Category: Caregiving

How to Get Power of Attorney for Elderly Parents

How to Get Power of Attorney for Elderly Parents

How to Get Power of Attorney for Elderly Parents

Aging is a bittersweet part of life. Aging is a sign of life and having lived for many wonderful years. But aging also tends to come with challenges, such as decreased health. Moreover, aging comes with the need to plan for a future when a person has fewer tomorrows than yesterdays. In this article, we address one pertinent aging question, how to get power of attorney for elderly parents.

how to get power of attorney for elderly parents with MedicareLifeHealth

Getting a Power of Attorney for an aging loved one is one way to prepare. It will make the transition into the later stage of life easier on everyone. POA’s are not something people like to think about. However, just like getting life insurance and a will, a Power of Attorney can be helpful and prevent the stress of needing one when it’s a little too late to get a Power of Attorney easily.

Why Should You Get a Power of Attorney for Your Elderly Parents?

Think of everything you have access to and do on a daily or monthly basis. You might call and make a payment to the electric company. Maybe you called the bank to ask about an unknown charge. Maybe you called your insurance company to make some adjustments to your coverage. It is easy for the account holder to complete tasks. However, when you aren’t the primary or secondary owner of the account, completing even the simplest task, like paying an electric bill, can be difficult.

Sometimes the bank will want the account holder’s information, and sometimes a hospital will want a Power of Attorney. You may also need a POA for less frequent things, like selling property. If you have an aging parent, it is time to start talking to them about a POA. Ask them how they plan to manage their finances and health care decisions if they become unable to do so.

Why You Can’t Wait to Get a POA

As people age, they can sometimes suffer memory loss, or other cognitive disorders that require the help of others to complete simple tasks. You shouldn’t wait until your elderly parent reaches that stage before getting a POA though.

If your parent’s health and mental capacity decreases significantly, it can be impossible to get a POA. Then, you will instead have to petition the courts for adult guardianship. It is important to start talking to your parents about who they would like to help them with finances and medical decisions if they become unable to manage it themselves. By talking about it, you can get the POA set up before it’s needed. This will allow you and your family to focus on what is really important, instead of focusing a legal battle.

What Type of Power of Attorney Should I Get for My Elderly Parent?

There are different types of Power of Attorneys and knowing the difference can help you better prepare for getting one. When discussing POAs, the agent is the person who is acting on behalf of the person who is labeled as the principal. In this case, the elderly parent is the principal, and you are the agent.

There are 4 types of Power of Attorneys you need to know about so you can get one that is best suited for your situation and plans.

GENERAL POWER OF ATTORNEY

A general POA allows an agent to act on behalf of the principal in almost every aspect. Some businesses may require a special POA for their business and will not accept a general POA. However, for the most part, a general POA can allow the agent to handle the principal’s accounts and transactions.

A General POA is a great option if you think you will be paying bills, closing accounts, or opening accounts for your elderly parent before they become incapacitated. It’s important to know that a general POA is no longer valid after the principal becomes incapacitated. That means if your elderly parent can no longer make decisions for themselves, the POA becomes invalid. After that, you will need to petition the courts for adult guardianship. For this reason, a general POA may not be the best option for managing an elderly parent’s accounts.  

SPECIAL OR LIMITED POWER OF ATTORNEY

A Special Power of Attorney is limited to specific acts. In this case, the principal decides what they would allow the agent to do and lists it in the POA. This prevents the agent from having the ability to commit acts the principal would not do for themselves or consent to.

If your parent is worried about you having the ability to open accounts under their name, a special or limited POA can give them peace of mind. They can then control what the POA can be used for. Some businesses may also require a specific special POA for their business. For example, a bank may require a special POA. Make sure you or your elderly parent contact the accounts you might be handling. That way, you will know whether or not a special POA is necessary for their accounts.

SPRINGING POWER OF ATTORNEY

A springing power of attorney allows the power of attorney to only become valid after a specific point. These are great for elderly parents who want to wait until they can no longer manager their own accounts before giving someone else the power to manage them. As with the special/limited POA, the principal can determine what they want to allow the agent to have access to and be in control of.

DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY

This power of attorney is another great option for elderly parents because it remains valid even if the principal becomes incapacitated. This POA also goes into effect immediately, giving the agent immediate access to it. This is great for an elderly parent who is not incapacitated, but wants a little help with some things and then wants the agent to fully take over when they do become fully incapacitated. This POA should have all of the specific permitted powers listed on it.

What Should Be Included in the Power of Attorney?

This should be a discussion between you and your parent to decide what they are comfortable having you in charge of. They may want you to have a POA for their bank accounts so you can withdraw money for them. Or, they want you as a POA for their finances so you can do their taxes for them. Also, they may also want to allow you to make medical decisions for them.

Common Uses for a POA:

  • Buy or Sell Property – If your loved one becomes incapacitated and can no longer live in their home, you may decide to sell their property. You may have also discussed purchasing property for them to be closer to you.
  • Pay Bills – Some bill payments require the account holder to make the payments, in these cases, you will need a POA to make a payment on the account.
  • Open or Close Accounts – If your loved one moves and you need to turn off the utilities to their home or open a new account, you will most likely need a POA.
  • File Taxes – In order to file taxes on someone else’s behalf, you need a POA.
  • Make Medical Decisions – If your loved one needs treatment for an ailment but they cannot make decisions for themselves, having a POA will allow you to make decisions regarding treatment. A medical POA is different from a medical directive or living will.

Difference Between a Medical Power of Attorney and Healthcare Directive

Healthcare directives and medical POAs are not the same. Healthcare directives gives directions to medical professionals to carry out the will of the individual in the circumstance that the person becomes incapacitated and requires medical care to keep them alive. Most medical directives involve end of life decisions, such as if the person wants to die naturally or be given medication to ease pain and suffering. They may also have information in the directive on how to handle life support and resuscitation.

Medical POAs are different because it leaves the agent in charge of decisions regarding the principal’s healthcare. This can be used for a lot of medical decisions that may need to be made after the person becomes incapacitated, and before they reach the end of life state. For example, an elderly parent with dementia could fall and hurt themselves. During this time, the medical POA will be asked how to proceed with treatment, such as consent to surgery, or pain management. The principal has to lack the mental capacity to make medical decisions for themselves in order for a medical POA to be activated. An agent cannot make medical decisions for a parent who is capable of making their own medical decisions.

How can I get a Power of Attorney for my Elderly Parent?

Are your elderly parent is of sound mind and judgement, and not mentally incapacitated? Then, you can have a lawyer draw up a Power of Attorney for a fairly low cost. This is the best method to get a POA. It allows you and your parent to be walked through each part of the POA. Then each party fully understands and agrees to everything. Using a lawyer is also a good idea because they can help identify your specific needs for the POA. Also, the lawyer can ask questions to identify what type of POA best suits the needs of your situation.

There are a lot of websites and programs that will draw up the papers for you for a small fee. The websites ask you for questions regarding what kind of POA you would like and then creates the forms for you to print at home. In these cases, you will need witnesses to be present when signing the document, and the form should be notarized. Use caution when using programs and websites that offer POA forms though. While it can be convenient and cheaper than using a lawyer, you will not get any legal advice or guidance.

Final Thoughts on How to Get Power of Attorney for Elderly Parents

Getting a Power of Attorney for your elderly parents can sound daunting. However, you have a few options that can make things simple. We always recommend finding a good professional to help you.

Good luck.

Are Prepaid Funeral Plans a Good Idea?

Are Prepaid Funeral Plans a Good Idea?

Prepaid Funeral Plans – What they are and are they worth it?

It is never too soon for you to start making plans for your funeral. As you begin to plan, you will notice you have many options for paying for services and planning. Prepaid funeral plans are one common planning option.

However, they have pros and cons, and you need to understand what you are getting into before you buy one. Taking time to research and understand all of the options is a great start to funeral planning. If you haven’t heard of prepaid funeral plans, then you can learn more about them in this article.

prepaid funeral plans - what are they and are they worth it

What are Prepaid Funeral Plans?

Prepaid funeral plans are not the same as life insurance. Prepaid funeral plans are when you make funeral arrangements and pay for services before death. This allows you to choose services and products that you want. By choosing a prepaid funeral plan, your family does not have the burden and stress of funeral planning.

What is Included in Prepaid Funeral Plans?

You can choose to plan and pay for as much as you want. Most funeral homes offer prepaid planning, which allows you to make the plans and pay ahead of your death. 

The first thing you choose when you are pre-planning your funeral, is a funeral home. You should search for funeral homes in the area you would like to have your funeral and review their website and call them to learn more about their services and prices.

Note, it is important to find a funeral home that makes you feel comfortable with your post-life plans. The funeral home will walk you through the funeral planning process.

Planning Questions:

funeral plans - a helpful complete funeral planning guide

Some things you might want to think about to prepare yourself for the funeral planning process include:

  • What do you want done with your body? Cremation? Burial? At sea burial? Body donation? If you have an idea about what you want done with your body, it will be much easier to make decisions about the funeral arrangements.
  • If you want to be buried, do you have a location in mind or a prepaid plot?
  • Are you religious or do you have a type of service in mind, such as a military service?
  • If you want people to make donations in your name, make a list of organizations you would want people to donate to.
  • What is your budget for a casket/urn?

You have the power to make all of the choices for your funeral. You can write your own obituary, make a playlist of songs, have specific poems read, and even decide what flowers you want. The funeral home you choose will help guide you through the planning process.

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Prepaid Burial Plans

Prepaid burial plans are the same as prepaid funeral plans, but they’re specific to burials. The term “Prepaid Funeral Plans” encompasses all funeral plans, such as cremation or body donation where as the term “Prepaid Burial Plan” refers to funerals that include burial of the body.

Pre Arranged Funeral Plans

Making arrangements before the funeral does not always have to include prepaying for the funeral. You may decide to arrange many aspects of your funeral ahead of time, and you may decide to set money aside and pay at a later date, or leave that money to someone else who will fulfill your funeral arrangements. If you have life insurance, it will be helpful to your family, or whoever will be left to handle your post-life care, if you have pre-arranged funeral plans.

Are Prepaid Funeral Plans Safe?

