Planning ahead for a funeral

A person with dementia is terminally ill. Being a little blunt, if they do not die of another serious illness they may have, they will die of the dementia eventually. For various practical reasons it therefore makes sense to ensure that their funeral plans are in place in advance.

A couple of years before my mother died, I travelled to her area for the weekend to visit funeral directors, choose her funeral arrangements in the form of a pre-paid funeral plan. This was a bit scary (not your average weekend break!), but I was really glad I had done it when the time came.

My mother knew she wanted a traditional Requiem Mass, that was a given. She had been horrified years earlier when a friend’s family had ignored wishes for a Requiem Mass. This would be followed by a burial. The plot was secured for her years earlier when my father died. She used to joke that the gravestone should say “PTO”, with “And his wife Margaret” on the back, because there was not much room left for her bit.

Benefits of planning early are:

  • Funerals are getting more expensive. Agreeing the basics early, means you can secure a funeral at today’s prices, saving a considerable sum over even a few years.
  • It means that when the person dies, you are not having to suddenly choose a funeral director and make the choices when you have so much else going on, both emotionally and logistically.
  • The family will not have to pay for the funeral at a difficult time.
  • You can choose the funeral director you feel comfortable with. There is a whole spectrum out there and you will know immediately if they are not for you.
  • There will be plenty of time to consider and select appropriate options, with the ability to change your mind.

It is one of those jobs like setting up Power of Attorney or writing a Will, which are better done sooner rather than later, before you think you need them – and then you can forget about it.