For many, death is a looming cloud in the distance, threatening to dampen our everyday lives, that we desperately refuse to acknowledge. According to Health Affairs, in 2017 only one in three U.S. adults had an advance directive. Even fewer than that have planned their actual funeral arrangements, with only 21% of Americans speaking to their loved ones about their wishes, according to the National Funeral Directors Association.
In recent years, the internet has made information on death and preparation more widely available, causing a shift in the overall attitude toward our inevitable end. With a brighter outlook on the phenomenon, at times it seems that we can now discuss death as casually as we do the weather. With millennials leading the change, being coined the “death positive generation”, even AI technologies such as Alexa are hopping on board to rebrand passing over.
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The App WeCroak, a digital-age memento mori that reminds you that you’re going to die at five random times each day and serves as an opportunity for people to contemplate what matters most in their lives, Recompose, which transforms human remains into soil that is then used to regenerate the Earth, and Order of the Good Death, an organization that promotes death positivity through practical and support for alternative forms of death care, were all invented by millennials.
While an increase in resources teamed with the devastating effects of COVID has made us hyper-aware of our mortality, more needs to be done to educate people on modern-day pre-planning to pass away. Below is a list of ‘musts’:
Establish final wishes: Separate from a Will, last wishes are what someone wants to have done after they die, addressing funeral arrangements and cremation instructions
Acknowledge vital steps: Ensuring all information necessary to obtain the Death Certificate is readily available for family members
Consider a digital presence on social media: Assigning a Legacy Contact for social media platforms such as Facebook that allows an individual to post on your behalf and manage your page
Put together a simple call list: Gathering the information for a Mortuary, Accountant, Trust Executor, Financial Advisor, Attorney, and life insurance
Have financials sorted: Arranging the management of banking information and retirement accounts
Don’t forget about furry friends: Drafting a Pet Trust and specific arrangements for the care of pets
The benefits of pre-planning include affordable payment plans, your wishes being honored, taking the burden off of loved ones, personalization, and peace of mind. If you’re interested in learning more, Mountain View Funeral Home & Cemetery is holding the Sensitive Side of Life Workshop to help with pre-planning because death doesn’t have to be dark. It will be held at the VFW Post 9399, 133 N. Saguaro Drive in Apache Junction, 85120 on Tuesday, July 12th at 11:30 a.m. Please register with Hilary Samples by emailing [email protected] or calling 480.832.2850.
Author: Hilary Samples is the Marketing Director of Mountain View Funeral Home and Cemetery in Mesa, a family-owned funeral home that values giving back to its community. With more than 13 years of experience in the funeral industry, Samples is passionate about educating people on the importance of planning ahead to make funeral arrangements easier for their loved ones. For more information, visit https://mountainviewfuneralhomeandcemetery.com.