Advanced Care Planning & Bereavement Resources

There is a great deal to consider in developing a plan for advanced care, death, and bereavement support. We have created a library of resources that we hope will assist donors and their families as they prepare for the next stage of their journey. If you have questions, please connect with us. We’re here to help.

Advanced Care & Death Planning

Grief Resources

Considerations When Approaching Death & End-of-Life Care

There are many personal matters to consider when planning for end-of-life care and after-death arrangements. This process takes time and energy, but it is helpful to think about and communicate your wishes before your loved ones are left to make these decisions on your behalf – and you may experience a sense of peace knowing you have addressed “unfinished business”. 

We have adapted a Planning Your Own Death checklist to help you navigate this chapter of your life journey. Of course, you don’t have to tackle the full list; it’s for you to decide what’s most important to discuss with your family now. 

Communications About Healthcare

  • Does your healthcare proxy or surrogate medical decision-maker understand and agree to carry out your wishes regarding my end-of-life care? 
  • Have you told your loved ones EXACTLY what medical interventions you want and do not want? 
  • Do they know at what stage of illness you would choose to forgo certain therapies or life support? 
  • Do you need a private discussion with anyone to help them to understand and accept your decisions? 
  • Have you told your family who you have chosen to be in charge of your medical decisions when you can no longer make them?

Fill out, share and discuss your advance medical directive, healthcare power of attorney, and any other important paperwork indicating your wishes.

Personal Considerations 

  • Do you want to create a “bucket list”? What would you like to accomplish with the time you have left? 
  • What are your beliefs about death? 
  • Do you need to make peace with yourself or with any spiritual figures of your faith? 
  • Do you need psychological, emotional, spiritual care, counseling or support? 
  • Should you make a list of people you want to communicate with to express love and gratitude or to make peace with before you die? Do you have letters to write or calls to make? 
  • If you have young children or grandchildren, do you want to leave letters or videos for them?

Personal Belongings

  • Who do you want to receive your personal belongings?
    • If you are married, most likely all of your belongings will transfer to your spouse or family. If single, then you must specify what you want done with these items. 
  • Who will get your special items, such as photos, mementos, etc.?
    • Do you want to organize your photos and label or identify the people in them? Are there stories behind your special items you want to share?
  • Are there specific photos or things you’d like displayed at my funeral or memorial?
  • Have you left the passwords your family will need after you die? 
  • Do you have unfinished projects around the house, at work, or in the community you’d like to complete? 
  • Are there assets you want to sell before your death? House? Car? Furniture? Land? 
  • Have you made arrangements for the care of your pets? 

Personal Reflection About Dying

  • Who do you want or not want to be present at your time of death?
  • What kind of atmosphere would you want leading up to your passing?
  • Are there photos, special objects or animal companions you would want nearby? 
  • Are there particular flowers, candles, or scents you would want or not want in your room?
  • Would you prefer silence, or a particular poem or prayer read or piece of music played?

After Death Planning & Logistics 

  • How do you want your body handled after your death?
    • Do you want to donate your organs or participate in whole-body donation? Do you want to be buried or cremated, or have a green burial? Does your family know what you want?
  • Where do you want your body to be taken?
    • Do you have a preferred funeral home or mortuary? Would you prefer a home funeral?
  • If you will be buried, what are your burial/casket preferences? Do you have a burial plot? 
  • If cremated, where should your ashes be scattered or interned? 
  • Do you want/need a headstone/grave marker? Do you want to decide what’s inscribed on it? 
  • Who should be notified of your death? Make a contact list for your funeral or memorial notices.
  • Do you want to write your own obituary?
  • Do you want to identify a charity “in lieu of flowers”?

Ceremony Planning & Logistics

  • Do you want a ceremony of some kind, such as a funeral, wake, memorial service or celebration of life? 
  • Do you have religious practices, spiritual beliefs or cultural norms that will dictate the type of ceremony you will have?
  • Are you a member of a community that has funeral standards, such as the military or a motorcycle group?
  • Who do you want to deliver the eulogy? Are there several people that you would like to speak about you and your life? Consider asking them in advance.
  • Would you want loved ones to reminisce and share stories as if it were a celebration, or would you prefer a more solemn affair? 
  • Are there particular photos, special objects or animal companions you would want to be present? 
  • Are there particular flowers you would like? 
  • Is there a particular poem or prayer you want read, or piece of music you want played?
  • Do you want to prepay for funeral, burial or cremation expenses? It may be less expensive when done in advance. 

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