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Sad - Have To Plan My Mom's Funeral, Etc.


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This is the first time I have gone through this. I haven't lost a parent yet, my parents are relatively young, only 57. My mom has end stage COPD emphysema. She cannot stay out of the hospital. A pulmonary specialist told me we need to get her "end of life" planning done. :(

I am the oldest of three children, our parents are divorced. My mom only has us to help her. I have always been "the strong one", the one who "takes care of things" so this job will fall to me. I want to do what I can before things are worse and we are more emotional. With my health I am really limited on what I can do during normal times, I can only imagine how much harder this will be both physically and emotionally when my body won't cooperate.

How do I plan this? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. My mom has Medicaid benefits, will that help with the cost of a funeral? I have no idea what to even ask, really.

This post probably sounds pretty matter-of-fact, but I'm still trying to process. And for me, when I have a plan I can cope better.



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I cant really help you as i'm not from the US so i have no idea how it works. i just wanted to offer you my support at what must be a difficult time for you.

I know in the hospitals here (in Aus) they have someone who can give you information on planning funeral arrangements. I know when a relative of mine was in end stages of cancer they had someone visit her family at the hospital to plan the funeral (im pretty sure the hospital organised this). It was up to her whether she wanted to be involved in making the plans (she didnt really want to be involved) so her son and husband made the plans a few weeks in advance.

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We (My mother and I) planned my father's funeral last April. He passed from pancreatic cancer. I am so sorry you are going through this and send prayers out to you during this difficult time.

Funerals are expensive. Dad was cremated and we still spent close to $4000. Social security paid $250, the rest we had to cover. My advice is simple. 1) Find a funeral home that you trust. They will help you out immensely in all the planning. You can choose what you want before the person dies and they will carry out your wishes. If your mom is still cognizant, perhaps you could ask her what she wants. Dad and I had a long conversation about what he wanted before he got very sick. He chose to be cremated, even chose the funeral music.

2) There are people at the hospital / hospice who can help you. They will tell you what you need to do and help you get the resources you need, including counseling for you and your siblings. If your mother isn't in hospice, see about getting her admitted to the program. They will send nurses to the house and help you out. We, personally, did not have a good experience with hospice, but there wasn't much they could do for the pain when my father refused morphine. If you do get hospice, make sure that the nurses are on the same page as you and your mother.

3) Talk to your pastor or church if your mother has one. They can help too, and provide religious support for both of you.

4) Take time for yourself. Remember to eat. Remember to breathe. Remember that even when your mother is gone, she's still there for you.


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I totally agree with Sara. My Grandparents had totally planned out their funerals before their passing. My parents have not only planned, but paid for theirs already. Since all of my family is from the same little town, they know the funeral director personally and trust him (he's performed at least 4 funerals for my family.) Talk to your Mom and definitely talk to your siblings! They need to come spend some time with your Mom while they can! Does your Mother have any life insurance? That may defray the costs somewhat, even really old policies (ONLY if they are whole life insurance) will still be in effect.

I don't know what kind of time-frame the doctors told you that she has, but you could start saving now. You also need to get a lawyer involved (sorry) to either make a will or disburse her estate early to cover expenses. The more you plan now, the less stressful it will be later, and you won't need the stress then! Hopefully, she will have a good quality of life until her time, it is watching suffering that is painful. My Grandfather passed away last summer, 4 months after they said he would not make it through the night.

((((((((((Hugs and support)))))))))))))))

We've got lots of shoulders to lean/cry on here, please do it! Your Mother is blessed that she has a daughter who cares!

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Thanks everyone.

Today I had to get her sent to a long term care facility. We simply can't manage her care at home. Weekly 911 calls...

My mom and I have never had a good relationship. I am her daughter and I love her, but we've really never been very close. She is much closer to my younger siblings.

My mom is practically indigent, so we will have to pay for all of it ourselves. Wow, $4,000 is a lot of money.

My mom is an ostrich type of person, she puts her head in the sand and avoids anything unpleasant. So, that makes any kind of planning very hard with her involved.

We have a visit with a new specialist on Monday, hopefully they can give us more information about how much time she has, etc. The hospital she was at is terrible. I requested a family conference with a social worker, the doctors and a patient advocate. Instead, they came into her room and flipped a brochure at her and said, "Pick out a nursing home to go to tomorrow." What the heck??? None of us were there, and she totally flipped out.



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my thoughts and prayers are with you angela.

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I'm so sorry for what you're going through right now. I understand a little... I've always been the "strong one" and my mom has been ill for a long time too. Try to designate whatever is reasonable to other siblings. They really need to help you, even if it's just making phonecalls. I'm surprised they don't have a hospice nurse assigned to her yet! They are such a great resource, practically and emotionally.

Please insist on speaking with the hospital's social worker prior to discharge. They should have a social worker assigned to her at the nursing home too. The social worker should get her into hospice, or be able to help you with these details herself.

Please let us know how you're doing through all of this.

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I am so sorry that you are going through this right now... I had to bury both of my grandmothers (and the last of my grandparents) this past year within a 22 day period... I know how difficult it can be with grandparents. I can't imagine how much more it is with parents. Please know that you and your whole family are in my prayers.

Please do try to get her into hopsice! They were a wonderful resource to have when my paternal grandmother passed... they sent out a chaplain and a social worker to us to talk with the family (my grandmother wanted to stay at her home, and my mom, aunt, and I were there the past 2 weeks to help). There are also many other benefits of hospice care I'm sure your social worker can inform you of.

Also, you DO NOT have to purchase caskets or urns from the funeral home itself (at least here in TN... perhaps the same is true where you are)... you can buy from the companies directly, and at times, at a significantly lower cost (the same exact style). As far as the details of the funeral itself (the music and scripture, the pastor you want to officiate, location...etc), you, perhaps with the help of your siblings (to echo a previous poster, call them), go ahead and decide those things as soon as you can. Go ahead and find a funeral director that you can trust and work with and inform him or her now of the situation with your family, and he or she might be able to help you with those things, too.

Again, please be assure of my prayers for you and your family during this time. Dona nobis pacem!

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