There’s a perception that end-of-life costs are higher in the United States than in other countries. But while end-of-life care and funeral arrangements are expensive here, they are comparable to Europe and Canada. Without careful planning, however, these costs can still be a burden on families.
Fortunately, it’s possible to be proactive and cut costs.
- Don’t avoid talking about death. It can be a difficult topic, but death is something families should discuss. If your family is well informed about your wishes and kept abreast of important information and where it’s stored, they’ll be better able to manage your end-of-life arrangements, saving time and possibly money. If you take the next step by preplanning well in advance, you can knock down costs by locking in today’s prices for a future need.
- Talk about what would happen in case of illness or accident before it happens — and prepare an advance directive. When your loved ones know when you would want to let go, they can make better-informed decisions. Medical care is expensive, so make sure they know if there are measures that should be taken to extend your life.
- Ask questions of your loved one’s doctor. Sometimes, families can be overly optimistic about costly treatments that they think will prolong a loved one’s life. If you are caring for someone who is ill, ask the physician to tell you the truth of what you and your family are facing.
- Talk to others who have been down this road. People who have been through what you’re going through now may be able to answer some of your tough questions. Which interventions are helpful, and which are not worth the cost and the trauma? It depends on the illness and condition of the person at the end of his or her life. CPR, for instance, is a life-saving measure, but it can also cause blunt-force trauma in elderly patients — and studies have shown that only 6% of cancer patients who receive CPR recover enough to leave the hospital.
- Don’t be afraid to shop around for palliative care. Some palliative care and hospice services are covered through Medicare. Others can be quite expensive. Be an informed consumer, and thoroughly research your options before making a commitment.
At Evergreen, we understand the importance of making good end-of-life decisions. Call 520.257.4831 to learn more about all we have to offer.
When you think of funeral music, what comes to mind? It may be hymns and other traditional pieces, but it doesn’t have to be. Some religious services require that song choices be specified, but in most cases, you can choose whatever moves you.
You can also choose interesting instrumentals. Just as song choice is typically fluid, there are many options for musical performers at a funeral, including:
- Harp: Harp music has an ethereal, serene quality that makes it a soothing and comforting choice for a funeral. This ancient instrument is well suited to classical music, religious music, or anything that’s peaceful and calming.
- Strings: Classical music, whether played by a string trio, a quartet or a chamber ensemble, can be very comforting and peaceful. It can also be stirring to elevate the mood.
- Bagpipes: Bagpipes have long been a traditional funeral option for dignitaries and first responders. The music is unusual and the mournful, haunting sound is well suited to a funeral.
At Evergreen, we offer various musical options including bagpipes, a string trio, and a harpist to help create meaningful, life-honoring ceremonies. You can also choose special music for a loved one’s funeral or preplan for your own future needs so that the music you love will be featured. Choosing your own music, readings, speakers, displayed mementos and special services will help reflect your personality and the life you’ve lived.
At Evergreen, we understand the importance of end-of-life arrangements because we’ve been helping families make them for more than 40 years. Serving families has always been our focus, and we take pride in guiding them through a difficult time in their lives.
Call 520.257.4831 to talk about preplanning and inquire about our Signature Services℠.
Genealogical research is becoming a popular activity, with more people than ever trying to uncover their families’ histories. There are a host of websites that allow for searching records of gravesites, birth certificates, marriage licenses, divorce decrees, death certificates, and other documents.
In fact, just by spitting into a tube, you can send away your DNA to have it analyzed for the purpose of learning about familial ties and uncovering personal history.
If personal and community history interest you, a cemetery is an interesting place to search. It all starts with a death certificate, which can be found with a bit of online research. The death certificate can lead you to the cemetery, where you may be able to use a map to locate the gravesites you seek. Once you know where to look, it’s time to explore.
What should you take along on this expedition?
Have a camera to document what you find. It’s also a good idea to bring a notebook and a pen. That way, you can write down the information, because sometimes headstones that are legible in person are often difficult to read in a photograph.
A pair of gloves is useful. Sturdy work gloves will help you delicately clear away any rubble or debris that could prevent you from closely examining the headstones.
Wear long pants. You don’t know whether you’ll have to trek through high grass, which can be a welcoming environment for snakes, rodents, and insects. Long pants and long sleeves are often your best bet for protection against whatever you encounter.
Sturdy shoes are a must. Terrain can be uneven in a cemetery, so make sure your shoes are good for walking on gravel, in the grass, and on any other surface.
