6 Tips for Having ‘The Talk’ Over the Holidays

Sponsored By: McAlister-Smith Funeral & Cremation

Sponsored By: McAlister-Smith Funeral and Cremation

Now is the time to celebrate holiday traditions, whether that means you’re baking grandma’s special cookies or attending a church service.

This year, why not use that time of family togetherness to have a crucial discussion? If you have aging parents and loved ones, take some time this season to talk about funeral planning.

This is an important talk to have with your family members, and the holidays are the perfect time to have it since everyone is together.

Here are 6 tips from McAlister-Smith Funeral & Cremation for having the talk with your family.

1. View this as giving a gift to your loved ones.

It takes away the incredible stress of trying to figure out what you would want while grieving a significant loss.
If you’re looking to talk to your parents about their service, remind them that they would want to spare you this added stress. Also, offer to help them through the process if they want. If possible, you can accompany them to an advance planning appointment at a local funeral home.

“Most of the time our parents are fine with talking about this topic,” says Dana Madanski, Director of Marketing. “It’s us, the adult children, that are uncomfortable with it.”

2. Talk about their wishes.

Questions to ask are: would you want a mass in your church? Would you want a public or private viewing? Do you want to have a memorial service later on, or would you rather us decide?
Having the arrangements laid out in advance takes all the guesswork of what your loved one would prefer.

3. Advance planning removes the financial strain of a funeral.

Most parents would prefer to spare their children the financial burden of paying for their funeral service and burial. Paying for your funeral ahead of time helps control costs.
Madanski says, “A person once told me, ‘I am paying for my funeral up front to save my family the embarrassment of having to pay for it at the time of need. If they can’t afford to have the ceremony they want, they may feel ashamed. I have the ability to help with that.’”

4. Use this time to discuss other important end-of-life topics.

You’ll want to be sure you know if your parents or loved ones have a will, end-of-life directives or would like to be organ donors. These aren’t always the first things to come up at holiday dinner conversation, so once you’ve opened the discussion, keep it going and cover everything you might need to know.

5. Turn a tough topic into a chance to learn more about your family.

The conversation doesn’t even have to include the word funeral. Every time you discuss a favorite memory or friend, they are telling you how they want to be remembered. As you look through pictures, you can remember which ones they appreciate most and ask which represents them best.

6. Before you gather for holiday celebrations, plan what you’ll ask.

Think about how you’re going to bring up the subject and even make some notes. Carve out dedicated time and a private spot in the house where you can have this discussion uninterrupted. Some funeral homes even have guides to help you have the conversation and record your notes.
This may not feel like a great holiday topic, but it’s critical for every family. Everyone will have greater peace of mind knowing questions are answered, wishes are expressed and details are planned out.

If you’re thinking about pre-planning your funeral arrangements, turn to a trusted, local funeral home like McAlister-Smith Funeral & Cremation.

Since 1886, McAlister-Smith has been providing personal and caring services, placing a particular emphasis on the importance of family. McAlister-Smith has four convenient locations to serve families throughout the Lowcountry, including West Ashley, Mount Pleasant, Goose Creek and James Island. They understand that talking about the end of a loved one’s life is difficult, and they are here to make the planning process easier.

For more information about pre-arranging a funeral, visit McAlister-Smith.com or call (843) 722-8371. You can also visit TalkofaLifetime.org for more conversation tips.

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