The subject of death is an understandably difficult topic to think about, as well as to discuss with others.
And so, because death can be such an uncomfortable subject for people to process and talk about, it can be a potentially discouraging factor in regards to people making funeral plans for themselves or for their loved ones.
In fact, a survey done back in 2020 by Willful and Arbor Memorial Inc. found that only around 34 per cent of Canadians had “initiated a conversation about end-of-life plans”, with other participants in the survey citing that they did not engage in the same conversations because they either “already had plans in place”, felt it was not applicable to them, did not know where to start planning, did not have sufficient information, or they just felt straight-up uncomfortable (a link to the article can be found on the Cision website here).
Amidst all of the various reasons why people may choose to not start making funeral or cremation plans, it begs the question: Should more Canadians be active in pre-arranging funeral services? And why is it important that they start doing that?
Well, Jennifer Connolly, who is the managing funeral director with Eirene Cremations, said that there are numerous reasons why making early funeral or cremation plans is highly beneficial—especially from an emotional and financial perspective.
“If you are able to and comfortable with the possibility of making these (funeral) arrangements for yourself ahead of time, and paying for these services ahead of time, then you are saving your family a lot of extra grief at the time of the death,” Connolly said. “When you make these decisions ahead of time, it’s something that your family does not have to worry about.”
“The other benefit to pre-arranging and pre-paying for your services is that if I decided to make arrangements for myself today, I’m going to be paying today’s prices ... so if I make my arrangements today with Eirene, for example, the price is $2500. That includes all of my paperwork, my death certificates, the fee for the cremation, the container that I will be cremated in, everything from A-to-Z that I need to have a very simple direct cremation ... when I die, whoever is making the arrangements (children, spouse, etc.) doesn’t have to pay anything, unless they’ve added on something themselves,” Connolly said.
Alongside of locking into today’s prices to avoid paying future prices that may increase substantially, as well as preventing any future inconvenient and burdensome tasks for loved ones at a time of mourning, Connolly also mentioned that pre-arranging funeral services benefits people because then they can decide on how they would prefer to be honored when they pass away, which eliminates any confusion and stress from loved ones because they will have all of the information provided from the pre-planning process.
And if you are someone who is interested in pre-arranging/pre-paying for funeral or cremation services, but are having issues talking about it with loved ones, Connolly recommends perhaps getting the conversation started by talking about something lighthearted as an icebreaker. For example, if your family is really into music, maybe begin by mentioning songs you would prefer to be played at your memorial service.
Finally, when it comes to pre-planning funeral services, Connolly also recommends doing lots of research. Whether it be through finding information on the internet, talking with others (family, friends, or neighbors), or phoning companies like Eirene to speak to licensed funeral directors about any questions you may have, doing thorough research will ensure that you and your loved ones will all be satisfied with your service.
For information on pre-planning cremation services, you can check out Eirene’s blog post titled “8 Things to Know When Pre-Planning a Cremation Service”.