As the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States is on the rise, the government is taking strict action to deal with the spread of this disease. Not only does this virus cause serious medical complications to those who belong to the vulnerable group, but it also disrupts businesses and traditional practices.
Yes, social distancing is affecting end of life planning
Funeral homes, who already have the training and expertise to prevent the spread of diseases, have to follow additional health and safety measures. As per the directives of the federal and state bodies, it has become mandatory for every individual to practice social distancing.
Every person has to maintain at least six feet apart from other people in the vicinity. As a result, funeral homes have to change the way they provide end of life planning services. At present, not more than 10 people, consisting of close family members of the deceased, can attend the funeral.
Cultural practices and military honors on hold
Another area where social distancing is coming into play when it comes to the end of life planning are the practices followed by different religious cultures. Due to the recent outbreak, funeral homes are asking people to avoid kissing or touching the bodies of the deceased who died from COVID-19.
These agencies are asking individuals to refrain from traditional cultural practices during the pandemic such as large religious ceremonies. At the same time, funerals homes are canceling post-cremation and reception ceremonies.
Some people are delaying the burial services until the government lifts social distancing directives. Pre-planning is also on the rise due to the increase in the number of COVID-19 victims.
The officials of Veterans Affairs (VA) also provided clarity on military funeral honors - “committal services and the rendering of military funeral honors will discontinue until further notice” . As per the latest directive, funeral homes won’t be conducting these services, until they receive additional information from VA. Also, families are opting out of interring the deceased, until the government lifts social distancing orders.
It is difficult in this time of pandemic, but also important that we all follow the directives set in place nationally, and especially locally, so that we all may thwart the spread of this disease.
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When a loved one dies, there is no doubt that it is an overwhelming experience. You have to deal with your emotions while having to make funeral arrangements and taking care of financial matters.
Knowing what a challenging time it is for people who are grieving, there are some who take advantage of what you are going through by trying to scam you. They know that you are in a vulnerable state, and they try to trick you into falling for these scams. Make sure you do not fall victim to these common after-death scams:
Often times, scammers call you or send an email asking for the birth date and Social Security number of the deceased on the pretext that their Medicare insurance information has to be updated. Their real intention is identity theft so make sure that you do not fall for this scam.
You may be contacted by scammers who claim that your loved one was behind on their life insurance policy payments, asking you to complete their payment so that you can be paid out a huge sum of money. Before you transfer the money, make sure you have documents proving that your loved one really did have said insurance.
Scammers sometimes pretend to be IRS employees and aggressively nag you on the phone saying that the deceased owes tax money. They may even threaten legal action if you do not pay. The IRS has announced that it never contacts people by phone and asks for money in this manner.
Finally, there are those scammers who claim to be long, lost relatives. These people come out of the blue after death and claim that they are owed inheritance. Make sure always to confirm their identity first. And, of course, check the Last Will and Testament with a lawyer.
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Obituaries have always been an important funeral tradition for years. Initially, newspapers would publish obituaries free of cost as they were considered news stories. However, today, most newspapers charge a fee. Of course, many funeral homes can publish obituaries for free on their website too.
Obituaries may seem like a thing of the past, but there are many benefits to acknowledging the death of a loved one in print.
Publishing an obituary is a great way to honor the memory of the person who has died. It shows that they are loved and missed and also shares important details about their lives and the kind of person they were. Details like name, date of birth, date of death, survivors, and their accomplishments are usually included in obituaries.
When you publish an obituary you are informing other people in your community about your loss in an effective, efficient manner. This way, you save lots of time as you don’t have to call up each one individually. Once informed, they can reach out to you to offer their condolences and prayers.
Publishing an obituary can sometimes help you accept your own loss and understand it better. It can be difficult to come to terms that someone you care about has passed away, and seeing the news of their death in a tangible manner can help you come to terms with reality. Besides, writing an obituary brings back fond memories of your loved ones to remember them by.
When you have the news of your loved one’s death in print, it can prove to be very valuable in the years to come so that future generations know about this person and the kind of life they lived.
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Cremation is a common practice that many people choose over burial to say goodbye to the worldly bodies of their loved ones. However, despite its popularity, it is still shrouded with misconceptions and many people believe myths about it that are far from the truth.
If you or a loved one is considering cremation after death, then you should know that these common myths below are not the truth:
Many people tend to believe that in a cremation, the body is directly lit on fire. However, in reality, the body is kept in a specially-designed furnace where flames are used to produce extreme heat. The furnace, also known as a retort, reaches temperatures as high as 1800° F. As a result of this intense heat, the body is reduced to gas and bone fragments, which are then converted to ashes.
People often fear that they will be mistakenly given the ashes of another person instead of their loved one. However, in order to prevent this, there are strict laws in place which every crematory authority must follow. So you can be confident that such mix-ups will not happen to you.
A common misconception is that if you have a cremation, you cannot have a traditional funeral. Many people choose to have a funeral or memorial service with the urn present after the cremation process. It all depends on you or the wishes of your loved ones. A body can also be present at a funeral prior to cremation.
While some public places do forbid the scattering of ashes, meaning that you cannot scatter ashes anywhere you want, there are plenty of places, both public and private, that allow it. Make sure that you consult the authorities first before doing so.
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Death is a painful truth that we all have to accept one day. A loved one leaving for heavenly abode creates a void in our lives that can never be filled. While there is nothing a grieving family member can do to reunite with their deceased loved one, they can pay tribute to the departed soul by getting a memorial bench placed in a public or private place in their memory.
Available in a range of styles, memorial benches can be placed in parks, gardens or cemeteries. Many people get a memorial bench installed close to their deceased loved one’s burial site. Memorial benches remind people of the deceased person, ensuring that their legacy lives on. Some popular materials used to make memorial benches are wood, metal, stone, and synthetic materials.
The best way to honor a loved one is by creating a remembrance product that is valued not only by you but also by other community members. A memorial bench can not only help you remember your loved one but can also contribute to the community, providing community members and their visitors a peaceful refuge where they can rest and contemplate life.
Passersby heaving a sigh of relief after resting on the bench for a while will be the best tribute to the departed soul.
When placing a memorial bench in a public place, make sure to learn and abide by regulations. If you want to bury ashes under the bench, consult local authorities as many cities prohibit people from doing so. When ordering a bench with a plaque, consider the following things:
Make sure the plaque is durable. Many manufacturers supply as many plaques as their clients order. Even if your supplier is unable to deliver multiple plaques, you can opt for additional pieces at a later date.
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