[Skip to Content]
National Memorial Planning - Homepage

Blog- How To's

Saying Your Final Goodbyes to Someone with Dementia
May 21, 2020   08:26 AM
by Karen

Dementia is extremely common among older people and it exists in varying degrees. Since people with dementia have compromised cognitive abilities, the way you say your final goodbyes to those who are dying may need to be different than usual.

What is dementia?

Contrary to popular belief, dementia is not a single disease. Rather, it is simply a term that is used to refer to a wider range of diseases that affect memory, focus, and other cognitive abilities in old age. One of these diseases, and probably the most popular, is Alzheimer’s Disease.

There is no cure for dementia, and treatments are focused on slowing down the symptoms. When people with dementia die, it is not usually the disease itself that is the cause of the death, but rather the side effects. For instance, people with dementia have weakened immunity and they have difficulty fighting off infections and other diseases, which often leads to the deterioration of their health.

Dementia deathbed etiquette

Families and caretakers often see that the person with dementia gradually slips away, rather than suddenly. Communication, responses, behavior, and health slowly decline over time.

However, this also means that it can be difficult to tell the difference between when they are nearing the end of life, or if their symptoms are simply worsening. As such, it is important to pay attention and be prepared as much as you can.

If someone you love has dementia and they are on their deathbed, they may not be fully aware of what is happening and they may have difficulty identifying you and other family members or friends. It is important that you make them feel at ease and know that it is not impossible for them to die with dignity, even though they may be impaired.

 

Thanks for reading,

Karen

Funeral Products that You Might Need to Commemorate a Death
Jan 28, 2020   10:43 AM
by Karen

Death is never a pleasant thing to handle, especially when it is the death of your loved one. But death is inevitable; death cannot be planned.  It becomes your responsibility to make all the arrangements to say last goodbyes to a person you loved by doing all that is needed at that time. Choosing a funeral product that would compliment the parted soul and your feelings is essential. Some of the funeral products that you could consider are:

Caskets

The casket is the first thing that comes to mind when we start preparing for the final journey of a recently deceased person. Most caskets are made from wood, but you can also order metal or fiberglass caskets. You can customize them according to your needs and choose color, size, shape, etc. You can also choose the type of interior clothing.

Urns

Urns are needed when you choose cremation to collect ashes. You can either choose from a wide variety of urns present in the funeral shop or order a customized urn. Urns come in different sizes, shapes, and colors. It can be made from wood, metal, or ceramic. You can also choose to embellish them with markings, quotes, pictures, etc.

Burial Vaults

Burial Vaults are containers designed to hold a casket. It prevents the grave from sinking and encloses the casket. Many cemeteries require burial vaults to place the casket in the ground so that the soil remains intact. They are basically made from concrete and lined with metal or plastic.

Grave Markers

Grave markers are essential for any grave to recognize the departed soul. Grave markers come as memorials and monuments. Memorials lie flat on the ground, and monuments are erect on the ground. You should inquire about the rules and regulations of the cemetery before buying a grave marker. Some monument companies will do this for you.

Memorial Items

Memorial items can be made according to your choice since you were the closest to the deceased person. Memorial items range from jewelry, paintings, or any other artworks. Your imagination only limits you in choosing memorial items.

 

Thanks for reading,

Karen

What To Know About Death Certificates
Dec 05, 2019   09:22 AM
by Karen

When someone dies, obtaining a death certificate as soon as possible is a must. But what's a death certificate? 

Put simply, a death certificate is an official government document that acknowledges and confirms the death of a person. It includes the cause, location, date and time, as well as other relevant personal information about the deceased, such as full name, date of birth, social security number, address, marital status, and more. 

Death certificates must be signed by a medical practitioner – which may be a doctor, medical examiner, nurse, coroner, etc. – as well as a licensed burial agent or funeral director. 

