Making funeral plans
Some people may find the idea of planning their own funeral too sad or morbid. They may think that funerals are for the family, and should be organised by them. Others may feel comforted knowing that the funeral will be carried out according to their wishes and that family or friends won’t have to guess what they would have wanted. Some people may prefer to have a memorial service or a living wake, while others don’t want any kind of funeral at all, or are concerned about the cost.
What are the options?
It’s a good idea to discuss the type of funeral you’d like to have with family and friends ahead of time. Even if you aren’t concerned about it, a funeral or memorial service can be an important part of the grieving process and provide comfort for family and friends.
You may find satisfaction in leaving your mark on the occasion, and in involving your family in the planning. If you’d like to make preparations but you can’t do the work, or prefer not to, talk to a spiritual care practitioner, funeral celebrant or end-of-life doula for assistance, as well as any family or friends. Alternatively, you might simply discuss your preferences with your family and executor. Or you may record your wishes in writing or lodge a plan with a funeral director of your choice.
Prearranging a funeral
There are few rules with funeral plans. You can plan your funeral to meet any cultural or spiritual preferences. You may just have a few simple requests for music you want played or poems you’d like read, or you may have detailed plans for the full service. You can also choose to have a non-traditional event such as a celebration of life.
If you change your mind, you can alter these arrangements at any time. To prearrange or prepay a funeral, talk to a funeral director. You can download a pre-planning information form from the Australian Funeral Directors Association or Funeral Directors Australia. It’s important to let your family know of any arrangements like this that you have made and to give copies of a prepaid funeral contract to your family or file it with your will.
Podcast for people affected by advanced cancer
Prof Jane Phillips, Head, School of Nursing and Professor, Centre for Healthcare Transformation, Queensland University of Technology and Emerita Professor Palliative Nursing, University of Technology Sydney, NSW; Prof Meera Agar, Palliative Care Physician, Professor of Palliative Medicine, University of Technology Sydney, IMPACCT, Sydney, NSW; Sandra Anderson, Consumer; A/Prof Megan Best, The University of Notre Dame Australia and The University of Sydney, NSW; Prof Lauren Breen, Psychologist and Discipline Lead, Psychology, Curtin University, WA; David Dawes, Manager, Spiritual Care Department, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Rob Ferguson, Consumer; Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar, Counsellor, Psychotherapist and Social Worker, One Life Counselling & Psychotherapy, NSW; Justine Hatton, Senior Social Worker, Southern Adelaide Palliative Services, Flinders Medical Centre, SA; Caitlin MacDonagh, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Palliative Care, Royal North Shore Hospital, Northern Sydney Local Health District, NSW; McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer; Palliative Care Australia; Belinda Reinhold, Acting Lead Palliative Care, Cancer Council QLD; Xanthe Sansome, National Program Director, Advance Care Planning Australia; Kirsty Trebilcock, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA.
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