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.
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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:
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 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 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 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 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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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