How can I convince my elderly 88-year-old father to help us to plan his end-of-life wishes?

Follow
Share
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
13

Answers

Show:
Dad turned 89 years old last weekend. I stopped talking about his funeral arrangements and anything else related to that. He thinks he's going to live forever so I'll just let him think that. When the time comes, we'll cremate him and scatter his ashes over my favorite fishing spot.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I had a family member who refused to discuss. Did he have a wife or sibling that he had to do funeral planning for? The choices that he had to make should give you an idea how to plan
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

This is a tough one. I never thought to ask my dad even though he was in his 80s. But my sister did. And it turned out he wanted to be buried and have a full service. We actually took him to the cemetery to pick out the plots together. The whole family bought plots together. I know death is a fact of life, but I didn't want to face it for my father or myself. Even at 88 years old maybe your father is not a person that even wants to think about it.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

you can start by talking about the death of another loved one. In my case my mother died. I knew she did not want to be buried but cremated. I also knew how much she loved the ocean so we spread her ashes out at sea. in the months following I would talk to my dad about how lovely moms service was ,, and how I wanted to be cremated too ,, how I wanted my ashes spread in the mountains ,, and then ever so slightly said to my father "you want to be buried right" ,, that opened it right up. he said no I don't think so anymore ,, I want to be cremated and his ashes spread where he proposed to my mom. so if you open it up by talking about another family's funeral services and what you yourself want ,, he might join in
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

It is not always appropriate to honor the person's wishes. My son says he wants his body left in the wilderness, for animals to eat. I told him that it is very good thing I am likely to die before he does and I won't be arranging his body's final disposition because I would not do that even if it were legal. I don't think you have to take the wish to be frozen very seriously.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

I think if he had any real preferences about it, he would have made them known already. It seems he would prefer not to think about it, which is understandable. That gives you the freedom to make whatever arrangements feel right to you. I would drop the subject with him and just go with that.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

I could never, ever, get my mother to discuss her funeral or whatever happened after she was gone.
We had talked so much over the years going to funerals together, talking about something that just changed in the Church, etc that I knew to keep it simple.
Why they can't discuss last wishes stuff like the funeral and service I will never know. I would just discussed with your family and make a decision.
We had a pre-paid funeral arrangement and that was the best decision my brother and I made. Everything was seamless.
Good luck but I wouldn't stress myself out over it- if he doesn't decide, you all will for him. Plain & Simple.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

jeannegibbs, thanks for the very thoughtful response. I will discuss it with the rest of my family to see what they can come up with and then create several plans. Dad has had mental illness for a long time and it's just manifested itself even more with the dementia. He complains about pretty much everything. I actually have a difficult time trying to figure out what he does and does not like. We will probably have a simple short service. As for burial or cremation, he seems to hate both (based on comments) so we shall see. He did make an interesting comment at one point about wanting to be frozen....to each their own! Thanks again!
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

You are a very considerate and compassionate person. You want to do the right thing one last time. But you have no clue what the right thing is, and poor demented Father can't tell you. There are some basics you can consider. Did he regularly attend church when he was able? If not, perhaps the event should not occur in a church. UNLESS that would be comforting to you. He has expressed the opinion that funerals are a waste of time and money. That might indicate cremation is suitable. But not if YOU are not keen on that concept.

You can't find out how to please him so why not please yourself?

What kind of an event do you want for him? You will be the chief mourner. Do you see yourself at a wake, greeting people, with the body on view? (Did he have a lot of friends, before he lost his filter?) And then in a church, sitting the reserved first pew? Going to the cemetery for the graveside service? Walk through that whole scenario. Is it comfortable? Would that make you feel that you have done the right thing as you can determine it?

Mentally try on other kinds of final events How would you feel with a simple service in the mortuary or other place of your choice? Can you see yourself mingling with the other people and accepting hugs before and after the service? Would you want to invite some or all of these people to your home for coffee and cookies after the service? