What Should You Do When Someone Dies?

Author

Dignity Memorial -MSC Locations

Posted on

Nov 02, 2021

Book/Edition

Florida - Sarasota, Bradenton & Charlotte Counties

Share This

For more information on Dignity Memorial, Click Here.
When someone dies, the aftermath can be overwhelming for the person left in charge, and handling a death can seem very confusing and emotional. Regardless of whether a death is expected or unexpected, emotional struggles and feelings of disbelief can cloud thinking, making the task of planning a funeral difficult.

If you have just experienced the death of a loved one, know that Dignity Memorial providers are ready to assist you in any way we can. A caring Dignity Memorial professional with helpful advice and answers to your questions is just a phone call away. Our large network of funeral, cremation and cemetery service providers ensures that there is a friendly, knowledgeable team member near you.
If you're unclear about how to handle a death in the family, the list below details what you should do immediately and in the days and months following a death.
And remember, you probably don't have to do this alone. Friends and family will most likely want to help. Delegating responsibilities to family members and others you trust not only eases your burden but also allows them to show you how much they care about you and it may even help them begin to heal their own feelings of loss as well.
Consider printing and/or emailing this checklist to yourself and close relatives so that you will have easy access to it in the days and weeks to come.

What to do immediately when someone dies


Notify the authorities that a death has occurred. If you're not in a hospital or with hospice care at the time of the death, call 911 immediately so that the death can be legally pronounced. If your loved one is in a hospital or under hospice care, this task generally falls to the medical caretakers.
Arrange for transportation of your loved one by calling the Dignity Memorial provider nearest you. We will arrange transportation with no obligation to use our funeral services. Be aware of any arrangements that need to be made for autopsy or organ donation before a mortuary or crematorium takes your loved one into its care.
Notify family and close friends of the death. You may wish to ask some of these people to inform others.
Arrange for a caretaker for children, elderly parents and pets. (This is a good task to delegate to someone you trust.)
Notify your loved ones employer, if he or she was still working. Ask about remaining pay, life insurance, benefits or any other work-related details you may need to know.

Locate the will and any pre-planned funeral arrangements.

Select a funeral home, mortuary or funeral director to begin the process of planning a funeral, memorial service, cremation or celebration of life.

What to do before meeting with a funeral planner

Designate a main point of contact, or executor. This might be you or someone else, but whoever it is should also have a friend or family member who can be nearby and help with important decisions and more.
Gather any documents specifying pre-planned or pre-paid funeral arrangements, and obtain the personal information you need for an obituary and death certificate.
Contact any religious or military affiliations of your loved one to determine whether burial benefits or specific funeral plans and services are available. If your loved one was a veteran, visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website atbenefits.va.gov/benefits or call800-827-1000to explore options for veterans. Your Dignity Memorial provider can also inform you of these benefits or help you get the right information.
Start an obituary. Your funeral director can help you write an obituary, or you may choose to write it yourself. Have at least one person proofread the obituary before it is submitted for publication.


What to do before the funeral

Enlist family and friends to be pallbearers, greeters, decorators or food servers.
Check on the home of your loved one if necessary (another good task to delegate). Water plants, throw out perishable food, collect mail and make sure all the doors and windows are closed and locked.
Plan for a post-funeral gathering such as a reception or visitation. Ask your Dignity Memorial provider about the options for catered and non-catered gatherings that will offer comfort to friends and family.
Share the details of the service. Once the date, time and location of the funeral have been set, let those close to you know, and have them share the information with friends and community members. A dedicated Dignity Memorialobituarylets you direct people to one site for the obituary, service details, floral options and a virtual condolence registry.


