The end decision

Funeral planning should involve communication with loved ones.

Many people seek financial guidance about retirement options. Retirement planning should involve discussing elder care issues and funerals wishes. Discussing elder care and funeral wishes are topics most do not think about, let alone discuss openly. Having a funeral plan prior to death helps the family members left behind by taking away the stress of planning a loved one’s funeral while they are grieving. Most funeral homes provide free planning services that can at least help generate communication. One topic to decide upon is the option of cremation.

According to the Cremation Association of North America, modern cremation, as we know it, actually began only a little over a century ago. After years of experimentation into the development of a dependable chamber, Professor Brunetti of Italy finally perfected his model and displayed it at the 1873 Vienna Exposition.

Meanwhile in North America, although there had been two recorded instances of cremation before 1800, the real start began in 1876 when Dr. Julius LeMoyne built the first crematory in Washington, Pa. In 1999, there were 1,468 crematories and 595,617 cremations, 25.39 percent of all deaths in the United States. By 2009, there were over 2,100 crematories and over 900,000 cremations and 36.84 percent of deaths in the United States were handled through cremation, a percentage that is expected to grow to over half of deaths by 2018. 

Michigan State University Extension says that cremation is a choice many are choosing these days. Regardless of the choice you make, make sure you share the plan with family and loved ones, keeping in mind your choice may be uncomfortable for them to have to fulfill. For example, some people choose loved ones to disperse the ashes at choice locations or be a part of the ceremony by helping disperse the ashes. If you are a member of a church, discuss cremation with your clergy to educate yourself about your churches beliefs on cremation.

Having a plan is good sound advice, but communicating those plans with everyone who will be involved or affected provides a more harmonious and celebratory end result.

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