Death certificates can be issued to immediate family members such as spouses, parents, children, siblings, legal guardians, and grandchildren. They can also be received by executors or state and federal agencies that require it for official purposes. 

Why do you need a death certificate? 

A death certificate is required to handle the affairs of the deceased. For instance, most agencies and institutions will ask for a copy of a death certificate if you want to shut down an account, file taxes, or collect benefits. 

Usually, only copies of the death certificate are required, but several legal matters may require the original official certificate. For social security, banking, phone companies, and utilities, a copy is usually required. However, for insurance, pensions, property transfers, property claims, military benefits, 401Ks and stocks, future marriages, and businesses, the official death certificate is usually mandatory. 

Where can you get death certificates from? 

There are different means to secure a death certificate. Ordinarily, the original death certificates are sent to the funeral home handling the services who distributes them to the family. Thereafter, you can get it from the vital records office of your state or the county clerk’s office.

 

Thanks for reading,

Karen

Mobile Phone Etiquette At Funerals
Nov 26, 2019   09:29 AM
by Karen

Today many of us are so attached to our mobile phones that we carry them around every moment of every day. These devices have more or less become an extension of us. However, as attached as we may be, there are some places and instances where it is disrespectful and impolite to use our phones. One such example is a funeral.

A funeral is a personal and sacred event where loved ones pay their respects and say their goodbyes to someone who has passed. As such, certain etiquettes need to be followed, even when it comes to mobile use. We discuss these etiquettes below.

 

Don’t use unless absolutely necessary

Generally, cell phone use should be limited at funerals. If you are always texting, scrolling through social media or taking phone calls, it is considered extremely disrespectful to the family of the deceased and the memory of the departed as well. Put simply, don’t use your phone unless it is crucial. If you do have to take or make urgent calls or send texts, make sure to excuse yourself and step outside politely.

Keep your phone on silent mode

Always keep your phone on silent mode when you are at a funeral. Sounds coming from your phone such as ringing sounds, notification sounds, etc. can be very disruptive and distracting at solemn events such as funerals. Remember to keep it on silent, and not vibrate, as the vibrating sound can still be audible.

Avoid taking pictures/selfies

Taking pictures or selfies, whether it is of you, you and your friends, of others, the casket, etc., should be avoided at funerals. This can be considered an invasion of privacy, unless you have permission from the family to click snapshots with your phone. Also, if you have permission to take photographs, be quick and don’t distract the other guests. And don’t forget to silence the sounds. 

 

Thanks for reading,

Karen

How To Decide Who To Put In Charge Of Your Funeral
Oct 29, 2019   09:22 AM
by Karen

A funeral is an important ceremony that allows people to say their final good-byes to a loved one who has passed away. As such, there are many significant decisions that need to be made while planning the funeral.

Some of the most significant decisions regarding funerals include whether the body should be buried or cremated, where to bury, where to scatter ashes, whether a certain religious tradition should be followed, etc.

These decisions make up your funeral, and if you haven’t already left instructions or decided on who should make choices on your behalf, it’s time you consider it. If you have made your wishes known, then it is a statutory obligation for your survivors to honor those wishes. 

There are various ways a person can make their funeral preferences known, including who will make the decisions. Some of these include a Living Will, a Last Will and Testament, as well as other legal documents such as Disposition Authorization Affidavit, Authorization for Final Disposition, or Appointment of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains.

 

Keep in mind--If there are no instructions left by the deceased

If you do not leave behind any instructions or preferences regarding your own funeral, then the responsibility to make these decisions fall upon your nearest relative. This could be your husband, wife, children, parents, sister, brother, etc.

To qualify as a relative who can make decisions regarding a funeral, a person must be over 18 years old. First, the spouse or domestic partner is considered, after which the children are prioritized. If neither of these is present or available, then parents, siblings, authorized guardian, grandchildren, aunts and uncles, and even cousins can qualify as next of kin and make decisions regarding a funeral. 