What to do after the funeral

Get multiple copies of the death certificate. The executor and funeral home director will need to contact the following agencies, most of which will request at least one copy of the death certificate:

Social Security (800-772-1213;socialsecurity.gov) to discuss ceasing benefits, obtaining survivor benefits and Medicare. Veterans Affairs may also be necessary for the cessation of benefits (800-827-1000;va.gov).
Health, life, homeowner, automobile and other insurance companies to cease or transfer benefits.
Utility companies to change or stop services.
Employer for pension plans or employment benefits; each separate claim will require a separate copy of the death certificate.
Probate attorney for asset, trust and estate inventory.
Tax preparer to determine if an estate tax return or final income tax returns should be filed.
State department of motor vehicle services to cancel drivers license.
Bank for safe deposits and remaining accounts; you may be advised to open a new account for the estate.
Deliver the will to the appropriate office for probate.
Notify the post office of the death and the location to which mail should be forwarded. (Going through your loved ones mail can help you become aware of bills, subscriptions or other accounts or services that should be canceled.)
Notify the police if your loved one left behind a house that will sit vacant, so that they can periodically monitor the home against suspicious activity.



Aftercare resources and grief support
Depending on your relationship with your loved one and the traditional mourning customs of your faith, the weeks and months after a death in the family may be extremely difficult. Be sure to take steps to ensure that you are handling the death in an emotionally healthy way, and know that caring for yourself and allowing others to care for you are part of the healing process.
Grief is natural, personal and has no timetable. It may last for a shorter or longer time than you expect, and it may be coupled with feelings of anger, guilt, emptiness or hopelessness. Whatever your experience, know that there are family and friends all around you who are willing to support you at this time.
Its hard to know how to handle a death, especially when that person is a close friend or family member. There are things that need to be done and more than likely you will not have to do them alone. Enlist a support system to lean on. Its so helpful to have someone to assist with planning a funeral and putting someone's things in order. It also feels good to have a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on.


Other Articles You May Like

2024 Wellness Calendar: Your Healthy Aging Checklist

New Years resolutions are hard to keep without a plan. If one of your goals is healthy aging, ArchWell Health is here to help. Take these monthly steps to a healthier, happier you in 2024.JanuaryStart the year right with your first regular wellness visit of 2024 at ArchWell Health. Your ArchWell Health doctor will review your medical history and prescriptions and help you make a wellness plan for the year. At ArchWell Health you can see your primary care provider as often as you need to! Our care team will make sure to get follow-up appointments on your calendar, too.What to do:Schedule your regular wellness visits.FebruaryThis month we mark American Heart Month (and Valentines Day, of course). A great way to protect your heart is to control your blood pressure. Nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure and many are unaware that they do.What to do:Get your blood pressure checked.MarchMarch is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Colorectal cancer is the second deadliest cancer in the U.S., but its largely preventable. Medicare covers screening colonoscopies at no cost to you. You can also talk with your doctor about alternative screenings, including stool-based tests that look at your DNA and blood to determine if you may have irregular colon or rectal growth.What to do:Schedule a colorectal cancer screening.AprilApril is National Minority Health Month. Members of racial and ethnic minorities face bigger disease burdens for a variety of reasons, including access to care. If you're a member of one of these groups, have conversations this month about your unique health challenges due to family history or other risk factors. If not, learn about the unique health challenges your neighbors may face at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Healths website.What to do:Talk with your doctor about challenges that may affect your health.MayMay is Better Hearing and Speech Month, and a good time to think about how important hearing is. Hearing loss contributes to depression, isolation, falls and even car wrecks. And it affects 1 in 3 older adults.What to do:Schedule a hearing test.JuneJune is Mens Health Month, so listen up, men. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men (after skin cancer). The good news: it grows slowly, so treatment may not be needed. But early detection is key.What to do:Ask your doctor if you should have a prostate cancer screening.Women, youre not off the hook. Schedule your mammogram now, as calendar openings for this preventive screening fill up quickly. (See October for more information.)JulyJust in time for outdoor fun, its UV Safety Month. More people get skin cancer than any other form of cancer. You can lower your risk by practicing sun safety.What to do:Stop by ArchWell Health to see your doctor for a skin check.AugustAugust is National Immunization Awareness Month, a great time to ensure youre up to date on your shots. That includes newer vaccines that protect against COVID-19, shingles and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus). RSV alone is responsible for the death of nearly 10,000 older adults each year.What to do:Review your list of vaccinations and talk with your doctor about those youve missed.SeptemberSchool is back, and so is the flu. The flu can make anybody sick but can be deadly for older adults. Up to 85% of flu-related deaths occur among people 65 and older. The best way to prevent it is to get vaccinated.What to do:Schedule a flu shot before the end of next month.OctoberOctober is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Nows the time for a mammogram. This simple test can spot breast cancer up to three years before you feel a lump. Since breast cancer affects more women than any non-skin-related cancer, regular screenings are critical.What to do:Get a mammogram.NovemberNovember is National Diabetes Month, a reminder to control your blood sugar. Diabetes affects 38 million American adults, but many of them dont realize they have it. Its the eighth leading cause of death in the U.S. and the leading cause of kidney failure.What to do:Get your blood sugar tested.DecemberThe holiday season can be a time of joy, but it can also be a time of sadness, especially if youre socially isolated. Find ways this month to stay active and engaged with other people. Your ArchWell Health center even has weekly activities for older adults in the community.What to do:Ask your ArchWell Health doctor about mental health resources that could help you.

