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Elder Rage, or Take My Father... Please!: How to Survive Caring for Aging Parents


If you’re amongst the millions of baby boomers who is or wll be caring for an aging loved one, the Following  will prove to be an absolutely critical resource:
The Ultimate Caregiver’s Success System


Beyond Driving with DignityThe workbook for the families of older drivers


Knowing you are not alone
can be a great help

Stuck in the Middle: Shared Stories And Tips For Caregiving Your Elderly Parents


Could you use a guide that explains the Assisted Living maze?

Check out Ryan Malone's Book

The By Families, For Families Guide to Assisted Living: A Step-by-Step Guide to Evaluating and Transitioning to an Assisted Living Community


Carolyn Rosenblatt has authored this great series on senior issues.

The Boomer's Guide to Aging Parents: The Complete Guide


David Solie has authored this great book on geriatric and intergenerational communication:

How to Say It to Seniors: Closing the Communication Gap with Our Elders


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Family ... End of Life Issues


Selecting A Funeral Service Professional

by Ryan Lee, A Day in the Life of Death

Ryan Lee - A Day in the Life of DeathThe shopping population is filled with unique consumers, each valuing a wide assortment of options and choices with varying degrees of emphasis. From the cars we drive to our lodging choices that we select while we travel, there is no “one size fits all” solution for any product or service provider. While General Motors sells tens of thousands more vehicles each year than Rolls Royce, few of us would make the argument that Buick is a superior brand to Rolls Royce. Likewise, every funeral home offers unique service standards that will vary greatly. It is up to the consumer to find the right funeral service provider for their needs.

There are countless memorial associations and cremation societies that serve a primarily cost focused segment of the population, while there are top tier firms that offer only white glove service and premium products. It is very unlikely that any consumer selecting to utilize the services of a cremation society will ask their service provider for a leather bound registry book, a solid mahogany cremation container or for a solid bronze urn with decorative gold detailing. However, such products do exist for the sole purpose of serving the segment of the population who desire only the finest craftsmanship and quality in every product that they purchase. Just as a consumer is able to find a single suitcase that retails for over ten thousand dollars, one may also purchase a 48oz per square foot solid bronze casket that has 24k gold plated hardware and retails for approximately thirty thousand dollars.

As consumers we are all looking for something different. Those things that are important to one person are not necessarily important to another. Our automobiles are a great reflection of our purchasing personality. Are we budget conscious, or performance and quality oriented? Is it truly size or gas mileage that matters?

The wisest of consumers will translate the same energy and effort that they placed in their last car purchase into the selection of a funeral service provider. It is not necessarily the bottom line cost of the products and services that are being purchased that matters most. The overall fulfillment of your expectations and needs being met will truly be the level of satisfaction that you will remember most.

Funeral homes vary greatly one to the next, regardless of ownership or location. There are funeral homes that serve as few as twenty-five families per year and there are others that will serve thousands of families on an annual basis. The number of families served may not necessarily be an indicator of the quality of service that you will receive as a client. Funerals are a very personal experience. Our life is more complex than to simply allow us to just select a funeral home at random from a list, or to even rely upon the selection of previous generations. Did you buy your car from the same place that sold your grandpa a car, simply based on that fact?

There are some very important facts to take into consideration when selecting a funeral service provider. Cost is chief among them. Do you, as a consumer have Rolls Royce taste, but a Hyundai budget? If so, your job will be considerably more complicated when selecting a funeral home. Are you willing to give up a Lincoln hearse for a Buick one? Are you willing to give equally on all other aspects of services and products? If so, you will need to become more educated on the true differences of products being offered, and the level of service frequently experienced by others in your community. When it comes to service, we have all been disappointed by hotels, restaurants and other service providers claiming to provide quality service, when truly all they offer is an overpriced and over hyped experience. The actual quality of service you are likely to experience is important to determine.

However, a cost conscious consumer should drive to each funeral service provider that you are considering using and walk into their building. By doing this you will learn a great deal. Are they clean, comfortable or otherwise pleasant to walk into? Would you feel comfortable driving to, parking at, and walking into their establishment on the day you have lost a loved one? You will quickly determine if there is a potential deal breaker associated with their facility, such as street parking only or a rough neighborhood element that otherwise would not be detected by merely price shopping by phone. Also, you will be able to ask for a copy of each funeral home’s General Price List. The General Price List is a document that every funeral home is legally required to prepare and distribute to the members of the public savvy enough to ask for one. The price list will have an itemization of each charge that a consumer may incur. If a charge is not found on the General Pricelist, in most cases, a funeral home is unable to charge a client for it. By merely comparing the experience of walking into each funeral home and comparing the prices of each, you are likely able to begin a ranking system and start to formulate your own opinion on each funeral home that you visited.

Very few consumers will have accumulated a sufficient amount of experience with a funeral home to gauge their quality based on firsthand knowledge. To learn the truth, seek out those who will know the truth about your local funeral homes. Regardless of how well you know them, there are members of your community eager to assist you and give you an honest look at the funeral service providers that they have worked with in their professional capacity.

Determine what is important to you as a consumer, and then take that laundry list to those in the know. Don’t be shy! Call up members of the clergy. Call the Catholic priest, Mormon Bishop and Baptist Ministers, or any other variation you feel comfortable with. Ask them how their experiences have varied and who they would feel comfortable using themselves. Most likely you will quickly learn that there are vastly different opinions when talking to one from the next. The reason for this is individual perspective and funeral home specialization. There are funeral homes and funeral directors who are often focused on religious groups. In actuality, funeral homes often recruit new employees based greatly on their religious affiliation

It is with this fact in mind that consumers should contact as many people as needed to feel comfortable with their choice in funeral service providers. If a consumer is of the Jewish faith, it is doubtful that they will feel comfortable with a funeral home that primarily serves a Catholic clientele, regardless proximity or convenience. Likewise, a Mormon family might feel more comfortable doing business with a firm that has a tradition of working with members of their faith. When it comes right down to it, price is not the greatest factor when selecting a funeral service provider, the consumers comfort level is. After all, you trust them with your most precious procession and the fact of the matter is that the embalming process is generally the only service that is offered by a funeral home that a consumer can’t do for themselves. Funeral homes are only able to stay in business because they provide services to their community that most people do not want to do for themselves.


Ryan Lee is the author of the bestselling book “A Day in the Life of Death: A Behind the Scenes Look at the Mortuary Business”. This book any consumers’ best reference on the death care industry. It teaches consumers techniques and offers tips on how they will be able to save thousands of dollars on funeral expenses and tens of thousands of dollars on cemetery property and how to ensure that you are receiving the best value for your dollar.


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