It is difficult to answer this question because every state has different laws regarding whether funds are protected, or if they have to be managed in a certain way. Some questions you can ask when researching funeral include:

  • Is the money I pay put in a trust fund account?
  • Can I transfer my prepaid funeral arrangement to a different funeral home if I choose?
  • What is your policy on refunds?
  • What is your policy if your business closes before my services are conducted?

You may also want to hire a lawyer to review the contract with you. A lawyer can help you understand the terms of the contract so you can make an informed decision. If the funeral home cannot guarantee that your money will be returned to you if the business closes, it may not be the best decision to agree to a prepaid plan.

How Much are Prepaid Funeral Plans?

The cost of a prepaid funeral plan varies based on what you include in your plan. The benefit to prepaying for a funeral is you pay the current market value price for the services and products. This means you will pay less for the funeral services because the services will increase overtime due to inflation. The average cost of a burial funeral exceeds $10,000 when you include the services, casket, burial plot, and vault. Of course, this price is expected to continue to rise with inflation just like all other goods and services.  

Can I Cancel a Prepaid Funeral Plan?

This is largely dependent on your state’s laws and the funeral home’s policies. In some cases, you cannot get your money back if you decide you want to cancel the plan. In other cases, you may be able to get back most of your money if you cancel your plan. Also, you might be able to transfer your plan to another funeral home. Additionally, there may be the option to change or alter your plan if you find you have changed your mind about what you want your funeral entail.

Pros and Cons of Prepaid Funeral Plans

PROS

  • Locks in market prices of today to avoid paying the cost of inflation down the road.
  • Allows you to have control over the planning of your funeral.
  • The burden and stress of funeral planning is removed from family or friends after your passing.

CONS

  • If the funeral home closes, you could lose all the money you paid. It’s important to make sure you ask questions and thoroughly understand what will happen to your money in all possible situations.
  • If you move later in your life and decide you no longer want your funeral done in your previous location, you may have difficulty transferring or canceling your plan.
  • There is a risk of losing money if the funeral home mishandles your money and cannot provide you with the services you paid for.

Alternatives to Prepaid Funeral Plans

Prepaid funeral plans are not the only way to be proactive about your post-life care.

Whole Life Insurance

There are different types of life insurance policies. Whole life policies are typically referred to as funeral insurance because it does not expire. Most people use part of the burial insurance policy payout to help cover costs of the funeral.

Term Insurance

Term insurance rarely pays out and is rarely used for funerals. This is because term life insurance expires and the money the person paid into it is not returned. Unless you die during the term of the policy, it won’t cover your funeral expenses.

Cash

Cash a popular way to cover funeral expenses, but because funerals can be very expensive, the average American does not have enough in savings to cover the cost of a funeral. However, cash is a great option if you are wanting to arrange a low-cost funeral.

For example, if you are wanting your body donated to science, many times cremation is free when the organization is done with your body. In this instance you may only have the expense of an Urn and a small gathering for loved ones.

Another example would be if you are an avid investor, cash might be a wise option for you. Investing cash and allowing it to grow at a higher rate than inflation can allow you to cover the cost of a funeral down the road, while also making money on your investment for the present time.

Payable Upon Death

A payable upon death, or POD, is an agreement with your financial institution to transfer your assets to designated beneficiaries.

In this arrangement you can leave a specific amount of money to any beneficiary of your choosing. That means you can leave the money to a specific person you trust to carry out your funeral arrangements.

You can also designate a funeral service provider as the beneficiary which ensures the funeral service is paid for upon your death.

Prepaid Funeral Plans vs Funeral Insurance

Prepaid funeral plans allow you to lock in current market rates and you don’t have to worry about the plan lapsing and not having a way to pay for your funeral. However, prepaid funerals are a little more risky than funeral insurance.

Funeral insurance (also known as Final Expense Insurance) is paid on monthly and upon death will give your next of kin a certain amount of money that was established when you started the plan. Funeral insurance gives you more flexibility, allowing the money to be spent at any funeral home or on any services you or your loved ones want.

In addition, with funeral insurance, there is a much lower risk of your money not being paid out. Unlike prepaid funeral plans, life insurance policies have a lot more federal regulations to protect your money in the event the insurance company shuts down or fails.

Are Prepaid Funeral Plans a Good Idea?

Now, this really comes down to what is best for you and your situation. A prepaid funeral plan might be a good investment for someone who lives in a small town with little competition for funeral homes. Moreover, they need to have full intentions of having their funeral in that town.

For others that want more flexibility, a different option, such as life insurance, payable upon death accounts, or even just setting aside cash, can be a better option.

One thing that is a good idea no matter who you are though, is making arrangements and plans now. Even if you don’t pay for those arrangements now, preparing your funeral and being financially prepared for it, will be the greatest gift you can leave with your loved ones.

Flower Color Meaning Funeral flowers roses
Is Assisted Living Tax Deductible

Is Assisted Living Tax Deductible

Is Assisted Living Tax Deductible?

One very common question we hear at Medicare Life Health Co. is “Is assisted living tax deductible?” There are two answers:

  • Yes, if the reason for living in an assisted care facility is primarily medical, then all the expenses for the facility, which includes meals and lodging, is deductible.

  • No, if there is no medical reason for residing in assisted living, as defined by the government, then your expenses are not tax deductible.
  • In this case, only medical services are considered deductible. However, only if they add up to a certain amount.

In addition, in most cases that are defined as “medically necessary”, the resident is living at a nursing home, not in assisted living.

So, let’s take a look at both your assisted living and long term care options and their tax implications.

Is Assisted Living Tax Deductible

Whether you are trying to plan for long term care for yourself or for a loved one, there are important financial questions you should be asking yourself. One of these questions is how expenses associated with long term care can affect your taxes. Moreover, what are the tax benefits to opting for long term care facilities.

Are Nursing Homes Tax Deductible?

Long term care facilities such as assisted living facilities and nursing homes can incur a lot of expenses. Some of the expenses associated with long term care facilities include:

Taking Care of Elderly Parents - Product and Service Reviews
  • Lodging
  • Meals
  • Transportation
  • Assistance with Personal Care (ie. Bathing, dressing, and eating)
  • Medication Administration
  • Medical Care
  • Physical therapy
  • Health Monitoring

Typically, by the time a person moves into a long-term care facility, they need a lot of help. Moreover, there are many aspects of daily life that require the help of a medical professional. These professional include nurses or certified nurse assistants (CPAs). As a result, there are a few different situations in which these expenses can be used for tax credits and tax deductions.

Tax Deductions and Credits Related to Nursing Homes

If the individual in the nursing home is financially independent, then that person can claim the Medical Expense Tax Deduction. (Additionally, they cannot be considered another person’s dependent.) Also, they may qualify for the “Credit for Elderly or Disabled.”

If the individual will be claimed as a dependent on another person’s taxes, the person filing taxes can qualify for the Medical Expense Tax Deduction based on the medical expenses for their dependent.

Medical Expense Tax Deduction

Medicare Expense Tax Deductions are one of the most common tax deductions. You can use this deduction if your medical expenses exceed 7.5% of your individual’s income.

According to the IRS, medical care expenses included care given for diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention. In addition, you can often deduct transportation to medical appointments. This is because it is a necessary cost for the medical care to be received.  

Your care in an assisted living facility is deductible if your care is primarily medical. Then, all the expenses for the facility, which includes meals and lodging, is deductible.

If the reason for living in an assisted care facility is not medical, then only medical related expenses are deductible. In this case, deductible medical expenses might include a medical exam prior to entering the care facility. Also included: medical appointments, transportation to medical appointments, medical devices, medications, and payments for such care.

Long-Term Care Facilities and Nursing Homes

When prescribed by a doctor, living in a long-term care facility is considered medically necessary. First, talk to a doctor when you are deciding if it is time for assisted living. This will make sure you understand whether or not you can deduct costs.

Also, the care facility may be able to help you develop a health care plan. They are skilled at developing plans that include medically necessary care when it is truly needed.

Credit for Elderly or Disabled

This tax credit is for those 65 years or older, or those that are permanently and totally disabled with a taxable income. This tax credit is not specific to nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Instead, it is for those that are living off limited or fixed incomes due to their age or disability. To find out more about this tax credit and if you or a loved one qualify, visit the IRS website.

Aging Expenses

It is expensive to get old. There is no doubt that as we age, life gets more expensive. The need for medical care goes up, there are more frequent doctors’ visits, need for medication, and sometimes there are needs to adjust our living situation. Growing old in own home can be expensive.

Aging Expenses at Home

Some things you may need to consider when you or your loved one is getting older, is making changes to your home to make it safer and easier to live in for a longer period of time.

  • Add railings in your bathroom near the toilet and in the shower.
  • Put a seat in the shower.
  • Ensure the shower and bathroom floors are non-slip or have non-slip mats.
  • Add dim lighting with motion sensor for ease of seeing at night when going to the bathroom.
  • Make sure there is sufficient railing on any stairways.
  • Switch out round door handles for lever door handles.
  • Equipment that makes accessing the home easier for those that are disabled. This includes a wheelchair ramp, stair life, and extra wide doorways for wheelchair access.
how to prevent falls, with a quiz and 5 step prevention plan

Acknowledging that aging comes with extra expenses can be helpful when saving and planning for the future. What if you don’t want to move to an assisted living facility or nursing home in old age?

Then, as one option, a nurse can come to your home to help with daily care. They can also help you run errands.

Transportation is another expense to consider. As you age, you may not be able to drive. Or, you may not want to drive, which means you will need to pay for a transportation service.

Expenses Associated with Long-Term Care Facilities

While nursing homes and assisted living facilities tend to have flat fees for lodging, meals, and medical care, other expenses may not be included.

Things like transportation, or activities that are outside of the nursing home, may incur additional costs. The nursing home may also charge fees for holding your bed until you return.

So, if you are considering a long-term care facility, make sure you ask about the costs that are not covered in the plan. Planning ahead will help you budget accordingly.

Conclusions on Tax Deductible Assisted Living

To start, the government considers medically necessary expenses are tax deductible. Next, the expenses must add up to over 7.5% of your income for the year. Then, if your stay in an assisted living facility or nursing home is “medically necessary”, then it too is deductible. Finally, talking to your doctor is a good place to begin the process.

