How do you have that conversation with your parents about their final wishes? As we meet with families, a lot of people don’t like to talk about it. It’s an unpleasant topic. But with a third of all deaths of seniors related to dementia and Alzheimer’s, Dan White at Evergreen Washelli talks about how it’s important to have that conversation with your parents earlier.
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The following podcast is a special presentation of answers for elders featuring evergreen was shelley and welcome to answers for elders radio everyone, and we are here with a very special guest, Mr Dan White from Evergreen Wash Shelley. He’s the Northwest Territory Manager for Abby View Memorial Park. Dan, welcome to the program today. Thanks you, Zanne. You know pleasure. Dan. One of the topics that I’m really excited to talk to you about today is something that we I work with families all the time and it’s like, how do you have that conversation with mom and dad about their final wishes? It’s kind of a touchy subject. Nobody wants to talk about death and obviously you probably run into that a lot, don’t you? Yes, in fact I do. As we meet with families. It’s pretty interesting that a lot of people, as long as they’ve may have been married together or been with another partner or live with their parents, they don’t really get down to this type of a talk because we all have a fear of dying and we know it’s out there. We have to pay income taxes and we will die eventually. Yeah, but we don’t like to talk about it right sometimes people get the feeling that if they talk about death then they’re going to die. Well, well, and it’s just an unpleasant topic. And most certainly I know that there’s so many families out there you know it’s kind of too late to know what your parents wishes are when they get to a certain point. When we look at, you know, close to right now, the statistics are a third of all deaths of seniors are related to dementia and Alzheimer’s, and so looking at you know, having that conversation with your parent earlier in that, you know, in that time when they’re still have their faculties to ask them, that’s really honoring them, isn’t it’s it’s making sure that you’re honoring their wishes. Yes, it is. It’s an in fact, you bring up a really good point, because you can talk with people and they may begin to discuss about as you say, as we’re living longer, more and more of us are being faced with dementia and all timers and I personally have experience that with my motherin law, and so I’ve been through that and the short term memory goes right. The long term was easy and remembering things that happened forty years ago, and so those kinds of things were there. So it is important to find out really what your parents want or what your spouse wants. I can only tell you I’ve set down with spouses before and they’ve net they don’t even know if the other spouse wants cremation or wants burial. They don’t know. They don’t know if they choose cremation, if they want to be scattered or if they want home retention or if they want to be placed in a permanent placement at a cemetery. MMM. So these things are good to talk about and to get out so that, as you said earlier, that we can honor each other’s wishes well, and I think to just overall for families, it’s such a piece of mind for your loved ones. If you’re the elder you know you’re the you you’ve got grown children and you might be in your late s or early s. You know it’s time to start having those conversations with your children. I’m sure you know as soon as they’re eighteen, because you never know when you’re going to pass away. You never know what those times are, and so it’s good to have those dialogs of this is what I want, and and and then also, the whole point is take the moment and Preplan, you know, make sure that you take care of those things financially, you know, while you’re still alive, so that you don’t have that financial burden on your children as well. And that’s a big piece of it too. Yeah, that is a very much a big piece of it, because we have people on people that I meet with. That’s one of the major reasons why they do choose to preplan once they get a little bit up in age, is because they don’t want their children to have to worry about it or to go through what they perhaps themselves have gone through with the loss of a loved one, and so it’s very important to do that. But even more importantly, there are still a lot of seniors out there that have been, should I say, lucky enough not to have ever experienced having to make arrangements for a loved one, and so they don’t know. So when somebody makes arrangements, that’s a good question. What happens? What what happens when, when you’re making arrangements are what kind of things should people talk about? Well, they should talk about what they want. If they want cremation or if they want a full casket at burial. MMM, if they want a viewing, MMM. If they want to have a service, and that service can be at a church, it can be at another location, it can be at the grave side. So you have all kinds of options that you can do. Could probably be in your church. It can be in your church, it can be, you know, you could be a memorial service and not necessarily a casket correct. It could be out on a boat, it could be up on a mountain and could he could be anywhere. Yeah, that’s true, but the important thing is to have it right and, you know, for those the survivors and those that are living, that’s the important thing. Well, and I’m sure I you know, I never remember. My father used to say I don’t want anything, just put me in the cheapest, you know thing that possible. You know, cremate me. I don’t care what you do with my ashes. I don’t. You know, I want to. And the point is is that your service isn’t for you, it’s for your loved ones. It’s for the people so that they can have closures. So if you’re making your own arrangements. One of the things that I know, and and Dan, you know, you guys do such a amazing job with the you know the programs that you put together, but it’s important for you to allow and give your loved ones that gift of closure, and that is your service. It’s the ability for them to remember those that have passed before and you know, understanding that your loved ones are going to have a grief process, and so to be able to prepare your