Being prepared is the best way to make sure things go as smoothly as possible when anticipating a loved one’s departure. It may seem too morbid to prepare for a loved one’s death. One may think, “I will worry about the details later, I want to spend as much time with them as I can right now.” Although spending as much time with them as possible is vital, preparing for the day they pass away is just as important.
When in the beginning stages of planning, there are a few topics to consider and discuss: loved one’s wishes, emotional preparation, legal/finances, and end of life options.
1. Discuss your loved one’s wishes with them:
- Explore what is most important to them and their legacy
- Speak to them about ways they want to be remembered and honored.
2. Begin emotional preparation:
- Take the chance to clear the air and say anything that you need them to know. It can be a simple “I’m sorry” or “I love you.”
- Talk to them about stories and memories of their life to refresh the mind and pass them down to the next generation.
- Seek counseling or grief support if feeling too overwhelmed.
3. Prepare important legal, financial, and medical information:
- Discuss an advanced directive. At this point does the loved one want life-saving measures to be taken, or do they prefer a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate Order).
- If the loved one is not able to make his or her own decisions anymore, appoint a durable power of attorney, or DPOA, to be the decision making leader.
- Get a copy of the loved-one’s will and fully understand what their wishes are.
- Keep copies of these documents handy for access at any time.
4. Plan funeral arrangements:
- Choose a funeral home that is in the same area as the resting site and as a convenient place for all important family members. They may have packages that can simplify the details of planning a funeral, such as casket options and floral arrangements.
- Decide on the type of disposition whether it be a burial, cremation, etc. The loved one may already have a preference or may have already begun planning this portion.
- Discuss other service details such as religious service preference, who will perform the eulogy, who will be pallbearers.
5. Discuss preference of end-of-life care and living arrangements:
- When a loved one starts to require extra care, the family may need help to make sure they are safe and all their health needs are met.
- Discuss the different options such as: hospice, board and care, or home care.
- Hospice is a great resource for patients who want to pass comfortably in their own home or in a care facility. Hospice provides the patient with comfort and any treatment and care that are needed.
Going through the steps of preparing for a loved one’s passing can be very draining and emotional. It is important to delegate tasks and accept as much help as possible. There are many resources and support available. If you need more guidance on the steps to plan for a loved ones departure or their care arrangements, WellPath Partners is available to assist and navigate through this tough time.
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By: Leila Lagandaon
Placement Coordinator at WellPath Partners
B.S. in Health Science, California State University, Long Beach