Be prepared

Discussion in 'End of life care' started by Emily M, Oct 6, 2015.

  1. Emily M

    Emily M Registered User

    Jan 20, 2015
    #1 Emily M, Oct 6, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2015
    Today Mum’s husband mentioned that he was thinking of visiting the funeral director. Some would find this strange and even cold, because you see Mum is still with us, physically that is, if not mentally. I have to confess thoughts of funerals have been going through my head and I am glad that he mentioned it because it is all a matter of coming to terms and being prepared for the worse.

    Mum’s decline has accelerated in the last few months and she entered a nursing home in June. She settled in well. It was as if she had never been anywhere else and she spent most of her day wandering around the home. All was well until she had a fall nearly 4 weeks ago and broke her hip. The operation went well and she returned to the nursing home after 12 days only to get a stomach bug. We thought her life was in the balance twice in the last month, but her 5 stone 10lb body is strong, if not her mind. She seems to have recovered, though is not yet mobile. So sad, as she loved walking.

    It is horrible to see how she has declined. A ghost in her body. We really do not know what is going to happen next, or when. What sort of viruses will be going around the home; will she walk, only to fall and break something again? It’s good to be prepared, yet, is this premature? Maybe, maybe not. A common question on this forum is how long will it be? Who can tell? It is like being bereaved over and over again.
  2. CeliaThePoet

    CeliaThePoet Registered User

    Dec 7, 2013
    Buffalo, NY, USA
    In the US, to go into assisted living on Medicaid, you must pre-pay a plan for the body, and usually make any other arrangements intended. This was harder for me than I expected, though I had already done a living will and POA and advance directive and health care proxy paperwork with my mother (I have these for myself, as well). But after the experience, which was fine, I realized what a kindness it is to lay these plans oneself so that no one else has to scramble to do so later, with such a heavy heart.
  3. Suzanna1969

    Suzanna1969 Registered User

    Mar 28, 2015
    When it became apparent that things were deteriorating last year I put quite a few things in place, including LPA for both of them, then Attendance Allowance and various other bits and pieces. I was surprised, shocked actually, that there were no funeral plans sorted because my Dad has always been very forward thinking and organised. Then a friend of mine lost her mum to brain cancer and, despite having been ill for over ten years, there was no funeral plan. No money of any kind either and my friend had to find several thousand pounds in a hurry and ended up having to take out one of those awful Payday loans.

    Anyway I sorted out a funeral plan straight away which is a 12 monthly payment scheme with the Co-Op (other plans are available!) and even got them to fill in the form detailing what kind of funeral they want.

    So it's not strange, cold or morbid. It's making sure that, during a horrible, upsetting and difficult time of bereavement, you don't then have to cope with arranging a funeral in addition to everything else. It's trying to make sure that things are as easy as possible on those left behind, and that's actually a wonderful and thoughtful gift.
  4. Emily M

    Emily M Registered User

    Jan 20, 2015
    Thank you for your reply Celia. I was totally unaware of how things work in the US. A lot of people in the UK have sayings for funeral costs and Mum did the same. You are continually bombarded with advertisements for over 50s insurance plans. Taking out one of these plans may not be a good option if you are still quite young, as with life expectancy rates rising you can end up paying a lot more than the price of the funeral I am told. You can buy an advance plan with some companies, notably the Co-operative, where you choose a funeral and pay either a lump sum, or pay over several months, but never have to pay any more than the agreed fee. Unfortunately if people have not made provision the children can end up having to pay the bill.
  5. Emily M

    Emily M Registered User

    Jan 20, 2015

    Thank you for your reply Suzanna.

    After speaking to Mum's husband (step-father) today, I had a word with a lady from the local Co-op branch near them and she was very helpful. Mum had made provision with savings, but he was still worried with scare stories about the cost. I was able to put his mind at rest and now he has started thinking about his own arrangements.

    I heard a story similar to the one you relate about your friend. A single mother of five died in her late 40s with no money and the children, some of whom were on benefits, had to pay the bill between them in instalments.

    I started getting very possessive when the lady from the Co-op said about the celebrant writing a eulogy and I thought, no, I want to do that, but probably not read it. It would be nice for family to have their say and I think that will help people come to terms with it.
  6. Lawson58

    Lawson58 Registered User

    Some years ago a friend was diagnosed with terminal cancer and was told she had about 6 months to live. So she and her brother went to the funeral director's and pre-arranged everything for when the time came. She chose her coffin, the flowers, the celebrant and paid for everything in advance.

    It was a wonderful gift for her family as at the time of her death, all they needed to do was a phone call to the funeral director and never had to worry about the cost or planning. The funeral director visited them and spent some time with them preparing them for the occasion and everything went off as my friend had wished. I think she was quite courageous but she said that it made it easier to deal with her final days knowing that she had done everything she could to make to help her family through the ordeal.
  7. Pickles53

    Pickles53 Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    Radcliffe on Trent
    I remember it was a shock when one of the very kind senior staff members at MIL's nursing home asked us if we had thought about appointing a funeral director. She was in a very bad way by then but we still had not thought that she was so close to death. I'm glad he grasped the nettle as it did help us to start thinking about what to do.

    There are a couple of caveats about pre-paid funeral plans. Some have 'small print' clauses which can mean the funeral director can still charge more than you paid if certain costs increase. (For example, crematorium fees keep going up.) Some plans limit you to a choice of specific companies. If you end up moving to a different place plans with a local company may not be transferable.

    Oh, and make sure you tell the people who need to know that there is a pre-paid plan; I know one family who organised a parent's funeral and paid for it. They found out later when sorting out the paperwork that there was a pre-paid plan with a completely different funeral director but it was too late!
  8. Emily M

    Emily M Registered User

    Jan 20, 2015
    What a lovely story Lawson and what a thoughtful lady.
  9. Emily M

    Emily M Registered User

    Jan 20, 2015

    Thanks Pickles. Some wise words. Step father is very keen on the Co-operative who have their own plan. They admit they are not the cheapest but as they are nationwide I should imagine they are transferrable. I was told that what they offer is the final price but will watch out for the small print. With Mum's situation we are on tender hooks. We never know what will happen next and, dare I say it, in her situation I think and hope it is more likely to be months than years. It will be a kind release.

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