Making and Maintaining Friendships Later in Life

A healthy life is an active one, and activities for older adults are best shared with friends.Were all made for social connection. But as we get older, it gets harder to keep friendships going. And this often leads to loneliness and isolation.Sadness and depression are typical side effects of being lonely. But did you know being lonely may also increase your risk for heart disease and stroke? According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), theres a 29% increased risk of heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke for those who are lonely or isolated.Staying busy is one way to keep these risks down. But getting out of the house to do physical activities isnt always possible or even enjoyable. Especially if youre doing them alone!What if you could stay engaged, active and live your best healthy life through strong relationships? Good news: You can! Stay connected to these 8 kinds of people to boost your mental, physical and emotional health.1. Healthcare ProvidersStaying up to date on regular wellness visits, bi-annual dental cleanings and specialty-care checkups is a big part of healthy aging. And having a healthcare provider who you trust like a friend makes those visits more enjoyable (and less like a chore!).ArchWell Health primary care providers spend more time with you to, a. learn about your lifestyle, b. listen to your health concerns and c. answer any questions you have. Plus, ArchWell Health offices have full care teams of nurses, social workers, medical assistants and other people to support you as you age. It takes a village, and ArchWell Health is here for it. Learn more about ArchWell Health today: Get Started!2. Family That Brings You JoyWhether by blood or by choice, family is forever. But let's face it: older adults need stress-free interactions. Spend time with the family members and friends you genuinely like. These people make you laugh, remember the good times and fill you with joy.Communicate regularly by phone, email or snail mail if you can't meet face-to-face. And cut down on contact with any family who add extra emotional, physical or financial worries to your plate.3. Active AgematesWe all have those friends with a "forever young" spirit. They're the first to know about activities for older adults and theyre always up for a new adventure, near or far. Keep these people on speed dial.Whether it's a book club or a Beyonc concert, chances are they know how to get in and have a great time! If you don't have one of these friends, stop by ArchWell Health to participate in their weekly classes. These events are open to the public and include arts and crafts, chair yoga and educational seminars.4. Big ThinkersAging is no reason to leave decades of experience and expertise on a shelf. Older adults need intellectually stimulating friends and activities to thrive. Connect with big thinkers by attending book clubs at your local library or competing in chess matches in the park.Some people take up new skills or join online courses. Check out ArchWell Healths educational seminar offerings. Whatever you choose, keep your brain fresh by being a lifelong student.5. Movers and ShakersStaying physically active is one of the best ways to stay healthy as you age. Easier said than done when youre housebound or have chronic pain! To stay motivated to exercise, take nature walks and do other activities that get the blood pumping. Grab a friend to go alone as a fitness buddy or accountability partner.The movers and shakers in your life might be the same age or younger than you. Age doesnt matter, as long as they're committed to good nutrition and healthy habits. You might even learn some new health hacks to add to your daily routine.6. KidsOne of the hardest things about aging is feeling like the world is changing too fast. Spending time with the kids in your life brings things into focus. Whether they're tiny babies, teeny tots or even testy teens, kids keep you young.An added bonus: they benefit from your wisdom, and you can learn from their perspectives and lean on their skills, especially when it comes to using FaceTime or figuring out TikTok.7. People Who Speak Your LanguageWhether you moved to the US as a young adult or came here more recently, the CDC noted that among other vulnerable groups theres a higher risk for social isolation among immigrants. Theres a few different reasons for this. For one thing, older adults may find it harder to travel to their birth country to visit family who may still live there, or to be surrounded by their culture of origin.If youre looking for that extra sense of belonging, check out nearby community, cultural and senior care centers that focus on people who share your ethnic or linguistic background. If you dont get to hear your first language much where you live, try listening to in-language audiobooks and podcasts.8. Fellow EnthusiastsWhether its knitting, listening to jazz or playing mahjong, make it a point to hang out with people who share your passions. They wont get annoyed when you call to pick their brain, and their joy for your shared hobby will keep you connected to a vibrant community.Remember, the things you enjoy dont have to be things youre good at. So, dont hide your love for karaoke, painting or baking just because you could use a bit more practice. In fact, that just means you should hang out more often with these fantastic friends.It's never too late...If you think getting out of the house is a young persons game, think again. From bowling alleys to movie theaters, senior discounts and 55+ designated days abound. Take advantage of these specials as opportunities to make new friendships or rekindle old ones with people who share your hobbies.Want to stay close to home? Invite relatives for a walk around the block, or have your neighbors come over for coffee on your porch. Just enjoying a bit of sunlight and stimulating conversation is good for the soul.And it never hurts to laugh at yourself every once in a while. Try new thingseven if its just to say you tried it. Be open to discover hidden talents and interests.Don't know where to start? Reach out to ArchWell Health today to learn more about all the resources waiting for you there.