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Funeral Prayers & Poems For Service and Burial Planning

Funeral Prayers & Poems For Service and Burial Planning

Funeral Prayers, Burial Poems and Inspiration for Service Planning

funeral prayers, funeral poems, burial prayers, burial poems

Finding the right funeral prayers and / or burial poems can be a dauting task for those that are grieving. To help, we have put together a list of commonly used funeral poems and prayers for your reference.

Whether you are planning ahead for your own funeral, or planning the burial ceremony of a loved one, this list will help.

flowers plants and trees for memorials, funerals and burials

Christian Funeral Prayers

To start, if you’re looking for the perfect prayer for a funeral service, the Book of Common Prayer is a great place to start. The book was originally written in 1549 and has been updated and revised over the centuries.

Bible Verses as Prayers

In addition, Bible verses are often used as prayers at funerals.

A bible verse that is commonly used for Christian funerals is Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (KJV)

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Bible Gateway, KJV

Psalm 23 (KJV)

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Bible Gateway, KJV

Bereavement Prayers and Poems

  • Loss
    • By Winifred M. Letts – 1882-1971

Christian Funeral Poems

Alternative Funeral Poems

Immortality by Felix Adler

The dead are not dead if we have loved them truly.

In our own lives we can give them a kind of immortality.

Let us arise and take up the work they have left unfinished.

source

Hymns for Funerals

  • How Great Thou Art
  • Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
  • The Old Rugged Cross
  • Amazing Grace
  • A Mighty Fortress is Our God
  • The Lord is My Shepard
  • Great is Thy Faithfulness
  • Blessed Assurance

Conclusions on Funeral Prayers, Poems & Hymns

There is art and beauty in the creation of a celebration of life, funeral or burial ceremony. Picking songs, poems and prayers that are special to you and your loved ones is an important part of the grieving process. Please, take your time and let your choices be loving, respectful and even joyful.

Funeral Prayers Further Related Reading

What Flowers are Appropriate for a Funeral?
What Flowers are Appropriate for a Funeral?

What Flowers are Appropriate for a Funeral?

What Flowers are Appropriate for a Funeral?

Choosing a flower arrangement for a funeral can be a tough task that comes with a lot of questions. What flowers are appropriate for a funeral? Should I even send flowers? What should I say in the message?

Finding an arrangement that brings peace and comfort, while also choosing something that uniquely represents the person you lost can be overwhelming. This true whether or not you are planning a funeral, or attending a funeral.

This guide can help you decide how to choose the best funeral flower arrangement.

What Flowers are Appropriate for a Funeral?

What are Common Funeral Flowers and Their Meanings?

If you look up funeral flower arrangements you will come across a wide variety of flowers. Flowers can have many different meanings and flower arrangements can evoke different feelings.

Are All Lilies Funeral Lilies?

Lilies, and lily like flowers and plants, are one of the most common funeral flowers. They are gorgeous and typically bring about a peaceful feeling. However, not all lilies are the same.

Asiatic Lily

asiatic lily best funeral flowers

The Asiatic lily comes in a variety of colors. For Funerals, many choose a white Asiatic Lily. The meaning behind the Asiatic lily, more specifically white Asiatic lilies, is thought to be innocence and purity. This flower is popular for funeral arrangements because it symbolizes the purity and innocence that is gained after life.

Peace Lily

peace lily funeral flower options and arrangements

The Peace Lily is not a lily at all. It is a plant that blooms a white leaf with a yellow flower. The Peace Lily is a popular funeral plant because of what it signifies. A Peace Lily plant is believed to bring peace and positive energy, and also signifies purity, innocence, and sympathy. For these reasons, many people choose to give Peace Lily plants at funerals.

Easter Lily

What Flowers are Appropriate for a Funeral?

The Easter Lily is a white lily that is commonly used in funerals. The Easter Lily symbolizes purity and rebirth. It grew popular amongst Christian churches for Easter and weddings.

What Color of Roses are for Funerals?

One of the most popular flowers around the world is the Rose. It is commonly associated with love and the colors all have special meanings.

Flower Color Meaning Funeral flowers roses

White Roses

To start, white roses are used in many flower arrangements to include funeral flower arrangements. These roses have been traditionally used in weddings because of their symbolization of purity and new beginnings. However, because of their elegance they have also become a symbol of remembrance.

Dark Crimson Red Roses

Crimson Red Roses are a deep and dark red. This color is often associated with mourning, which makes it a common flower for funerals. The deepness of the color perfectly symbolizes the feelings and sadness of mourning, but the beauty and peaceful fragrance of the rose offers a symbol of hope.

Yellow Roses

Yellow roses for funerals are commonly given by close friends. The color is supposed to represent strong ties and a strong friendship. You may also see Yellow Rose arrangements for military funerals because of its likeness to the common Yellow Ribbon that symbolizes support for our troops. 

Pink Roses

The delicate color of pink infused with the elegance of the rose can provide a very comforting, yet happy, arrangement. Pink roses signify love and appreciation.

What Other Flowers are Good for Funerals?

White Hyacinth

White Hyacinth is one of the best funeral flowers

This beautiful flower is a great addition to any arrangement. They purity of white for funeral flower arrangements is very peaceful. White Hyacinth’s symbolize praying for someone. The heartfelt meaning of these flowers make them popular funeral flowers.

Iris

irises funeral flowers best flowers for funerals

Irises are a popular choice for funeral flower arrangements because of their beauty and meaning. Irises date back to Greek mythology when it was believed if the Iris flower was planted on the grave the Goddess Iris would guide the soul to the afterlife. Today Irises symbolize faith and hope, as well as grief, which makes them common flower to give.

Carnations

carnations appropriate funeral flowers

Next, carnations are a beautiful flower that come in many colors. Carnations are a common funeral flower because of their fullness and fragrance. In addition, they make a great funeral arrangement flower because they fill up the arrangement. Moreover, they are a very affordable flower.

Much like other white flowers, white carnations symbolize innocence. Pink carnations symbolize remembrance, while red symbolizes admiration.

Orchid

Orchids are a popular flower to give at funerals because they signify everlasting love and sympathy. Pink and white are the most common funeral flower colors for orchids. Orchids are elegant and a good choice when choosing a flower to send to a funeral.

orchids best funeral flowers

What Color Flowers Should You Get for a Funeral?

Next, What colors of flowers are appropriate for a funeral? There are a lot of options when it comes to choosing a flower arrangement for a funeral.

White is the most popular color of flower for funerals because of their symbolization of purity and innocence. As well, white flowers are a neutral color that evoke peace. Other colors also make for fine choices. You may choose a flower based on the deceased’s favorite color or flower.

Choosing a flower that reminds you of the deceased is always a good choice. If your flower choice is a less common color or flower for funerals, you might want to explain in the card why the flower reminds you of the deceased or why you chose it. This will allow you to avoid a generic note of sympathy and might bring joy to the recipient of the flowers.

What are Good Funeral Plants?

Choosing a plant for a funeral instead of a flower arrangement is becoming more popular. Plants that can be cared for and that will continue to grow after the funeral can bring peace to the family of the deceased. When choosing a funeral plant, consider how much work it will take to maintain, as well as the climate for the location. You wouldn’t want to get a tropical plant for an area that is typically cold unless the plant could thrive inside.

Peace Lily

Peace Lily plants are very common to give at funerals. Giving the live plant instead of just incorporating it into a flower arrangement is becoming very popular. The live plant is believed to evoke positivity and peace and is used in cultures that practice feng shui. The care for a Peace Lily is relatively easy and it can remain and indoor plant.

Orchid Plant

Live Orchids are also a popular plant for funerals. Their simple elegance bring remembrance and peace. Orchids can require a little more attention, so this would be a great flower for a family member who enjoys gardening and potted plants.

Fern

Ferns are a great plant for funerals because they are easy to care for. These plants do best in humid environments. But don’t worry if the family doesn’t live in a humid environment, ferns are great plants for kitchens or bathrooms. Ferns symbolize new beginnings and hope.

Aloe Vera

The Aloe Vera plant has ties back to Ancient Egyptian funerals. People attending the funeral of a pharaoh was required to bring an Aloe plant because of its worth. Aloe Plants also symbolize affection and grief. Another great quality of Aloe Vera plants is that the plant has healing properties and the gel inside the plant can be useful for many household purposes. If you’re looking for a practical plant for a funeral, the Aloe Vera is a great type of plant to send.

flowers plants and trees for memorials, funerals and burials

Memorial Trees

Additionally, memorial trees are gifts that show respect and tribute for loved ones that have passed. If you are giving a tree that needs to be planted, make sure that you find a tree that will thrive in your climate and geography. Some of the more popular trees people give as memorial tree gifts are:

  • Oak Trees
  • Olive Trees
  • Magnolia Trees
  • Blue Spruce Tree

Conversely, if you don’t want to put the burden of keeping a tree alive on the family, you can have a tree planted for them in honor of your loved one that passed.

Unique Memorial Tree + Urn Option

As a unique option, there are a few companies (like this one) that offer a biodegradable urn and tree planting system. It seems like a unique way to honor a loved one and have their legacy live on as fertilizer for a memorial tree.

What Do You Do with Funeral Flowers After the Funeral?

So, when the funeral is over, what do you do with the funeral flowers? To start, many flowers will be kept on the grave until they die and are removed. Then, others will be taken home with close family and friends.

Plants that can be maintained and kept alive will usually go with the closest family members, while arrangements that will die over time might be given to attendees. It really depends what the family wants to do with the funeral flowers.

Alternatively, it is becoming more common for families to ask for donations to specific organizations in lieu of flowers. This is because once the funeral is over, family members are often overwhelmed with the number of flower arrangements and plants they have.

What to Send to Funerals Instead of Flowers?

If you’re worried the family might be overwhelmed with plants and flowers, there are alternatives to send your condolences. Fruit or food baskets are a great way to send your condolences. Typically close family members can become overwhelmed with the funeral planning process and ready to eat food can help them skip preparing themselves meals or snacks.

You can also send a card expressing your condolences and make a donation to a organization in the deceased’s name. This a wonderful tribute to the deceased. You can also send a picture or a book of pictures that you have of their loved one.