Bring a damp cloth and a plastic brush in case the headstones need cleaning. Don’t use any cleaning products or even things like baby powder or shaving cream because they can damage older stones. Instead, just use a plastic brush and a damp cloth. Another valuable tool is a small paintbrush, which will help you brush dirt from delicate surfaces without causing any harm.
If you believe a loved one is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, we’re happy to have you look around. We’ve been here since 1907, and our property is the chosen final resting place for many notable former residents of Tucson. What’s more, our beautifully maintained property makes it easy to find what you seek. If you’re interested in learning more about Evergreen Mortuary, Cemetery & Crematory, we’d love to have you come to visit. Call (520) 257-4831 or pop by to take a look.
Are you responsible for the upkeep of a loved one’s grave? Most cemeteries have groundskeepers, but they’re often only responsible for mowing and repairs. In that case, any flowering plants or beautification of an individual gravesite is up to family members or volunteers. Even if the cemetery is well maintained, it doesn’t hurt to beautify a loved one’s final resting place.
It’s important to check with the cemetery regarding rules, but it’s often possible to plant flowers on the grave. There may be restrictions on what you’re allowed to plant, as well as rules about maintenance, but if you get clearance, many types of flowers are a good fit for a gravesite.
Geraniums are a good choice because they’re bright and cheerful. Hardy and easy to maintain, they are available in a wide selection of colors. To keep them blooming, clip the spent flower heads. If the gravesite is in a warm climate, be aware that the geraniums might grow large and obscure the headstone.
Chrysanthemums require minimal maintenance and tend to be cold-hardy. They can be left in the ground, and they’ll return the next growing season; the primary maintenance required is deadheading blossoms and cutting back plant stems at the end of the season. Bonus: there are many types of chrysanthemums, so you can plant different ones and have blooms year-round.
Roses are beautiful but require some work. Most cemeteries will allow the planting of roses on a gravesite because maintenance workers can easily work around them. However, the workers generally won’t prune roses, so if you plant one, make sure you have time in your schedule to come back and tend it.
Wildflowers can be an easy way to add color. One of the benefits of wildflowers is that they reseed and bloom yearly, but it should be noted that some flowers that aren’t considered wildflowers will do the same thing. Annuals such as marigolds, salvia, zinnias and cosmos will come back each year for many years.
Daylilies are a good option because they don’t require much care. They’re very prolific growers, so unless you want them to spread over a large area, it’s best to have a border to contain them.
Low-spreading flowers that can handle frequent mowing are a great choice. Flowering rhyme, Roman chamomile, and some varieties of ajuga are colorful seasonal ground cover that will survive not only mowing but also foot traffic.
The peaceful grounds of Evergreen Cemetery were established in 1907 to serve the rapidly expanding Tucson community. Today, this beautiful setting for your loved one’s final resting place is a touchpoint for future generations to reflect and remember. Call to learn more about us, or visit the About Us page to schedule a tour.
At a funeral or memorial ceremony, the guestbook is an important record of the day. It lets you look back and see who was there on this significant occasion, gives guests a small way to participate in the ceremony, and creates a memento for your family to treasure. It doesn’t have to be a book, and with some creative thinking, you can make it into a meaningful keepsake.
There are a wealth of artistic ways to make a guestbook:
Create a tree of life. You can find templates for a trunk with branches, and guests will sign their names on leaves that they then glue to the tree. This creates a unique memento that can be framed or kept in a scrapbook.
Frame hearts in a shadowbox. Have each guest sign a wooden heart, which you’ll later mount inside a shadowbox.
Allow guests to sign the mat around a photo. A cherished photo of your loved one becomes a memorial keepsake when surrounded by the signatures of friends and family.
A thumbprint guestbook can be unique and colorful. Provide a piece of paper, perhaps with an image on it, and have guests embellish it with their finger or thumbprints. The image might be a tree trunk with branches, strings in need of balloons, or a garden of stemless flowers. Using colored stamp pads, the guests complete the picture, which can then be framed.
Birch tags have a striking look. Once signed, they can be hung on a simple memorial tree.
Wishing rocks can be kept in a bowl or used in a flower or garden. If you’re going to be using them outside or in water, make sure they are signed with the right kind of weatherproof paint.
Memorial quilt squares make a long-lasting keepsake. If quilting is a hobby for you or another family member, the funeral or memorial service is a wonderful place to collect squares. In addition to a signature, guests can embellish fabric scraps with warm sentiments or brief memories.
Creating the perfect guestbook to fit the personality of the person being honored is just one more way to customize a funeral to celebrate the life that was lived.
