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Survey Finds Few Canadian Share Their Funeral Preferences

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Survey Finds Few Canadian Share Their Funeral Preferences


A recent survey by Environics, commissioned by Arbor Memorial, reveals that about 60 percent of Canadians haven’t shared their wishes regarding their funeral and cemetery plans.

 “This means they are leaving their loved ones to figure it all out,” says Arbor’s director of marketing Dustin Wright. “When the time comes, the questions about how you will be memorialized, what you would have wanted – you’re leaving that to your loved ones at a time when it’s very difficult for them to process and make those decisions.”

Few people would dream of asking someone else to plan their wedding or other major life events, he notes. “But we often hear, ‘I’m too young to worry about that’ – even among spry folks in their 80s,” he says.   

It is easy to underestimate the complexity of the arrangements to be made, says Mr. Wright. “At Arbor, we say there are up to 87 decisions required when a death occurs. If nothing is planned in advance, that person could deal with all of those details within 72 hours.”

It is also common to decide on cremation and consider the matter concluded, but that is really just the first step in the process, he stresses. “How will your family and friends reconnect to celebrate your life and mourn together?

“We are always striving to bring opportunities to bring more meaning to our families’ experiences, with personalized receptions and gatherings. There are many options – so it’s an important discussion to have ahead of time.”

Many people include their last wishes in their will, but in most cases the will isn’t opened until after the funeral or memorial service, says Mr. Wright. “You don’t want to put your family in a position where they find out, after they’ve had to make all these decisions on your behalf, that it was different than what you intended.

Pre-planning means you’ll be remembered the way you’d like to be remembered, and allows your family to focus on the grieving process. It removes that burden.”

Speaking to a planning professional is an effective way to start the process, he says. “Just as we seek professional advice in so many other areas in our lives, the guidance of a funeral or cemetery professional can help you start this essential dialog – and translate your wishes into a plan.”

Categorized under: pre-planning

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