Suitable Words for Funeral Flowers

Finding the right words or message to add to your funeral flowers can be difficult. Words can’t reverse loss. Words can however bring peace and comfort. You can stick to something more traditional just to let the family know you’re thinking of them, or you can make it a little more personal. Including a short story of the deceased or something you will miss about the deceased is a great way to personalize your message. You can also include a short bible verse or quote as a message to bring peaceful thoughts.

Message with Funeral Flowers

Some common funeral flower arrangement messages might include the following:

  • “My deepest condolences for your loss”
  • “We are praying for peace and comfort for you and your family”
  • “*name* will be greatly missed, we are so sorry for your loss”
  • “Memories of *name* will be treasured forever. With deepest sympathy, *your name*”

Frequently Asked Funeral Flower Questions

What flower symbolizes death?

Several flowers have garnered reputations symbolizing death including:

  • Dark Red Roses: People associate crimson, or dark red, roses with death and mourning.
  • Chrysanthemums: According to funeralbasics.org, chrysanthemums represent death in some European cultures.
  • Aconitum: In addition, people sometimes consider Aconitum flowers as symbols of death. This is most likely due to them being poisonous!

How do you send flowers to a funeral?

If you want to send flowers directly to a funeral, start by calling a local florist or an online flower website. You will just need to know where to send the flowers (i.e. the address of the funeral home) and what time they need to be there by. If you are getting delivery service, your florist can take care of the rest.

What color rose is for death?

As mentioned, dark red roses or crimson roses are considered the color of rose associated with death. However, you can use other colored roses in your funeral bouquets as they are all considered flowers appropriate for a funeral.

How much should I pay for funeral flowers?

Typically, you will pay about $50 for funeral flowers. Although the range is anywhere from $30 to $80 for a standard funeral bouquet. Wreaths can cost more – typically, around the $100 range. In addition, you will pay more for funeral flowers that sit on top of a casket. These are called the funeral spray arrangements. These arrangements can cost hundreds of dollars.

Cheap Funeral Flowers

If you are looking for a less expensive option for funeral flowers, you can make and deliver a funeral bouquet yourself. Purchasing separate flowers and a vase, and then arranging them yourself can save you money.

Do family members wear flowers at a funeral?

Often, the family will wear corsages or boutonnieres at funerals. If there are pallbearers, they will often wear a boutonniere. In addition, it is a funeral or burial tradition that the pallbearers will place their boutonnieres on the casket before burial. People see this as a sign of reverence and respect.

What is a Standing Spray?

what is a standing spray

Standing spray flowers are traditional funeral flower arrangements. Flowers are placed on an easel to display them in a beautiful, often cascading arrangement. They are often more expensive than funeral bouquets and baskets. This is because you are paying not just for the flowers, but also for the flower funeral stand.

What is a Funeral Wreath?

A funeral wreath is also an arrangement that is presented on an easel. Just like a standing spray, they can be more expensive since you may also be paying for a stand or easel.

According to Wikipedia, the Ancient Greeks made funeral wreaths popular. They used them to symbolize the circle of eternal life.

Related Reading: Funeral and Burial Traditions from Ancient and Modern Times

When is are Wreaths or Standing Spray Flowers Appropriate?

Standing spray flowers are appropriate for a funeral, a wake or a viewing. They are not usually sent to homes, work or other personal places.

Conclusions on What Flowers are Appropriate for a Funeral?

In summary, you have many options when it comes to what flowers are appropriate for a funeral. You will need to make decisions based on what you or your loved one would have appreciated. There really are no wrong options. You just need to honor your loved one in the best way you can.

Further Related Reading

funeral plans - a helpful complete funeral planning guide
Social Security Lump Sum Death Benefit Guide

Social Security Lump Sum Death Benefit Guide

When someone you are related to dies, you are often entitled to a Social Security lump sum death benefit of $255. Let’s look at who is eligible and how you can obtain your funds for burial and funeral planning.

Social security lump sum death benefit guide

Social Security $255 Lump Sum Death Benefit

It is not a lot, but when a U.S. Citizen dies, then the Social Security Administration will provide their next of kin with a lump sum death benefit of $255. This is a one-time payment (meaning it is not reoccurring).

Who is Eligible

If the person who dies is a U.S. citizen eligible for Social Security, then their next of kin will receive the lump sum benefit. Usually, this means the surviving spouse.

In general, eligibility for Social Security in the United States means that a person worked long enough in jobs that were paying into the Social Security program to be entitled to benefits when they reach a certain age. The person who dies must be considered “eligible” under the SSA’s rules in order for their kin to receive any of these benefits.

Who is eligible to claim the lump sum death benefit:

  • The surviving spouse – living with the deceased.
  • According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), “If living apart and eligible for certain Social Security benefits on the deceased’s record, the surviving spouse may still be able to get this one-time payment.”
  • Or, if there is no spouse, the SSA can pass on the money to a child on record.

How do I claim the $255 social security death benefit?

There are several ways to confirm eligibility and to get your death benefit.

  • First, if you are working with a funeral home, the funeral director can report the death to Social Security for you.

Otherwise, if you need to contact Social Security yourself, you can reach them in the following ways:

  • If you don’t have the internet or are not comfortable using the SSA website, a phone number is available at
    • 1-800-772-1213
    • TTY number, 1-800-325-0778, for the deaf or hard of hearing.

Social Security Lump Sum Death Benefit Form

Here is the link to the SSA’s form to fill out to receive your lump sum death benefit:

What is the lump sum death benefit for social security?

This article addressed the question of how do i claim the $255 social security death benefit. It is a one time death payment from social security and not the same as a monthly social security benefit often used by the surviving spouse.

Who is entitled to death benefits in social security?

Besides the one time social security death benefit amount of $255, there are other benefits for surviving spouses. To qualify for monthly death benefits from social security, the deceased must first be eligible for the social security program as mentioned above.

According to the SSA, the people entitled to MONTHLY benefits are:

Certain family members may be eligible to receive monthly benefits, including:
— A widow or widower age 60 or older (age 50 or older if disabled);
— A widow or widower any age caring for the deceased’s child who is under age 16 or disabled;
— An unmarried child of the deceased who is: Younger than age 18 (or up to age 19 if they’re a full-time student in an elementary or secondary
school); or Age 18 or older with a disability that began before age 22;
— A stepchild, grandchild, step grandchild, or adopted child under certain circumstances;
— Parents, age 62 or older, who were dependent on the deceased for at least half of their support; and
— A surviving divorced spouse, under certain circumstances.


You will need to start at the SSA.gov website to begin your process of confirming eligibility for monthly benefits. Here is a good list of publications with helpful information.

Other Options for End of Life Expenses

Average Funeral Costs for planning and budgeting

If you are thinking now, $255 is not a lot of money! You are right. Hopefully, your loved one had other life insurance – such as final expense insurance (aka burial or funeral insurance).

If they did not, you might have to get creative with how you deal with your end of life costs. Our article, Average Cost of a Funeral, looks at low cost options for funerals and burials. That is a good place to start.

Furthermore, this process may make you consider your own funeral planning and budgeting. Depending on where you are in life, you will have options on what insurance will be necessary for your end of life costs.

Conclusions

In summary, getting your $255 survivors social security lumpsum death benefit should be pretty easy. However, as with most government agencies, these processes do take a little bit of time. Consequently, the SSA advises starting the process as soon as possible. This will deliver a prompt payment.

We wish you the best on your journey and offer you the following articles to help make your planning easier:

What to Do When Someone Dies – A Useful Checklist

What to Do When Someone Dies – A Useful Checklist

What to Do When Someone Dies

Here’s what to do when someone dies, including:

  • Where to Find Support
  • How to Grieve in a Healthy Way
  • What to Say When Someone Dies
  • What to Do for Next of Kin – A Helpful Checklist
What to Do When Someone Dies - a helpful checklis

Death is an inevitable part of life and with it comes grief and sadness. There is also a lot of stress associated with the death of a loved one. To reduce the amount of stress, there are a lot of things you can do to prepare for the stress of funeral planning and resources for coping with the loss of a loved one.

Where to Find Support After Loss?

Grieving is an important of loss and what to do when someone dies. Consequently, finding support during that period can help in so many ways. Moreover, unexpected loss and early loss can be tragic and traumatic.

Here are some places you can find support.

Friends and Family

Reaching out to friends and family who might also be feeling a similar way about the loss can be helpful. Not only are they also grieving but being able to share stories and memories about your loved one can be therapeutic.

Support Groups

Next, support groups are common for those grieving the loss of a loved one and are helpful in learning to cope with the loss. Moreover, support groups are especially helpful in instances where the death is tragic or the person you lost is a very close person to you.

For example, there are groups specifically for grieving parents who have lost a child, and there are groups for people who have lost a spouse. Sometimes a group that is filled with people who are experience a similar loss can be more helpful than family and friends.

If you are interested in finding a support group, you can do a simple search online, or you can probably find resources through your local funeral home or a social worker at a local hospital.

Church or other Religious Groups

Finding religion or leaning on religion in times of loss can help you find meaning and comfort. If you belong to a church, your church family can be especially supportive in times of loss. For many people, religion helps them find hope that death was not the end for their loved one. Whether you are religious or not, there are a lot of great religious texts that are comforting in these times too.

Counseling or Therapy

Loss is hard for anyone. When we are grieving, we sometimes need guidance from a professional to help us cope with the tough thoughts and emotions. There is no harm or shame in getting help from someone who is trained in guiding people through their feelings and thoughts. If you are looking for support, a counselor or therapist is a great place to find it.

Social Media

Social media can be a great place to find support when you experience loss. There are groups filled with thousands of people that are experiencing the same thing you’re experiencing. Finding those groups and connecting with people in similar situations can be similar to support groups. Knowing there are people who have been in your situation and they have survived can be reassuring that you too will learn to cope with your loss.

What to do When Someone Dies – Tips for Grieving

Grieving the loss of a loved one is different for everyone. How you grieve may depend on the relationship you had with the person and whether the loss was sudden.

Acknowledge How this Changes Your Life

Death can impact your life in different ways. Depending on this person’s role in your life, you may find that the loss changes a lot of things about your life. Acknowledge how this loss changes your life. You may find it helpful to write down the changes. For instance, if you suffer the loss of a close friend, you may find the loss changes who you call on a bad day. Acknowledging these changes is an important part of coping with loss.