In some situations, a very close friend of the deceased can even be considered as next of kin if blood relatives are not available.

 

Thanks for reading,

Karen

What To Do If Someone Dies In A Different Country
Oct 15, 2019   09:06 AM
by Karen

When a loved one dies in a foreign country, it can be easy to worry and feel helpless. What do you do to get the remains back? Who do you have to contact for help?

Depending on the country of death, local protocols can be very different. However, there are three main steps that you have to follow if a loved one dies in a different country.

 

  • Contact your embassy or consulate in the country of death

The first thing you can do is contact your embassy or consulate in the country where the death occurred. They will help you get in touch with the foreign offices so you can get the remains back safely and as quickly as possible. They will also provide you with instructions on how to send the funds required to cover the costs.

Apart from making arrangements for the return of the remains, they will also issue a Consular Report of Death Abroad, a legal document with important details of the passing.

 

  • Find out if you have to travel to the country

In addition to the Consular Report of Death Abroad, there are many documents that you need to get the remains back home. These may include a Foreign Funeral Affidavit, a Consular Mortuary Certificate, a Transit Permit, etc.

Depending on the country of death, the rules may be different regarding who can claim the body and sign the required paperwork. So, make sure to work out these details with your consulate or embassy so you can decide if you need to go abroad.

 

  • Find a trusted funeral home in the US to help you

While the foreign side of the process will be taken care of the consulate or embassy, a trusted funeral home in the US can help you with arrangements back home. Always make sure that the funeral home you choose is willing to accommodate the time differences.

 

Thanks for reading,

Karen

What To Do With Social Media Accounts After Death
Aug 27, 2019   09:35 AM
by Karen

When someone dies, their loved ones handle their important financial and legal works. But one thing that many people tend to forget, although everyone has them, are social media accounts. In today’s 21st century digitized world we live, what do you do with someone’s social media accounts after they die?

  • Google

Google has what is known as Inactive Account Manager, which enables the account holder to set a time period, after which the account will be automatically deleted or designated to someone else if it is inactive for that selected time period. This can be three, six, nine, or twelve months. But if the account holder has not used this option, you can directly contact Google to manage the account of the deceased. Although the company won’t give out passwords, it does entertain requests to close accounts.

  • Facebook

The Facebook account of someone who has died can either be memorialized or deleted.  Memorialization is a common option, as it keeps all the posts from the account visible, and friends can post on the timeline depending on the settings. The word “Remembering” is placed next to the name. Memorialization requests can be made in the Help Center page of Facebook.

Another option is to delete the account, which would require you to provide documents to prove that you are either an immediate family or estate executor of the deceased. You can then send a request to Facebook to delete the account.

  • Twitter

The Twitter account of someone who has died can be permanently deleted. However, you need to prove you are an immediate family or the executor of the estate of the deceased. You will have to submit documents like a death certificate and your own ID.

  • Instagram

Like Facebook, an Instagram account can either be deleted or memorialized.  However, deletion can be requested only by immediate family members, for which you will have to provide proof

 

Thanks for reading,

Karen

Giving Away a Lost One's Clothes to Charity - Things to Know
Aug 06, 2019   10:07 AM
by Karen

Donation in any form is a generous act. There are many people who are in dire need of food and clothing who can benefit from it. When you lose a loved one, it is difficult to part from their belongings. Most of us cling to them in our mourning their death. What if they can be honored by helping those in need? Why not give away a lost one’s clothes and some belongings to charity?