How to Find the Right Doctor for Your Senior Parent or Loved One

If you're a caregiver for your parents or other aging loved one, at some point you may need to find the right doctor for their current health needs.Maybe mom's doctor retired, or dad moved from another city to live with you. If your parent's condition changes or they receive a new diagnosis, they might need specialized care. In the case of dementia or Alzheimer's, you may need to look for a doctor who can offer advice on care, treatment and quality of life.Finding the right doctor may seem overwhelming with so many physicians and specialists available. ArchWell Health has your back! Here, well offer 7 steps to guide this important search.1. Review your parents' insurance planTo get started, check your parent's insurance plan to understand their coverage, deductibles and co-pays.Medicare can seem complex. But there are many resources to help you and your loved one understand how to pay for their healthcare needs. Many adults over 65 enroll in traditional Medicare plans that include Medicare Part A coverage for hospital stays and Medicare Part coverage for doctors visits and other services.Other older adults choose a Medicare Advantage plan instead, known as Medicare Part C or an "MA" plan. ArchWell Health partners with several Medicare Advantage plans to provide healthcare services.Medicare Advantage plans include Medicare Part A, Part B and usually a prescription drug plan, Part D. Medicare advantage plans are offered by Medicare-approved private insurance companies who partner with Medicare to offer affordable health plans. You may even be able to select a plan with no premiums.You can learn more about Medicare Advantage here: Medicare Advantage 101You should also find out if your loved one qualifies for Medicaid, which can work with their Medicare Advantage plan to help cover healthcare expenses and provide additional benefits like lower prescription drug costs and transportation assistance.Finally, if your parent has an employer health plan as part of their retirement package, you'll need to review it and see what's covered.Closely review your parent's health plan(s) for rules on using in-network providers. That way, you can search for a doctor that's in-network so your parent can save money on healthcareKnowing your parents' health plan coverage will help you find the right doctor for your parents at the most affordable cost.2. Consider how value-based care can help your loved oneArchWell Health members aged 60 and over receive ValYou CareTM, a unique approach to value-based care and wellness programs. Value-based care is a model where a team of doctors and other healthcare providers work together to prevent illness and provide personalized care.ValYou Care services include:Longer appointments to discuss health concerns with the doctorPrimary care visits whenever your parent needs themOn-site testing and health screenings24-hour phone supportSame-day sick appointmentsTelehealth appointmentsReferrals to specialistsCall ArchWell Health to see how ValYou CareTM can help your parent live a healthy, independent life.3. Talk with your parents about their health and wellness goalsOnce you and your loved one understand their health plan coverage, it's time to discuss their health and wellness goals. For example, your parents may have concerns about cancer, heart disease or dementia. They may need help managing diabetes, depression or other health conditions.If left undetected or untreated, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and other conditions can worsen and become more serious.ArchWell Health offers cancer screenings and a long list of important preventive screenings to detect