Find a Way to Honor Your Loved One

You never really “get over” the loss of a loved one, you simply learn to live with it. With that in mind, you can cope with loss by figuring out a way to honor your loved one. Many people hold events like candle lightings or lantern releases, as yearly event with others. If your loved one passed as a result of a medical condition, you might find peace by attending awareness walks or events. Honoring the person you loved can help you keep their memory alive, and can help you cope.

Find Support

Caregiver Stress - Caring for Elderly Parents Stress Management: A How to Guide Presented by Medicare Life Health Co.

Finding support is important. Grieving alone can be difficult and can prevent you from truly coping. You may also find yourself turning to coping mechanisms that are unhealthy. Getting support during this time can help you feel like you aren’t alone and help guide you into using healthy coping mechanisms.

Write Down Your Memories

When you’re feeling especially sad, try writing down one of your favorite memories of your loved one. Those memories are something you will cherish forever and having a journal of memories to read through on tough days can be helpful. Those memories might make you sad that you can’t make new ones but will also bring you happiness. Writing down happy memories when you are sad can help train your brain to revert to happy moments in times of sadness, which is a great way to cope with loss. 

What to Say When Someone Dies

When someone is grieving, it can be difficult to find the right words to comfort them. While each situation and loss will be different, there are some general rules.

Avoid “at least” Statements

If you find yourself want to start a comfort statement with “at least…” just stop and think of something different. Words like “at least” and “just” can diminish the feelings the person is feeling. There is no “at least” with loss. The situation is a loss and the feelings of sadness are valid.

Consider if Religious Statements are Appropriate

Unless the family is openly religious, it may not be appropriate to use religious statements to attempt to comfort the family. Statements like “it was God’s will” can be extremely insensitive and make a person question their faith or it can anger them. If the family is religious, be mindful of their religion. If you don’t understand their religion, it is probably best to avoid religious statements. Someone who is not religious may not be comforted by a statement such has “I’ll pray for you.” Being mindful of religion can help you find truly comforting words.

ancient and modern funeral traditions

Share a Happy Memory

If you’re struggling to find the right words, try sharing a short happy memory. “I’m so sorry for your loss, he was an excellent story teller, I loved his story about…” Sharing a short memory can bring back happy memories for other close family and friends. It is comforting to know our loved ones had a happy life and many people who loved them.

Mention Something You Will Miss

Similar to sharing a story, sharing something you will miss about the person can be comforting. It is comforting to know a loved one is missed by many. It means their life consisted of touching the lives of others. Knowing their memory will live on in other people’s lives is a good feeling. You try saying “I’m really going to miss her laugh at work, it was always so robust and brought a smile to everyone.”

When in Doubt…

If you weren’t really close to the deceased you maybe finding it difficult to find the right words. Maybe you don’t have many memories, or maybe it has been awhile since you’ve seen the person so you aren’t really sure what you will miss. A simple “I’m sorry for your loss” may not seem like much, but it is a phrase that will not bring negative feelings.

It is a simple statement and it may not be the most comforting, but it may not be your responsibility to bring peace and comfort. Simply showing your support to the family is comforting and that might be where your statement should end.

What to Do When Someone Dies Checklist for Next of Kin

If you’ve found yourself responsible for the planning following the death of a loved one, this checklist can help you feel less overwhelmed.

Your very first steps for what to do when someone dies.

  • Find out if there is a will.
    This step will determine how other steps are taken. If there is a will, you may not need to make as many decisions. If there isn’t a will, you may need find there are a few more tasks.
  • Call a funeral home to pick up the remains.
    If there is a will and it states what to do with the remains, then follow those directions. Many times though, you will need to contact a funeral home to pick up the remains so they can begin caring for the remains, especially if you are wanting an open casket viewing. The funeral home will also have a checklist of tasks to help you plan the funeral.

The first people to contact when someone dies.

  • Contact family and friends.
    You might contact a close friend or family member to help you call others and notify them of the death. This can be an emotionally taxing task, but it should be done as soon as possible.
  • Contact an attorney.
    If there is a will, there is likely an attorney listed that did the will for your loved one. Contacting this attorney for details and guidance can be helpful.
    • If there is no will, you will want to contact an attorney that handles property and wills. They can help guide you through the process following a death.
    • They can also help you find out if there is life insurance or legal property that will need to be evaluated for inheritance.
funeral insurance rates reviews article from medicare life health

What to Do When Someone Dies Logistical Checklist

  • Set a date for the funeral.
    If you plan on having a funeral or memorial of any sort, you will want to set a date. This is something you will discuss with the funeral home based on their availability to provide a venue and services.
funeral plans - a helpful complete funeral planning guide
  • Set a date for an inheritance meeting.
    Almost everyone dies with some sort of personal property. If your loved one had bank accounts, real estate, vehicles, or just personal belongings, a family member will inherit these things. A will typically determines who gets the property personal belongings, but sometimes there is no will and sometimes the will only discusses things like money and taxed property, such as vehicles and real estate. This meeting should be done with an attorney to ensure the property is legally transferred.
  • Clean out personal belongings.
    Depending on where your loved one was living prior to passing, there maybe a place you need to clean out.
    • First, if it’s a house your loved one owned, you may not need to rush to get personal belongings.
    • However, if your loved one lived in a rented property or was in the care of a facility, you may need to pick up their personal belongings quickly.
    • If that’s the case, you may want to consider getting a storage unit for the belongings until you and other family members can sort through the belongings after the funeral.
  • Find support for yourself.
    Taking time to care for yourself and your mental health while you grieve is important. Don’t forget to care for yourself during this time.

Conclusions

In summary, it is never easy to process all your emotions at the same time that you have to actively prepare for a funeral. It is our hope that this list will help you make sense of the logistics and your bereavement journey.

Here are a few resources to help you on your path:

Average Funeral Costs for planning and budgeting
Funeral Plans – Your Inclusive Guide

Funeral Plans – Your Inclusive Guide

Funeral Plans

Your Funeral Planning Guide & Service Questions Answered

Whether you are creating funeral plans for yourself or for loved ones, this is your inclusive and complete guide to everything you need for a smooth funeral service.

funeral plans - a helpful complete funeral planning guide

Funeral Service Planning Ideas

To start, funeral plans require you to know what type of service you or your loved one desire. In this day and age, you have many options to choose from beyond the traditional funeral service. However, traditional services are still the most popular, so that is where we will begin.

Traditional Funeral Services

First of all, many people continue to choose traditional funeral services when planning a funeral. In the United States a traditional funeral service includes having the remains present during the service. The service is typically led by a funeral director or a religious head.

Additionally, the traditional funeral service is usually held at a church or at a funeral home. When deciding where to have your funeral, consider your personal beliefs and whether there is a specific place you trust to handle the logistics of the funeral. Often, the traditional service will involve poems and prayers, as well as eulogies. You may want to ask specific people to do eulogies, or you may want to ask that specific people not recite any eulogies. Following the service at the location of your choice, the remains might be transported for following services.

Graveside Services

Similarly, the graveside service typically follows the traditional funeral service. At this ceremony, there are final words said and then the remains are lowed into the grave site.

As a burial tradition, it is common for close family and friends to drop a flower and a handful of dirt down as they say their final goodbye. This tends to be a more intimate moment for close family. Consequently, not everyone who attends the funeral service will also attend the graveside service.

Scattering Services

Now, if you opt for cremation, then you may also opt for a scattering service. This is when close family and/or friends help scatter the remains in a specific location. It is worth noting that not all places allow for ash scattering. So, it’s best to get accurate information from the location to make sure it is okay.

The location for the ash scattering is typically a place that the person loved or enjoyed being at. Sometimes, the scattering place might be a distant place, such as a beach or a mountain. In this case, you will need to include travel plans in your funeral planning.

Wake, Viewing, and Visitation Funeral Plans

A wake, viewing, and visitation are not all exactly the same, but they are all similar. These services are usually held prior to the funeral service and are a time when the family can be given condolences.

In additional considerations for your planning, note that:

  • These services and events typically involve having the remains present, and may include casual, yet quiet conversation among guests.
  • You may decided to provide light appetizers and drinks to guests.
  • You may choose to hold these services at the funeral home, at a church, or even at your home.
  • Depending on where you want to transport the remains, you could hold the service virtually anywhere.
  • For burials or pre-cremation services, you will need to consider the costs associated with the transport of the remains from the funeral home.

Alternative Funeral Plans and Services

Finally, there are many options for non-traditional funeral plans in the United States.

Throwing a Party

Something that is gaining popularity is called a Celebration of Life. This service is typically occurs separate from the funeral service and is an occasion that is more uplifting and acts as a celebration as opposed to a solemn event.

A celebration of life is typically done in a style that was enjoyed by the deceased. Some people have a large party with music, while others might go to a beach or go on a float trip on a river. The point of a celebration of life is to throw a party that would have been enjoyed by the person that is being celebrated.

Burial at Sea

At Sea Burials can follow a more traditional service but instead of the service taking place in the funeral home or at the cemetery, it takes place at sea. For the ocean lover, this might be a great final wish.

At sea burials are legal in the United States, but there are regulations set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency. To start, you will need a boat that can go at least 3 miles away from shore. If you decide to go this route, you might want to consider if you have a boat, or will need to rent one, as well as how many people would be able to attend the burial since watercrafts usually have passenger limits.

Creative Funeral Plans for Services

If you are planning your own funeral or understand the desires of your loved one intimately, you can also get creative with the service. Consider what you’re passionate about, or what your loved one was passionate about, and incorporate that into your plans.

A good example of this was the service for Australian drag racer Frank Palumbo, where the family organized for the hearse to take Frank down the drag strip one last time before the burial.

Funeral Service Scripts

After you know what kind of funeral service you or your loved one would like to have, it is time to look at what happens at the funeral.

First, the funeral service script is a document of events and words often given by the officiant of the funeral. The officiant is usually either a religious head or the funeral home director.

The script consists of words that are meant to bring peace and meaning to the loss of a person and bring comfort to those present to mourn the loss. A script will consist of an opening where they welcome and announce the reason for being there. An introduction is given for who is officiating the funeral. Then the bulk of the script is reflection on the life of the deceased, tribute to their life, poems or prayers, and eulogies.

