It’s often the unspeakable level of grief: preparing for the death of a parent. Holidays such as Father’s Day or Mother’s Day become difficult and sorrowful.

Photographs and family gatherings are now bittersweet. If your parent is in hospice care, it’s important to be well-prepared for your loss.

Preparing for Death of a Parent Checklist:

Say the Important Things

This is an imperative time for you to tell your parent that you love them or to resolve any misunderstandings. You don’t ever want to think, “I wish that I had told my parent…” It may help to make a list so you can be sure you’ve spoken about all the things you need to.

Get Your Support Network in Place

You probably already have a network of friends and relatives upon which you can depend. Use this time to reach out to them so they will understand how they can best help you.

Often, those who want to help may need some guidance on how to serve you most effectively.

Spend Time Talking About Memories

This is the time to enjoy reminiscing about the wonderful time you had together. Your parent will appreciate this trip down memory lane and the fantastic memories will be appreciated.

Save All The Memories You Can

Do you still have questions about your parent’s life?

Maybe you want to know more about that famous—yet secret—family recipe. Consider recording these for future generations or for you to enjoy later.

Understand Funeral Arrangements

We understand this is a difficult topic to discuss, but it’s essential to get a good grasp of what your parent wants for their funeral.

Knowing this ahead of time will give you a sense of relief when it is time for funeral planning.

Prepare Yourself Financially

In many ways, this can be the most challenging aspect of preparing for the death of a parent. It’s important to be sure that their affairs are in order.

It’s important to start this planning now instead of waiting until after your parent has passed, when you will be dealing with the additional stress of funeral arrangements.

Don’t’ forget to consider these central aspects of financial planning:

  • Know where important documents are located.
  • These may involve stocks, bonds or other similar items.
  • Who will be named executor of the estate?
  • If you are, do you understand what is involved?
  • Have the names and contact information of your parent’s attorneys or financial advisors.
  • Make copies of key legal documents such as:
    • Wills
    • Trusts
    • Titles Deeds
    • Insurance (including both long-term care and life insurance)

Are Your Parent’s Healthcare Wishes Explained?

Do you know what your parent would want if they weren’t able to make those decisions for themselves?

This is why healthcare documents such as an Advance Directive or Healthcare Power of Attorney are so critical.

As you and your parent are going through this difficult time, we suggest:

  • Avoid making any major life decisions.
  • Be gentle with yourself—remember that you do not have to be everything for everybody.
  • Get support from others, whether it be friends, family or clergy.
  • Take care of yourself. This includes getting plenty of sleep and eating healthy foods.

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