loved ones and know that they don’t have to go through the hardship of having to make those arrangements upon your death and not really understanding what it is that you want, I think is so valuable. It’s extremely valuable. I meet with families all the time and and the difference between those who have planned and those who have not is a world of difference between the two because, like you say, everybody does so those that are preplanned, it’s just merely a review of the plans that were made right, very simple just to go over. That allows a family to be able to support each other. But if throwing into the mix all of those decisions that have to be made makes it very difficult and then you also face the potential of emotionally overspending. Just yes, you’re not sure. You want to make sure that you do right by your loved one, love one exactly. So we are talking to Mr Dan White. He is the Northwest Territory Manager for evergreenwash Shelley at Abbey View and Dan, before we further go on, tell us a little bit about Abbey view because it’s such a unique location. It is a unique location. It’s actually located in Briar Washington, which is just a little I refer to it as an as a neighborhood community. We actually it is a city. We have four policemen last time I checked. That’s great. But it’s surrounded by Lynwood and by Mount Lake Terrace, Lake Forest Park, Kin Moore and bothel. That’s wonderful and it’s such a I’ve been there one time. In the drive there, everyone is beautiful, even going through a neighborhood. It’s not like you’re going through a big, you know, bustling highway or city. You know you’re going through these beautifully manicure manicured, well kept lawns and neighborhoods. As you’re winding down to the to the cemetery, it’s a really nice drive. It thus well. Thank you for that. So when should you have the conversation with your you know, with your loved ones, or you know, about your own wishes or as well as talking to your parents? I’m sure that there’s Dan. There’s a difference. Yeah, there is, and what I would say as soon as you can. MMM, you know people. That’s probably the biggest thing about preplanning. Statistically, eighty percent of people believe in it, but only about thirty to thirty five percent of people take action and actually do it. And that’s the biggest part, is to take action and to be able to write those down or meet with a funeral or cremation provider and go ahead and plan. So I would say the sooner the better. I have families, believe it or not, that I have a gentleman who’s thirty five years old who is already made his plans. Wow, that’s wonders it are very young. I’ve actually had another gentleman who was twenty five who actually bought some cemetery plots because he is planning for himself, but he also was buying for his parents. MMM, so they’re the that’s probably the key thing is to do it as soon as you can. Yeah, and and ask what are the consideration? I mean, what kind of things should you think about when you tell somebody this is what I want? What are the certain things that you should cover in that conversation? Really a lot of your beliefs. You can cover things like what would I want to be wearing if I was going to be placed in a casket or prior to cremation? Good Point. Do I want to have a private viewing with family members only, or am I okay with having an open casket feeling for public and friends to come and see? HMM A is m do do I have concerns about embalming, if that needs to actually be done, and that actually only has to be done by state regulations, by the Department of Health here in the state of Washington, when there will be a public viewing? God, so if you’re having a closed casket at a service, the embalming may not be required. That’s that’s good to know. That’s very good to know. Yes, so I love that. A list of who to contact is good. What you want your service or your life celebration to look like? What kind of music would you like to have playing? What kind of personal mementos would you like to have? What can you show for your hobbies or things that you do? So and I think just thought is, what do you if you were to memorialize me today, what would you bring up about me? I think, I think to involve your family, to say, you know, what’s most important to you and in a service about me and discuss it up front, to say, you know, I like that or I don’t like that. I don’t want to be remembered for, you know, the fact that I worked in in a factory for, you know, twenty years. You know, maybe that’s something that your child might remember about you and your childhood, but maybe there’s been some changes in your life and and really to understand really who you are. Is Is I think it’s a collaboration. It is a collaboration and that’s really good points that you bring up, because it you do change over life, and especially children, for parents haven’t been with them the entire time. So, Dan, how do we reach you? You can reach me at Abbey View Memorial Park by calling for two five, for eight, three, zero, five, five five or d white at was Shelleycom Dan. Why? It’s always a pleasure having you in the program thanks so much. This has been a special presentation of answers for elders, featuring evergreen. WASHELLEY FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT EVERGREEN? Was Shelley. Their website is was Shelleycom? That’s Wa SHLL ICOM
Suzanne Newman, host of the Answers for Elders radio show and podcast, proclaims often, “Caring for my mom was the hardest thing I ever have done, but it was also my greatest privilege.” Following a career of over 25 years in sales, media, and marketing management, Suzanne embarked on a 6-year-journey caring for her mother. Her trials and tribulations as a family caregiver inspired an impassioned life mission outside of the corporate world to revolutionize the journey that so many other American families also find themselves on. Answers for Elders provides education, help, and support to families, caregivers, and seniors across the country who are experiencing their own unique journey within the complicated world of Eldercare. Each week, Suzanne is joined by vetted professional experts in over 65 categories including health & wellness, life changes, living options, money, law, and more. Suzanne lives in Edmonds, Washington with her husband, Keith, and their two doodle dogs, Whidbey and Skagit.