When deciding what should be in the script, you want to consider the mood you are wanting to set. Traditional services may have more solemn scripts. Keep in mind the primary purpose of the script is to bring comfort for the last moments before the final goodbye. The script should be personalized to the type of loss and the person, as well as the type of funeral.

Service Ideas for Funeral Plans

Traditional funeral services tend to have the same basic parts. A wake, viewing, or visitation, followed by a service at a funeral home or church, which is then followed by a burial or a service where the remains are scattered or put in their final resting place.

However, there are a lot of things that can be included or changed about funeral plans. You might be interested in non-traditional funeral services, such as an at sea burial or a tree planting ceremony where the remains are planted with the tree. Simple things can be changed to personalize a funeral service.

  • Music – Music can be played at funeral service of any kind. Build a playlist of favorite songs or songs that reflect life and good memories. Many people choose music that the deceased loved. Some religious services may include hymns to be sung by the attendees. Whatever you choose, consider how the music will affect the mood the service and what kind of service you are wanting to have.
  • Location – The most common location for funerals are the funeral home and a church. The funeral home is a popular place for funeral plans and services because transporting the remains can be costly and add stress to a situation. In cases of cremation, transportation is much easier. One thing I always think about is the beginning of the move P.S I love you. In the movie the widow chose cremation for her deceased husband and held his funeral at this favorite bar. If there is a favorite location, consider if the location could accommodate a funeral.
  • Funeral Photos – Many funeral homes will put up prints of the deceased for the funeral service. Choosing photos for this can be both difficult and a moment of happy reflection. Some people choose a formal photo or a photo of the person smiling. Some may choose a collage of photos that include the person’s happiest moments. You could always ask family and friends to bring their favorite photo print to be displayed for the service. I think allowing others to bring photos can allow everyone to see the different parts of that person’s life.
carnations appropriate funeral flowers
  • Funeral Flowers and Donations – Funeral flowers are tradition, people send flowers for the funeral service and those flowers are then given to close family relatives after the service. The person deciding on the funeral service options may also purchase flower arrangements such as casket topper and flowers that are left at the grave site.
    • Funeral flowers can carry a very powerful sense of comfort because it gives the family something tangible to take home with them.
    • If you aren’t a flower person, you might ask for family and friends to make donations to specific organization in lieu of flowers. This is becoming a much more popular request since flowers can sometimes overwhelm family members if they get a lot of flowers.
    • When making a request for donations, consider what the person was passionate about or if any organizations helped that person in their lifetime. A lot of people choose organizations that directly impacted their family member or an organization the person directly donated to. 

Planning Your Own Funeral

Should I Start Planning My Own Funeral? If So, When?
Yes, and the answer is now.

No matter how old you are, you should prepare for your death so that your loved ones are not left grieving and planning. Death is inevitable, all living things die, not planning for it does not change that. The best thing you can do for yourself and your loved ones is be prepared financially and with a Will.

Having things set up and in writing can prevent family members from arguing during the planning process. Start talking with your loved ones now. Having open conversations about funeral planning can help everyone get on the same page and make a very stressful and sad time, a little less stressful.

Your Funeral is Your Final Wish

Take the time to think about how you want to be remembered and what you want your family and friends to do in your memory. Having a will and a plan for your funeral is a way to give your final Goodbye to your friends and family.

Tell Them What To Do With You

A will is not just about what to do with your earthly possessions. A will is a good way to assert how you want your body treated after your death. If you don’t want to be buried, put that in writing! It will prevent your loved ones from arguing about what to do with your body and will ensure your body is treated the way you want it to be treated.

Be Financially Prepared For Your Death

No one knows when they’re going to die, but we do know if we are financially prepared for it. If you don’t have life insurance (for example, Final Expense or Burial Insurance), ask yourself if you have the funds to have the funeral you want. If you want a burial, do you have a plot already?

Leaving this financial burden to your loved ones is unfair. You may also decide that body donation is a better option for your financial situation, you can start preparing for that now by looking at the places around you that accept whole body donations.

Putting your wishes in your will is a great first step, but being financially prepared is also very important. Click here to learn more about Funeral Insurance Options.

Don’t Be Scared To Be Different

If you aren’t a fan of the black clothing and mourning sadness that make up the traditional American Funeral, be vocal about that and put it in your will. You can tell everyone to wear lime green if you want. It doesn’t necessarily mean they will do as you say, but it might keep them from giving you the funeral of your nightmares.

Checklist for Planning Your Own Funeral

After researching what all goes into a funeral, you might be feeling like it’s a lot to leave to someone else to plan. Or maybe you are feeling like you want to have some say in how people celebrate you and want to include some final wishes.

Planning your own funeral can be extremely helpful to your loved ones. Here’s what to do:

  • Write a Will – The first step in planning your funeral is to write a will. A will is a legal document that includes your final wishes. A will isn’t just for property that you own, but you can make requests for how you want your remains handled and what you want to happen at your funeral. To make it official, contact an attorney that specializes in wills and let your family know that you have a will and what attorney wrote it. Knowing where the will is can prevent a lot of confusion, frustration, and stress.
  • Write Down What’s Important to You – What you include in your will should be what you consider important for your family and friends to carry out. Is there a specific service you want? Is there a specific service you want avoided? If you don’t want a burial or a cremation, or say you definitely want your body donated to science, these are things you need to state in your will.
  • Consider the Cost – Do you have life insurance or the funds to cover a funeral? You might need to research how much specific services costs and what the total cost for a funeral might be for you. Considering the costs can help you prepare financially for a funeral and prevent the financial burden being left to family members.
  • Talk with Your Family – A will is important for legal reasons, but discussing your wishes with your family is also important. Leaving what’s in a will a total surprise can be stressful to family members. Talking with them about your wishes can help them feel at ease with the decisions they have to make because they don’t have to question what you would have wanted. Death is as much a part of life as birth is, and preparing for it is just as important.

Funeral Plans Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we address the most frequently asked funeral service questions.

How Much Does a Funeral Cost?

Average Funeral Costs for planning and budgeting

Funerals can range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands, but usually cost around $7,000 to $10,000. Social Security will only give your a lump-sum check of $255, which is not near enough to cover the average U.S. funeral cost. So, you will need to budget for all the funeral costs you or your loved ones deem necessary. For your reference and research, we have a very comprehensive article on average funeral costs available here.

What is the Difference Between a Funeral Viewing and Visitation?

  • A funeral viewing is a moment when people can view the deceased. Viewing options include either open or closed casket form, and either pre- or post-cremation. This gives the attendees of the funeral a short moment to say their final Goodbye.
  • In contrast, a visitation is usually a time held the day before the funeral. At the visitation, the family is present and available for the funeral attendees. This is a time when attendees can express their condolences to the family. In addition, they can leave flowers for the funeral the following day.

What Days are Funerals Usually On?

Funerals can be held any day of the week. When trying to plan a funeral, consider if there are any major holidays that could impact travel or attendance.

You may also want to consider if those closest to the family member work and what their schedules might be. Because weekends are usually a day off for most people, funerals can be more common on Saturdays. However, if anyone in the family is religious, Sunday may not be a great day for a funeral service.

What is Funeral Make-up?

Commonly referred to as “mortuary make-up”, this is the practice of putting make-up on the deceased to give them a life-like look. After death, the complexion of the body changes significantly. After embalming and fixing post-mortem trauma, the body can look very different from how it did during life.

If an autopsy was done or if the body was deceased for a longer period of time before being cared for by the mortician, facial features can be distorted. A good mortuary make-up artist will use color blending to help make the deceased look like they are sleeping.

What Does a Funeral Consist Of?

Funerals are different for every culture. Even within the United States, funerals vary because there is a variety of acceptable post life options.  In the United States, is it not uncommon for a funeral to be a multiday event for close family.

  • Visitations: To start, some funerals may include a visitation, which is different from a viewing. You will usually hold a visitation the day before the funeral. It is a time when the family of the deceased is available to meet those who wish to give them their condolences.
    • Burial Funerals: The day of the funeral usually involves a short period of viewing before the funeral ceremony. This is a time where people who could not make it to the viewing can see the body. However, sometimes you will reserve this time for only close family.
    • Cremation Funerals: For cremation funerals, there might be a visitation before the cremation. However, the family may decide not to let anyone see the deceased. The cremation visitation process and ceremony are often similar to a burial. However, instead of going to a cemetery, the family may choose to scatter the ashes immediately or they could decide to hold onto the ashes. In addition, it is common for there to be a casual get together with food after a funeral.
  • The Funeral Service: Now, you can hold the ceremony anywhere, but is most commonly held at the funeral home or at a church. The ceremony usually includes sermons, songs and eulogies, given by those closest to the deceased. Often, the family and the casket are then escorted out of the area and the process of going to the cemetery follows. Then, a concession of cars follows the hearse to the cemetery where final words are given and the casket is lowered into the ground. Finally, some families have large meals after the funeral where everyone can talk casually.

What is a Celebration of Life vs a Funeral Service?

“Celebrations of Life” are becoming more popular and taking place of traditional funerals. It isn’t uncommon for families to celebrate their loved one by doing something they enjoyed. People design these celebrations to spark joy and bring together those that loved the deceased.

How Long Do Funeral Services Last?

Funeral services times vary significantly. Time length will depend on if:

  • It is a religious service with specific steps involved (such as readings, prayers, songs, etc.).
  • People will be giving personal memorial speeches.
  • There is a sermon or a prepared speech involved.

Expect a funeral to last at least an hour. Also, be prepared for it to go longer if many people are speaking.

What is a Pre-paid Funeral Plan?

Sometimes funeral service providers will offer you the option to purchase their products and services in advance. For the more expensive services or items, they may offer you a pre-payment plan. This is a good way to make sure that your family or loved ones are not stuck paying for your funeral plans. However, when you buy a prepaid funeral plan you are often limited to how your money is used.

A more flexible option for making sure your funeral arrangements are paid for is a Final Expense Life Insurance Policy. This provides your survivors with a lump sum of cash to spend on whatever they need for your burial.

Conclusions on Your Funeral Plans

Your funeral plans do not have to be overwhelming. Moreover, a little pre-planning can go a long way. Whether you are planning for yourself or for someone else, the most important thing is to take it step-by-step. Additionally, make sure to give yourself patience and understanding through the whole process.