early heart disease, depression, diabetes and more. The sooner these conditions are detected, the better the treatment options.A healthy lifestyle and diet is a huge part of aging well. Thats why as ArchWell Health members, your parents can also receive a customized nutrition education plan.Staying socially engaged is important for wellness too. Loneliness and isolation can raise the risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease, according to the National Council on Aging.Reduce these risks by staying connected to a community and social network. If your parent wants to meet new friends, ArchWell Health offers many events and classes for members to stay active and socialize, including:Exercise, strength training, Zumba, Tai Chi, Pilates and chair yoga classesCanvas paintingBoard gamesLunch and learn eventsSocial events4. Check into transportation assistanceAs a caregiver for an aging parent, you may be driving them back and forth to doctor's appointments and errands. However, caregivers can often use an extra hand with this task, especially if they're working. Let us help! We can arrange transportation if needed so your parent always has a ride to their ArchWell Health medical appointments and community activities.5. Find healthcare provider locationsWith locations and healthcare providers in multiple U.S. cities, ArchWell Health's Find a Provider Near You search tool can help you find the right doctor for your parents. You can search by:Provider nameCare focusZip codeDistance up to 75 milesPreferred genderPreferred languageDiscuss the search terms and results with your parents, asking their preferences to make the best choices together.6. Consider a doctor who specializes in elder care.When choosing the right doctor for your aging parents, consider a primary care provider that specializes in senior primary care, such as a geriatrician. Doctors and nurse practitioners can both specialize in geriatrics. Geriatricians have an in-depth knowledge of all things elder care.A geriatrician also specializes in treating people with multiple chronic conditions. They can help your parent know what to expect as they age, recommend accommodations, or prepare for changes that affect their body and cognitive abilities. A geriatrician can:Diagnose and treat medical conditionsPrescribe medicationsWatch for medication side effects and adjust prescriptions when necessaryRefer your parents to specialistsDiscuss your parents' daily functioning and guide tough decisions, such as when its time to stop driving or living aloneHelp with end of life planning and advance directives7. Meet with a social worker at the new primary care centerOnce you find the right doctor for your parents, meet with a social worker at the new practice to discuss your parents' social and behavioral needs. A social worker can help you and your parents locate safe housing, food and nutrition assistance, mental health counseling and more. They can also point you to classes, educational offerings and social activities offered by ArchWell Health.The social worker can provide a list of community resources for caregivers too, such as local or virtual support groups. A social worker may also be able to discuss long-term planning for your parents changing needs, including long-term care costs and options.ArchWell Health is here to helpNavigating the aging process can be challenging for you and your parent. Fortunately, ArchWell Health is here to help your parent with their medical needs and wellness goals through our ValYou CareTM program.Call ArchWell Health today to find out more about the many advantages and health benefits of ValYou CareTM.Find your local ArchWell Health phone number here: Call Now