Planning a funeral for ourselves is not a priority for Americans according to a 2019 consumer study from the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA). Only 11.5% of those surveyed had done so. In a series of blogs beginning with this one, we’re looking at objections to planning a funeral for ourselves .
The recent NFDA survey was completed by a significantly younger population than in previous years, with 36.1% of respondents between the ages of 40 and 54. You may think “that’s too young” to think about planning a funeral, but as we all know death is blind to age. People can die at any time.
This uncertainty is likely why 90% of Americans think it’s important to share end-of-life wishes with family members (according to The Conversation Project). Yet only 27% actually do it. Let’s examine some of the common reasons we’ve been told that someone isn’t ready for end-of-life planning:
Objection: There’s plenty of time
Hopefully, this is true, but unexpected things do happen. Remember, planning for a funeral doesn’t have to entail every minute detail, especially when you’re doing so in a pre-need timeframe. It just needs to cover your preferences for burial versus cremation and any thoughts on the size and type of service.
Pre-need or advanced planning happens when you make arrangements for end-of-life services, whether in a casual or formal way. There are many casual ways to go about this, and it can be as simple as having a conversation about your wishes with a child, spouse or friend. Writing down basic information to capture those wishes is also a great way to casually begin the process.. We actually have a downloadable planning guide to assist you, called My Life, My Wishes.
Or, you can take funeral planning one step further by reaching out to us to make your end-of-life wishes known. That way, when the time comes, we can share that information with your family. Going one step further, you can also formalize your end-of-life arrangements with Phaneuf. This means choosing all the details of your end-of-life services. Then you have the option of prepaid funeral plans in one lump sum, or you can use a payment plan over a time period of your choosing.
Hopefully, there is plenty of time to make funeral plans for yourself. By taking one little step now – letting your end-of-life wishes known – you are able to share exactly how you want to go while you have a clear head and a healthy body.
Objection: I don’t want to think about it OR It’s too morbid to talk or think about
Many of us were raised to think of death as a morbid, scary thing only to be discussed in hushed tones. Look, it’s part of life, something we all share. The inevitability isn’t going to change by ignoring it. We’ve had thousands of conversations with families who shared that they wish a conversation or pre-planning had begun earlier. Here’s why:
Typically there are between three and five days between when someone passes and final arrangements are completed. Whether this is an anticipated death or not, your family is already dealing with loss, and there are many moving parts when someone passes. If you can take the decision making worries regarding end-of-life planning off their minds, that’s an amazing gift.
None of us want our family members or loved ones to suffer undue stress during a time of crisis. Consider moving past the thought of “I’m going to die,” to “This is how I want to say goodbye.” Planning many of the funeral details ahead of time not only allows you the opportunity for peace of mind, but you’re also providing closure for those you hold dear.
When you choose the specifics of your farewell – readings, music, photos, video, etc. – those who attend will immediately feel your presence, and it may help them to say goodbye and make peace with your passing.
Objection: I don’t know what I want
This is a growing reason for putting off funeral planning. There are more options than ever before – traditional cemetery burial, cremation, body donation, green funeral and burial – and it can be overwhelming. You may have attended a service where there was no body but just an urn with cremated remains and wondered, “Is that for me?”
Cremation is showing no signs of slowing in popularity, as it’s already the choice of more than 80% of New Hampshire residents. But you likely have questions and that is totally normal. We understand these are decisions not to be made lightly, which is why we develop blog posts like this one, longer content such as the aforementioned My Life My Wishes and why we make our funeral directors available for phone calls or in-person meetings. There’s a lot to consider and we want people to have all the information in a way that is comfortably accessible.
We know it’s important to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to all end-of-life planning options. Once you’ve thought about things and talked to your family, know we’re here, with no pressure, to begin your plan in whatever way you see fit.