Funeral Planning for Your Parent in Assisted Living

If you have a mother or father in assisted living who has yet to undertake funeral preplanning, you may want to assist them in this task. Of course, if your parent is adamant about not preplanning, you should not press the issue at this time. However, if you approach your parent in a thoughtful, nonthreatening manner, odds are your mother or father will have an interest in sitting down with you (probably more than one time) to do at least some preplanning in regard to what should happen after he or she passes on.

There are a number of different elements associated with preplanning with your parent who is residing in assisted living. These include:

  • Select a funeral home to oversee preparation, funeral, and committal
  • Determine type of preparation process
  • Make decisions regarding burial or cremation
  • Plan funeral, memorial, or graveside service
  • Draft obituary
  • Draft life story
  • Select primary photo
  • Select other photos or videos for memorial presentation
  • Create email notification list
  • Discuss social media
  • Advise assisted living of relevant plans

Select a Funeral Home to Oversee Preparation, Funeral, and Committal

Even if your parent does not want to obtain a prepaid or prearranged funeral plan, you should work with your parent to select a funeral home that will oversee what happens when your mother or father passes on. This includes discussing such matters as preparation of the body following death, the type of funeral or memorial service that your parent desires, and the final disposition or committal of remains.

Determine Type of Preparation Process

People are paying more attention to the types of preparation process that are available to a deceased person’s remains. A person can elect to be embalmed, which in the past 100 years is considered the traditional approach to dealing with a deceased individual’s body. 

In this day and age, there are also green remains preparation options. Generally, this means that remains will not be embalmed. (Chemicals used in embalming are environmentally harmful.) On a related note, there are also green burial options as well. Your parent residing in assisted living may desire this type of preparation process upon his or her death.

Make Decisions Regarding Burial or Cremation 

During the planning process, you and your mother or father will also want to make decisions as to whether your parent’s remains will be buried or cremated. You may want to actually purchase a plot in a cemetery if burial is the plan. 

Keep in mind that in some cases cremated remains are buried. You will want to work with your parent on making decisions regarding disposal of remains in working on planning issues with your older mother or father.

Plan Funeral, Memorial, or Graveside Service

You and your parent should also visit about what type of funeral, memorial, or graveside service he or she desires. Your parent may belong to a particular religious faith that has specific requirements regarding funerals. Ideally, when your parent works through what he or she would like to see in the way of a funeral, memorial, or graveside service, committing all of this to writing is highly advisable. 

Draft Obituary

During the planning process, you will want to work with your mother or father in drafting an obituary. You may want to gather some other obituaries to give to your parent as examples of what he or she might consider doing in this regard.

Draft Life Story

In addition, you may want to draft a life story of your parent with your parent. This might be read at the funeral or memorial service. It might be shared during a reception or meal following a funeral or memorial service. The life story might be printed and passed out during services.

Select Primary Photo

You will want to help your parent select a primary photo that can be used with an obituary, on the program of the funeral or memorial service, and so forth.

Select Other Photos or Videos for Memorial Presentation

Depending on your parent’s desires, you may also want to gather photos or videos that can be used as part of a more comprehensive memorial presentation. The audio-visual memorial presentation might be incorporated into the funeral or memorial service itself. It might also be used during a wake before the funeral or memorial service. It might be presented during a reception or meal following a funeral or memorial service. 

Create Email Notification List

As part of future planning with your parent for funeral matters and related issues, you will also want to work with your mother or father to compile an email list of who will need to be notified when your parent passes on. This list should be as complete as possible so that you are not scrambling looking for contact information after you parent dies.

Discuss Social Media

If your parent has a social media account, or social media accounts, you will want to ascertain how they want their account or accounts handled after he or she dies. For example, Facebook has an option to turn an active account into a memorial account. The person designed to oversee the memorial account will be able to make announcements and make memorial posts on behalf of the individual who has passed on. 

Advise Assisted Living of Relevant Plans 

Once you complete the planning process with your parent, you will want to provide the assisted living community where your parent resides with necessary information associated with the aftermath of his or her death. For example, you will want to advise an assisted living community what funeral home will be responsible for transporting your parent’s remains from a long-term care facility.

Odds are that you will not want to undertake all of these planning issues in one sitting. Dealing with these issues can be physically and emotionally challenging. You most definitely do not want to overwhelm you parent or yourself. This type of planning can take place over time.