Additional Resources:

Average Funeral Costs For End of Life Planning

Average Funeral Costs For End of Life Planning

Average Funeral Costs For End of Life Planning

Average Funeral Costs for planning and budgeting

What are the average funeral costs in the United States? The cost of a funeral depends greatly on the options you or your loved one choose.

This article includes a helpful end of life planning list with average funeral costs detailed for your budgeting – including caskets, facilities and burial plots.

The only true fact of life is that death is certain. With death comes a lot of questions, and a lot of planning. It is never too soon to financially prepare for the costs of funerals. You might be wondering what options exists and what the costs are of those options.

Average Funeral Costs Summary Chart

ServiceAverage Costs
Funeral + Burial$7,640
Cremation$5,150
Casket Rental$995
Cremation Casket$1,200
Cremation Container$150
Urn$200
Burial Plot$100’s – $10,000’s
Embalming$750
Casket$1,000 – $2,500
Viewing Facility Rental$425
Body Preparation$255
Hearse Rental$340
HeadstonesStart at $1,000
Source: NFDA 2019

How Much Does a Funeral Cost? Here is a Detailed Breakdown

Body Options

Burial vs. Cremation & Also Body Donation

There are three options when it comes to post life care. The two most popular in the United States are burial and cremation. The other option is body donation.  Body donation is gaining popularity because of its low cost and the idea that the person is giving back to the world one final time through donating to science and medicine.

You may have an idea in your head about what your final wishes will entail, but you should still try to understand each option and their financial obligations, so you are financially prepared. It is never to early to prepare for the inevitable.

Average Cost of Cremation

Cremation isn’t free, but it is cheaper than burial. The average cost of cremation with a viewing in the United States, is $5,150, according to the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA).  The bulk of the fee for cremation is the service fees charged by the funeral home. These fees cover the labor the funeral director and basic services.

Average Viewing Costs with Cremated Bodies

Viewing costs include the rental of the funeral home or other venue and memorial service. A viewing is a great way for family and friends to say their final goodbye to their loved one.

You can choose for the viewing to occur either before or after the cremation. Choosing to do a viewing before the cremation can result in some extra costs such as embalming and rental casket costs.

Embalming is not necessary for cremation, but many choose to include embalming if they have an open casket viewing before the cremation. The cost for embalming averaged $750 in 2019 according to NFDA.

Because a casket is not necessary for cremation, many choose to rent a nice casket for the viewing. The average rental casket cost was around $995. Flowers, and displays including photos may also increase the costs of the viewing.

Cremation Casket Rental Costs

The purchase of a casket is not necessary. However, you will be required to purchase a cremation container. A cremation casket can be purchased for around $1,200. This a traditional looking wooden casket that is burned with the remains. The alternative option would be a cremation container, which is a wooden box that isn’t lined, and typically very cheaply made. The cost of a cremation container is around $150.

When considering whether to go with a casket or a cremation container, it’s really personal preference and beliefs. Some believe there is more comfort and dignity in using a lined casket, whereas others believe the box is not the final resting place, so spending extra money on it is unnecessary.

Average Cost of an Urn

Next to consider, cremation results in the family being given back the remains. Many people decide to keep the remains in a special place, called an urn. The funeral home only has to supply a basic box for the remains.

As a result, most people choose to purchase an urn, which can cost several hundred dollars. Personalized urns that use high quality materials may even cost thousands of dollars.

Funeral & Scattering Travel Costs

In addition, if you plan on scattering ashes in a special place, you will want to consider the cost of travel.

Travel may not just be for one person either, sometimes this act is basically a small ceremony of its own and may require travel for several people. If you’re planning your own final wishes and are not wanting your loved ones to pay any costs for your funeral, you may want to consider how much it would cost for them to travel.

For example, if you want your ashes scattered in the ocean, but all of your loved ones live in the middle the United States, you will want to include the cost for them to take off work and travel so they can be there for your final wish.

Other Cremation Costs

Furthermore, funeral homes may charge other fees – including a transportation fee.

  • The transportation fee is charged for picking up the remains from the hospital or morgue and transporting it back to the funeral home.
  • The funeral home may charge you a cremation fee if it uses a third party for the cremation.
  • There may also be body preparation fees for clothing changes, make up, hair, or anything else that needs to be done to do the body in order to proceed with the visitation and cremation.

What Else Can Be Done with Cremation Remains?

Finally, cremation remains can be used in a lot of different ways. Some people may keep them in a urn, others may choose to scatter them in a special location. There are other options beyond that though.

  • You can create jewelry out of cremation remains. For example, several businesses can use remains to create lab grown diamonds.
  • You can also purchase a biodegradable urn to grow a tree out of the ashes.
  • In addition, you can have them put into fireworks or ammo.
  • Finally, there are a lot of companies that use ashes to make products, such as vinyl records, glass artwork, and stuffed animals.

Average Cost of a Burial

Burials come with the most expenses. However, planning for a burial ahead of time can save everyone a lot of stress associated with the cost of a burial.

According the NFDA the average cost of a funeral with a viewing and burial was $7,640, and this didn’t include the cost of the cemetery plot or the vault.

What is a Vault and What is it used for?

  • A vault is something that is put in the ground to keep the ground from collapsing. They are not always necessary, it just depends on the cemetery, which is why it’s important to plan now.

Average Cost of Burial Space

Not all burial spaces are equal. The cost for a plot can range from a couple of hundred in a rural area, to over $10,000 in an area with less green space to bury people.

What is a Mausoleum and What is the Average Cost?

Moreover, choosing a mausoleum as an option, will result in a much higher cost. A mausoleum is an enclosed where caskets are kept in crypts. They are an above ground burial option and typically have benches or a space for people to visit.

Average Cost of a Burial Plot

In-ground plots can be cheaper, but they can also be costly. It just depends on the location. Purchasing burial space as soon as possible can ensure you have a spot and protect you from the cost of inflation.

When choosing a burial space, the size of the space matters. Some people only purchase single plots, while others purchase double plots so they can rest next to their spouse. They may also purchase a family plot. The more space you take up, the more money it will cost.

Finally, in many states though, you can create your own family cemetery on family land, following state and local laws of course. Being buried in a family cemetery can significantly reduce the cost of a burial funeral.

Average Cost of a Casket

A metal casket cost on average $2,500. This cost can increase substantially depending on the quality and design of the casket. If you opt for a basic casket, the cost could be around $1,000.

The funeral home typically sells caskets, but you can always purchase a casket from another source to save yourself money. The Funeral home has to use the casket you provide.

You also don’t need a casket at all. It is “green” burials are becoming more popular. It is a burial that focuses on natural decomposition and limiting pollution into the Earth. The option to not use a casket exist. However, if you purchased a plot on private property, that cemetery may have its own rules. It is important to fully understand the rules for the location of the plot.

Average Viewing Costs

The Viewing portion of the funeral can incur several costs. The cost for the use of the facilities for viewing averaged $425.

The cost for body preparation averaged $255. Body preparation for a visitation includes sewing and gluing specific parts of the body to create a natural sleeping look. It also includes make-up and hair styling. The other cost will be embalming.

The Average Cost of Embalming

Embalming is not mandatory, even for burials. However, many people decide on embalming because it slows the rate of decay, allowing families to have an open casket viewing and funeral with the body looking as close to living as possible. The cost for embalming can average $750.

If you’re interested in a green burial, you may choose to forego embalming or find a funeral home and embalms using Earth friendly essential oils. The Green Burial Council can answer a lot of questions regarding green burials.

Cemetery Headstone Costs

Headstones, monuments, grave markers, whatever you call them, they are part of the price tag for burial funerals. They are commonly done in granite, but the material used does affect cost.

A small flat grave marker starts at $1,000 on monument.com, while upright headstones start at $1,200. What you decide to add to the headstone can also increase the cost. The cemetery may have rules about headstones.

In addition, you will want to make sure the headstone you purchase follows the cemetery’s rules because if it doesn’t, you might be liable for the costs associated with getting a stone that is in regulation.

Hearse Costs

The use of the funeral home’s hearse is not free. You will be charged for the hearse to transport the casket from the funeral home to the location of the funeral and then to the cemetery. The average cost for the use of a hearse in 2019 was $340.

If you use the service car or van for the funeral service, it could also cost you money. The average cost for the use of the funeral home’s service vehicle was $150 in 2019.

Open and Closing of Plot Fees

The other fee you will incur with a burial is the opening and closing of the plot. Digging up the plot and then refilling it usually requires the use of specific machinery, such as an excavator.

This cost could be included in your plot purchase, but it could also be separate fee due upon opening/closing of the plot.

Likewise, opting for a crypt in a mausoleum doesn’t get rid of this cost either. Opening the crypt can cost money as well. When searching for a cemetery be sure to ask them of the costs that will come up when it is time to use the plot.

Non-Traditional Burials

Traditionally, in the United States, burials occur with the body in a casket, in a cemetery. This is not the only form of burial though.

  • Green Burials in which the body is placed naturally in the earth to allow for natural decomposition is becoming more popular.
  • There is also the option for an ocean burial. Burials at sea are legal, and must follow certain guidelines, such as the burial must take place more than 3 nautical miles from a shore. More information on the legality of ocean burials can be found on the Environmental Protection Agency website.

Body Donation

A Non-Traditional, But Helpful, Low Cost Option.

Body donation is typically low cost or completely free of costs. There maybe stipulations on whether a body is accepted. You can reach to several programs in your area to find one that best fits your needs and beliefs. Typically these programs are ran by universities, but there may also be private organizations in your area.

Body Farms

Body Farms are often ran by Anthropology departments at universities. You can research your local or closest university to see if they have a Body Farm.

In these cases, the cost of body donation is completely free. They may charge a travel fee if they have to pick up the remains from a specific distance. You may still need to contact a funeral home to pick up the remains until the organization that runs the Body Farm can make arrangements to transfer the remains to their land.

What exactly happens on a Body Farm?

Well, they put the body in different environments to study the decay process and develop new ways to make identifications on bodies. It can seem like a less than peaceful ending, but the scientific advancements made because of Body Farms is incredible! It is a great way to keep helping science move forward after death.

Whole Body Donation

Medical schools use donated bodies to help students study medicine and perfect techniques they need to become incredible doctors.