Before you donate to charity, keep the following points in mind:

  • Find a charitable organization to donate the items. Call or visit them to know what is accepted as a charity. Find an organization that is willing to accept the clothes of the deceased.
  • Wash or dry clean every clothing item to be donated and make sure that they are not contaminated with mold or anything that can cause health problems.
  • Treat any stains, tear, rip, or damage before you donate them as these clothes are reused by people in need, and charitable organizations cannot do it.
  • Check all pockets and folds for personal belongings. Many times charities have found cash, jewelry, cards, and other valuable items in the donated items.
  • Try to donate seasonal clothes as most charitable organizations do not have ample storage space. If you have winter clothes to donate during summer, hold on to it and donate at the right time.
  • Consider separating all clothing items before you put them in a box. Label each box. This will help the volunteers in the charitable organization send those items quickly where it is needed.
  • Children’s clothing can be donated directly to any orphanages that are willing to take it.
  • Towels and sheets with a tear, rip, or huge stains can be donated to an animal shelter as they can be used there.

 

Remember, when you donate your loved one’s clothes to charity, you honor them by helping someone in need.

 

Thanks for reading,

Karen

Everyone You Need to Notify After Someone Dies
May 09, 2019   12:12 PM
by Karen

Everyone You Need to Notify After Someone Dies

After someone dies, it is important that the right people are notified of the death. Apart from friends and family, there are several agencies and institutions that must be contacted and informed of this occurrence.

If the death was unexpected, make sure you call 911 immediately. If not, then call your medical practitioner. This should be done immediately after the death.

In the following few days, you will have to contact more people, informing them of the situation. These include:

  • Financial institutions

It is necessary to get in touch with all financial institutions that your loved one had an account and notify them of the death. So make sure you call any bank that your loved one had a savings account in, or through which he/she held credit cards, mortgages, insurance policies, etc. so that the accounts can be frozen. However, before you do so, make sure you have a death certificate as well as letters of administration.

  • Utilities and service providers

Next up, utilities and service providers that provide electricity, gas, water, internet, phone, TV, or other monthly or yearly subscriptions need to be contacted as well so that their services can be cancelled.

  • Government agencies

The Social Security Administration must also be notified of the death if your loved one was a recipient of social security benefits. Moreover, you may able to receive survivor benefits from the government if you qualify. For example, if the deceased was a veteran, informing the Department of Veterans Affairs may be able to get you survivor benefits.

  • Mail Services

You will also need to redirect your loved one’s mail to your house if you did not live together.

While losing a loved one is never easy, contacting these people in a timely manner will help you avoid problems in the future. 

 

Thanks for reading,

Karen

The Best Way to Honor Your Loved One
Apr 04, 2019   11:20 AM
by Karen

Loss is a natural part of life. That being said, losing a loved one is the most devastating experience in life. A parent, a sibling, a child, a friend, or a lover-once lost-is lost forever. Coping with this loss can prove to be challenging. You should know that it is hard to overcome this loss, but not impossible. Everyone reacts differently to death. But most people find different ways to honor the ones they have lost and keep their memory living forever. The coping mechanism differs from one person to another. People do different things to honor the ones they have lost. The most significant are those which make a difference.

Donate for a cause: Donation is something that has its way of helping someone in need. It brings a feeling of pleasure, a feeling of fulfillment that someone, somewhere is saved. It is the best way to honor a lost one as it gives life to another.

  • Organ donation: Donating the organs of a loved one can give life to someone else’s loved one.
  • Financial Aid: Helping someone in need of finances is as good as saving them from regrets of unfulfilled life.
  • Time donation: Donating time by spending it with children in orphanage, or with the aged in a nursing home brings joy to them and makes you feel fulfilled

Go Green initiative: There is always a need to protect our environment. Honoring the lost one by planting a flowering plant, a tree or a patch of grass, makes all the difference.

Reach out to others: There are several others who have lost their loved ones. Reaching out to them and helping them cope with the loss is a way to honor the lost.

Be anonymous: Honoring someone can even be made possible by anonymously helping someone or something in need. Pay for someone’s education, send food to an orphanage or nursing home, feed the poor, pay for someone’s treatment, pay for an animal’s life, rescue an animal from a shelter. The list goes on and on.

Coping with the loss of a loved one is difficult. But honoring them makes a lot of difference.

 

Thanks for reading,

Karen