At Evergreen, we believe in designing ceremonies as unique as your life. We’ll make suggestions to enhance the tribute ideas you already have so that together we can make the event truly memorable. Call us at 520.257.4831 for more information, or visit our Honoring Life page for ideas about what’s possible.
When a soldier dies in combat, he or she must be transported back home to the grieving family. Have you ever wondered who cares for the bodies of these brave men and women in our nation’s service?
Since 2009, journalists have been permitted a glimpse inside the Dover Port Mortuary on Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. The reports they’ve given paint a picture of tender care and solemn honor, as service members undertake the task of preparing their compatriots for their final journey home.
For veterans killed in the line of duty, that journey begins on a cargo flight to Dover. Upon landing, the plane is met by military officials and, often, family members. White-gloved service members solemnly carry the flag-draped casket to the 72,000-square-foot building housing the mortuary, where fallen troops are carefully attended by members of the armed forces dedicated to providing respectful care.
After an autopsy is performed by the armed forces medical examiner, mortuary staff members begin their work.
Embalming comes first. Then the body is washed, with special attention to cleaning the hands and hair. Repairs to the body are made, and embalmers use photographs of the person to try to recreate each distinguishing line and feature. When the body is ready, it’s time for staff to dress the service member one final time.
This is the part of the process that is most indicative of the veteran’s time in service. A dress uniform is prepared for each fallen service member, even if that person is going to be cremated or the service will have a closed casket. Even if the uniform can only be placed on top of the person’s remains, it must be perfectly prepared.
The men and women who dress service members at this time do it for the families, but also out of a deep and solemn respect for the men and women who have sacrificed their lives for our nation.
They carefully choose medals, badges, ribbons and other insignia specific to the person’s military service record, taking care to assemble them properly on the uniform.
Once the uniform is complete, a photo is taken and sent to Fort Knox, so that personnel there can double check to make sure that it’s perfect. No misplaced medal or loose thread is allowed to mar the look of the uniform that will be the last outfit the family sees on their loved one. Once it’s perfect, it’s deemed suitable for someone who, through the ultimate personal sacrifice, has earned the respect, honor and appreciation of our entire nation.
At Evergreen Mortuary, Cemetery, & Crematory, we also provide tender, respectful care to every person whose care is placed in our hands. For veterans, we strive to provide honorable and dignified arrangements and offer special services to truly honor the men and women who have given so much to protect the freedoms that all Americans hold dear.
Call us at 520.257.4831 for more information, or visit the Veterans Services page of our website.
It’s easy to find yourself getting bogged down in everyday affairs. When you do that, however, your family (especially aging parents) may feel they’re missing out on time with you. If your parent or loved one is getting on in years, you might want to take time out to do something meaningful together. It’s a good way to make family members feel loved, and building those special memories is good for you, too.
Most people have a bucket list, even if it’s never been shared with anyone. Ask questions so you can find out what your loved one would really like to do with you that they haven’t done yet. Here are a few ideas:
Travel! What’s a place your loved one has never been to but wants to visit? Europe? Australia? Alaska? Maybe you could take a cruise together or go on a tour. If you want to do something unusual, you could even make it your goal to visit the Wonders of the World.
Learn a new language. Whether you take a class, buy a set of CDs, or try an online course, the fun thing about learning a new language together is that you get to practice speaking it to each other. If you’re competitive, challenge each other to see who can master something like a song or a poem first.
Write a memoir. People who have lived for a long time have interesting stories to tell. Help your loved one put these stories on paper, even if it’s just for you and your family. It doesn’t have to be a bestseller — or even published — to be a valuable record of your family history.
Go whale watching. Whale watching is a thrilling way to experience nature. There are many other fun ways to observe animals in their natural habitat, as well, whether you’re looking for dolphins, going on a photo safari tour, visiting a wildlife sanctuary or bird watching.
Try new foods. Today, we have a host of foods from around the globe, readily available in our neighborhoods. Often, older people don’t try these unfamiliar foods, either because they’re nervous about something unknown or because they’re set in their ways. Introducing your parent or loved one to one of your favorites can be rewarding and fun. Maybe it will even become a shared favorite.
Learn a new skill such as crocheting or painting. Learning something new together is a wonderful way to build memories while developing a new skill. Look for classes at your local library or community center.
Support a charity. You may already donate to charity, but participating in a hands-on way can be an enriching experience. Help at a local soup kitchen, food pantry, charity thrift store or animal shelter, and you’ll be helping others as you bond with your loved one.