Body donation to these programs is free of cost. If you live near a medical school, you can contact the university to find out if they have a body donation program, and whether there are any costs associated with the program.

Typically, it is a cost-free option, but occasionally you may need to cover the cost of transportation. However, the program usually covers cremation of the remains after the body has been used to it’s fullest extent.

There are other programs as well, such as Medcure, which services 45 states and is a cost free option. Medcure covers transportation costs, the cost of the death certificate, and the cost of cremation. The program you choose may also offer confirmation on how the body was used. This can give families a sense of pride knowing their loved one was part of research that is helping people.

How to Pay for Funeral Costs

Here are the most used ways of paying for funeral costs:

  1. Final Expense Insurance – Also known as funeral insurance or burial insurance. This is a whole life insurance plan that gives you a lump-sum of cash when you pass to help you pay for your end of life expenses.
  2. Prepaid Plans – Plans made with service providers before you pass that cover the costs at a specific facility or with a specific company.
  3. Savings / Retirement Funds – Paying with cash.

NOTE: Long Term Care Insurance – Unless you have a special rider on your long-term care insurance, it will not pay for your final expenses.

Average Funeral Costs Summary

As you can see, the average funeral costs in the United States vary significantly depending on the options you choose. Having a plan and a budget set in place early will help you to save money in the long run.

Final Expense Insurance will help you with making sure these costs are covered for your loved ones after you are gone.

Caregiver Stress & Burnout Relief

Caregiver Stress & Burnout Relief

Caregiver Stress – Caring for Elderly Parents Stress Management & Care

Caregiver stress and caregiver burnout is real. The sleepless nights, worry and agitation are real symptoms of caring for elderly parents stress.

While you are learning how to care for your aging parents, you must also continue to care for yourself.

Caring for Elderly Parents Stress Management: A How to Guide Presented by Medicare Life Health Co.

Ways to Destress When Caring for an Elderly Parent

Caregiver burnout happens when you begin feeling overwhelmed with the daily tasks of caring for another person. You begin to feel like your whole life is consumed with that one person and you have nothing to yourself.

What can you do when you start to feel this way? First thing you must know is that you aren’t alone, and your mental health is just as important as your loved one’s health.

A Personal Caregiver Stress Story

Jessica’s Story – “My grandma walked slowly into the dining room on Thanksgiving. She had a pecan pie in her hand and a knife. She began cutting it as her hand made an uneven line. She was trying to get the slice out of the pie pan, but the knife was just cutting the pie into mush.

She has always been a very stubborn and independent woman. Asking her if I could cut the pie for her would have been frustrating and embarrassing. We all chuckled and blamed it on the fact that the pie was just the right consistency, and that it would be delicious no matter what it looked like on the plate.

That was the first time I noticed she wasn’t herself. Since then, she has needed more and more help and assistance. The last time she drove herself somewhere she got lost, despite having the GPS on in the car. Sometimes she repeats questions, and sometimes she calls the grandkids by the wrong name.

As we watch her health deteriorate, I know my grandpa must be struggling. As the mother of a child with Cystic Fibrosis, where my daily routine is focused around his medical treatments and medications, I know how easy it is to feel like you’re simply living for someone else. It’s hard. But there are a lot of ways to destress and find yourself again. Your life doesn’t have to only be about caring for another person.”

Caregiver Stress Relief Options

Here are some of your options when it comes to relieving caregiver stress and preventing burnout.

1. Respite Care

To start, one great option for getting a much-needed break is respite care. Respite care is when a qualified individual comes in and takes over the caregiving role for a few hours so you can care for yourself. Many respite caregivers are qualified nurses or medical professionals that can take on medication administration and manage medical equipment.

Depending on where you live, you might be able to find a program that provides respite care to families in need. A simple google search for respite care in your area can help you find this service. You may also be able to get recommendations from your loved one’s doctor.

2. Hospital Social Worker

All hospitals have social workers. Social workers aren’t just for children. Social workers can help navigate difficult situations and gather resources for you. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you can ask to speak with a social worker at your loved one’s next appointment and ask for resources. They might be able to find you local programs and help you find solutions to the caregiver burnout.

3. Help from Family

If you have family or close friends around, ask them for help. Reaching out for help can be difficult for a lot of people, but you can’t expect others to just know you are struggling. Be vocal about your needs and let them know you would appreciate if they could help you manage this difficult time. Having a family member come over and help even just one day a week so you can get out of the house can completely change your mental state. We often tell new moms that they need to ask for help and that it takes a village to raise a child. Caring for an elderly parent is no different. It is hard work, and it can be emotionally and mentally draining. It really takes a village to care for an elderly parent, just like it does for a child.

3. Elderly Groups

Bingo night, a knitting club, a book club, there are a lot of activities and groups for the elderly. Adding in something fun to your routine can help you destress and decompress. It can also bring joy to your parent and yourself. Getting old and becoming sick doesn’t mean that the fun has to stop. The last years of our lives should be spent enjoying as much as possible.

Also, getting your parent some friends and social engagement from their peers is critical for mental health. This may sound like it is just for your loved one, but really when you get out and engage in these groups, you will find yourself meeting people in the same situation as yourself. You will also find yourself having fun and enjoying a moment without the stress and focus on caring for your loved one.

4. Trips Out of the House

Getting out of the house regularly is especially important, and not just for errands or work either. You need to get out and do something fun. With or without your loved one. If your loved one is on hospice and can’t leave the house due to medical devices, then you need to take time for yourself and get out of the house.

Visit a museum, go to a zoo, go do something fun to get your mind off the stress of being at home. Being stuck in a house caring for another person is exhausting, and it can negatively impact your mental health. If your loved one is not on hospice yet, it’s okay to take them with you. Enjoy a change of scenery, it will help you destress.

6. Consider a Nursing Home or Assisted Living for Your Loved One

This can be a difficult conversation, but sometimes it can provide a much healthier environment for you and your loved one. Assisted living is for people who may need some assistance, such as help getting groceries. Whereas a nursing home is a place where the residents require 24-hour attention and medical care.

If your loved one is still mostly independent, an assisted living facility can help them make friends with peers and get them engaged in community events. If your loved one requires around the clock medical attention, a nursing home can be a good environment, as they also provide activities and engagement. If your loved one refuses to go to a nursing home or assisted living facility, ask them why.

Finding out what they want is critical. Some people might be fearful that the home will involve neglect or abuse, which isn’t an irrational fear. They may also not want to be around peers that are nearing the end of their lives because it can be depressing losing friends frequently. It can also be a constant reminder that they are at the end of their life.

If your loved one is fearful, then a nursing home or assisted living home may not be a good option, and that’s okay. Deciding what is best for you and your loved one is very personal. You may choose to visit a few local nursing homes or assisted living homes to get a better idea of the options in your area.

7. Implement Security Measures

It can be stressful caring for someone with dementia. The fear of them leaving the house at strange hours or getting lost can consume your mind. You can help ease the stress of this fear by implementing some simple security measures.

You can put alarms on your doors and windows. You don’t need an expensive security system for this either. Simple magnetic alarms can cost as little as a couple of dollars for each alarm. These alarms are battery operated and work by going off once the magnet is pulled apart. They can go on doors and windows.

This can help you know immediately if your loved one is leaving the house at night while you’re home and prevent them from harming themselves or getting lost. You can also turn on their GPS location on their phone so you can track their whereabouts if they’re still going places on their own.

There are a lot of options for GPS tracking, watches, necklaces, and even small GPS trackers that you can put in a purse, wallet, or jacket, so that you can always have access to their location. These security measures can help you feel more at peace.

8. Support Groups

Connecting with people that are experiencing the same situation as yourself can be very powerful and validating. You aren’t alone, many caregivers are experiencing the same emotions as yourself. Attend a support group for caregivers so you can learn more about how others are coping with similar situations.

You can vent about your situation, then find ways to cope with the difficulties and feelings associated with being a caregiver. Your hospital’s social worker can probably recommend a local support group. You might also be able to find one online.

9. Counseling for Caregivers

There can be a lot of negative emotions associated with being a caregiver. It is normal to feel overwhelmed, stressed, angry, sad, and even guilty. Navigating these emotions can be difficult to do on your own. Counseling can help you deal with your feelings and develop healthy coping mechanisms.

As your loved one ages and you become responsible for their health and well-being, you can feel overwhelmed with the responsibility while also feeling guilty that you aren’t happy with the arrangement. You may also be feeling sad that the person you loved and looked up to is deteriorating.

There is a feeling of loss when your loved one is living with dementia because that person isn’t the same as you remember them. Coping with these feelings is extremely important to your mental health. Seeking out counseling to navigate this difficult time can be beneficial.

10. Make Time for Yourself

While your loved one is very important to you, you still need to make time for yourself. Dedicating a set time each time to destress is important. Whether it’s soaking your feet, watching TV, or just reading a book, it’s important to give yourself time.

Dedicating time to practice selfcare can help your relieve caregiver stress and bolster your mental health. If you need to make time for yourself by not doing the dishes one night, or skipping vacuuming the house, it’s okay to do that. You do not have to do everything, every single day. It is okay to skip a task in order to give yourself a break.

11. Hire Help

If you have the financial ability to do so, hiring a house cleaner, or hiring someone to run errands such as grocery shopping, can decrease your workload and reduce your caregiver stress. If you have distant family members that can’t help in person, ask them to consider helping by paying for some of these services.

Even just being able to delegate one task to another person can give you enough time to do something for yourself. It is extremely difficult caring for an elderly loved one, especially when you are responsible for all of the tasks of their care and your own household.

12. Go for a Walk

Daily exercise and fresh air can positively impact your mental health. Exercise increases endorphins and can help you feel less stressed. Going for a daily walk around the park, or even just your neighborhood, can help you destress. Take your loved one with you and enjoy the walk together. The fresh air and change of scenery will melt your stress away for a moment.

Being a caregiver for a loved one can be very difficult. It is common to feel overwhelmed with the daily tasks and to feel like you’ve lost part of yourself. You can overcome these feelings through implementing some changes though. Taking time to destress is important can give you more joyful moments during this caregiving role.

Conclusions on Managing Caregiver Stress

The most important thing is to find a way to take care of yourself. No matter what is going on or who you are responsible for, you are always responsible for yourself first. Make yourself a priority so you have the energy and compassion to care for others.