deceased and differ in timelines, ceremonies, viewings, and wakes and even provide guidelines for how the deceased will be dressed. Even if you have not previously connected with this part of your faith or culture, it is worth exploring when planning your end-of-life arrangements.

Input from Family and Friends

The planning of your final arrangements does not need to be tackled alone. Instead, confine in family and friends to ask their opinions and suggestions when you feel overwhelmed. As they will be a part of your celebration of life, they can help offer you an alternative perspective when you feel conflicted.

Pre-writing Your Obituary

A synopsis of your life well lived will be summarized in your obituary after you pass. It is worth considering what you want to include in this post. Now, with the internet, obituaries can live on eternally but before you pass, you have control over what accomplishments, memories and other details you want to include to be public for your community. Additionally, you can leave instructions for how you prefer this information to be disseminated. Popular options include newspapers, social media, funeral home websites and directories.

The Way Forward

End-of-life planning and discussing your funeral arrangements is a full-circle moment. By taking a proactive approach to the process, you are giving yourself time to reflect and consider what is most important to you and your legacy. Be sure to enlist the help of family, friends and professional funeral planners as you navigate this ceasing chapter. For those who are planning ahead in the Ottawa-Cornwall region, Catholic Cemeteries is here to support you in the journey; providing burial services, exterior plot, and urn selection.

 

About the Author

Marc Bisson is the Managing Director of Catholic Cemeteries for the Archdiocese of Ottawa-Cornwall, where he helps families with burial services, including cremation, exterior plot, and urn selection. Marc holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance and is an experienced business executive, passionate about his work with Catholic Cemeteries and helping families through difficult times. Catholic Cemeteries can accommodate a full burial service on-site and welcomes people of all faiths and religions

 

Marc can be reached at:

info@ottawacornwall.ca 

or

613.822.1212

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