How to prepare for the death of a loved one
When a loved one may be close to passing away, we know how hard it can be for their loved ones. You may not know what you will need to do when the time comes, which is why we’ve created a guide with things you may need to consider and find out from your loved one.
Not everyone will have shared their funeral wishes in advance, so this allows you to find out exactly what they want.
To understand their final wishes, you may consider asking if they would like:
- a cremation or burial funeral
- a funeral with or without a funeral service
- a religious or non-religious service
- their ashes scattered or interred
- any music and readings during the service – with any specific preferences
- flowers or donations
- donations to a chosen charity
- specific clothes they would like to be dressed in
- for a funeral director to organise the service or the family instead
You should ensure you write their answers down as this will make planning their funeral a little easier when the time comes.
It is important to know that you don’t need to have decided on any of the points mentioned above and they are only listed if you, and your loved one, feel ready to start thinking or talking about their funeral.
It is important to know if they have a Prepaid Funeral Plan; this means they would have paid for, or are still paying for, their funeral in advance.
Depending on the amount of time your loved one has left, they might still be able to purchase a Simplicity Cremations Prepaid Funeral Plan.
If your loved one does not have a funeral plan, and it is impractical to purchase a plan at this point, you may want to begin thinking about how you will arrange a fitting funeral to suit their final wishes.
For help arranging a funeral for a loved one, you can contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
You may need to find out if your loved one has a will, as this will help determine what happens to their possessions, money and property (commonly known as their estate) after they pass.
- If your loved one has a will – you should ask whom the executor is and where the will is being kept for when the time comes. You may also ask if they’re happy with the current terms.
- If your loved one doesn’t have a will, and they are still in good health – you may ask if they’d like to make one. This will make it easier to fulfil their wishes when the time comes. If they do not wish to make a will their ‘estate’ will be shared as defined by law.
We often hear people talk about how difficult it is to spend time with a loved one who is dying. They don’t want to remember their loved one the way they are now or whilst they may have been suffering but instead want to remember how they were previously. That said, spending time is important not only for the person dying but for close loved ones as well. Avoiding visiting a dying loved one can often lead to regret later on.
The person may also wish to get in touch with family and friends themselves or may need your assistance. You should do this as soon as possible, as this will allow people time to say their goodbyes.
Although you might want to do everything you can for your loved one from the minute they receive their diagnosis, it's important not to hover or treat them very differently. You should let your loved one maintain a normal life by doing the things they can for as long as they can.
However, there may come a time when your loved one will need help with some daily activities. Preparing food, doing laundry, cleaning or driving them to and from the hospital for treatment are just a few of the practical ways you may be able to help.
When you’re preparing for the death of a loved one, you should remember to take care of yourself too – try to eat well, sleep well and do activities that help you relax.
In these circumstances, it is common to begin grieving before the person passes away. This is referred to as anticipatory grief. Everyone deals with and processes death differently, there’s no right or wrong way to come to terms with the news.
Sometimes it helps to talk to someone about how you’re feeling. When experiencing grief, some people find it easier to talk to someone outside of their family and friendship group.
GriefChat is a free online service that connects you to a trained bereavement counsellor. Counsellors are available from 9am to 9pm, Monday to Friday.