It’s never easy losing a spouse, especially for a senior who’s been married for more years than you’ve been alive. Fortunately, there are many ways you can help your senior loved one. While you can’t take away the grief, you can offer support in other areas. Here are some ideas from Let Your Love Grow.
Before we outline ways to help with the funeral planning process, let’s look at a few ways you can take other worries away. If they have pets, find a dog walker or boarder who is willing to keep their animals company in the days following the death and funeral. You can also, with their permission, enlist the help of a housekeeper. This typically costs around $15–20 per hour, and many housekeepers offer one-time cleanings and short-term weekly services. When your loved one is grieving, they may not have the time, energy, or mental capacity to handle even the simplest of household chores. Taking some of their day-to-day tasks away is one of the most meaningful gifts you can give.
Making use of a housekeeper can be helpful in keeping the home a stress-free environment. Dealing with funeral matters can require a lot of a person, so having a home that is clean and decluttered can make dealing with those stresses easier. It can also be helpful to add some plants and natural light to brighten the space.
Funeral Planning on a Budget
Life insurance is often seen as the primary plan for paying for funeral costs. Many individuals change policies during their lifetimes, but there are some important tips to keep in mind. The first is to always make sure that a new policy is active before canceling an old one. The other thing is to shop around for the best policy at the best price; there’s no sense in paying for things you don’t need.
Grieving widows and widowers are often willing to shell out whatever money seems necessary to provide their late spouse with a sentimental sendoff. But, as AARP explains, the average funeral can run around $7,800. If the deceased did not have life insurance, shopping around is imperative. By taking this burden away, you give your loved one an opportunity to grieve without feeling guilty for watching their spending.
There are many different interment methods when it comes to burial and if the deceased did not leave explicit instructions, you will need to discuss these with their spouse. The most affordable options are direct burial, cremation, and natural burial. You will also need to help choose a service officiant, music, pallbearers, and other individuals who will help throughout the process. If your loved one belongs to a church, start there. Often, their pastor or other church leader will be willing to conduct the deceased’s final service at no charge, although you may wish to provide a small monetary token of appreciation or gift to the church in acknowledgment.
Scams Run Rampant
One of the biggest benefits of helping your loved one during this process is that you are less likely to succumb to scams that take advantage of grief. Scams come in many different shapes and sizes but the end result is always the same: make the surviving family feel guilty and get as much money as possible for products and services that don’t really matter. UrnsOnline.com outlines 10 common funeral scams, including upselling caskets, prepackaged arrangements, and insisting upon embalming.
After the Service
Once the funeral is over, your loved one will have to get back on track. This will include finding a new sense of normalcy and learning to handle a household without their better half. Financial matters are perhaps the most difficult to acclimate to, especially for widows who may have left bill payments to their husband. WealthCare for Women touches on important details regarding the will, life insurance, survivors benefits, financial obligations, and more in this post.
Planning a funeral or memorial service is not a fun job for anyone. Your grieving loved one will need all the help they can get. While you can’t give them back the one they lost, you can help them with planning and other practical matters. Don’t be afraid to ask what they need and, if nothing else, be a shoulder to cry on during their darkest hour.
Written by Sara Bailey (www.thewidow.net)