We hope these suggestions spark your imagination and inspire you to create a list of your own. While you’re checking things off the list, don’t forget preplanning. Call Evergreen at 520.257.4831 or visit our Plan Ahead page to request your free preplanning guide
The 4 th of July is a wonderful day of celebration when friends and family gather to commemorate the birth of our nation. Backyard barbecues and picnics, parades and concerts, and other festive events dominate the occasion. No 4 th of July celebration, however, is truly complete unless we stop to recognize the people who have sacrificed for our freedom: our veterans.
This year during your celebration, set aside some time to honor veterans. Whether you have members of the military in your family, want to instill in your children a healthy respect for military service, or simply love our country, it’s important to find ways to support those who sacrifice so much to protect our freedoms. Here, we offer some suggestions of thoughtful ways to show your appreciation.
- Take your kids to the final resting place of a relative who served in the military . You can take a flower arrangement, wreath, or flag with you, to decorate your loved one’s resting place. Telling children stories of family members who served our country can give them a sense of connection that they’ll carry into adulthood.
- Invite a military family to your celebration. Military families serve alongside their service members, sacrificing precious family time that most of us take for granted. They are willing to set aside plans they may have had, in order to support their family member in service of our country. On holidays like 4 th of July, take the opportunity to reach out and see how you can support these families and show your appreciation.
- Visit a retired vet. VA hospitals and veterans’ homes often have lonely residents who would enjoy a visit from someone who appreciates their service. If you’re involved with a scouting troop or youth group, it can be a nice gesture to plan an outing to sing to or otherwise interact with retired veterans. By the same token, simply sitting with a vet and listening to stories can be rewarding to you both.
- Donate to a veteran’s charity . You can donate money or goods, but it can be even more meaningful to donate time. Giving a day to work with or for veterans can enrich your life as well as theirs.
- Be courteous about fireworks: many vets suffer from PTSD. As we remember veterans on the 4 th of July, it’s important to remember that many of them have been through significant trauma. Fireworks may seem celebratory to you, but to many vets they are stressful. Show compassion when planning your celebration, and respect the concerns of others.
At Evergreen Cemetery, Mortuary & Crematory, we believe in honoring veterans. That’s why we provide honorable and dignified arrangements for veterans, along with many other veterans’ services. Call 520.257.4831 to learn more, or visit the Veterans Services page on our website.
An end-of-life ceremony should be personalized to honor the life that was lived and the person who lived it. If you’re planning a service, make it your goal to create an event that will live on in the memory of each person in attendance, as a beautiful tribute that captured the essence of the person who has died. This helpful infographic from Evergreen Memorial explains how Signature Services can enhance your funeral or memorial service.
Whether you’re preplanning or you have an immediate need, Evergreen can help. Committed to serving our community, we’ve built a reputation for quality sincerity and trust. For more information call 520.257.4831 or visit our website for more information.
Sue Ryder, a UK charity that cares for people with life-threatening illnesses, is big on talking about death. They want to break the taboos. They want to open up a conversation. They want us to change how we think and talk about it.
Death is certainly inevitable, but we’ve distanced ourselves from it. According to the folks Sue Ryder, we look at death as something to be avoided or postponed as long as possible.
When a loved one dies, many people are reluctant to hold a visitation or even a funeral, preferring to gloss over the death in an attempt to remain unscathed. This doesn’t work, though, because we need to face what has happened before we’re able to heal. Our fear of death is also stifling some very meaningful and important conversations.
Sue Ryder is urging people to talk to their loved ones about death before it’s imminent. This is not as scary as it sounds: Just ask questions about end-of-life arrangements, and ask what sort of funeral your loved one would like. Talk about the things you and your loved one want to accomplish while you’re still alive, and discuss where each of you would like to spend your final days.
You might be surprised at the insight you gain into the mind of a person you’ve known for a long time, and you might find that the conversation draws you closer together.
When we talk openly about death, it takes away some of its power to scare us. The discussion can lead to other important topics, such as whether your loved one has a will and how he or she feels about medical intervention. Talking about death helps ensure people get the support they need when they are facing the end of their lives — and being unafraid to discuss death makes you more likely to live in the moment and appreciate life.
While you’re having this discussion with your loved ones, consider preplanning for your funeral. Preplanning removes the guesswork and relieves family members of stress during an already difficult time. At Evergreen Mortuary, our preplanning advisors are well versed in helping people create services that promote healing and honor the life that was lived. Call us at 520.257.4831 to learn more about preplanning, or visit our website to request your free preplanning guide.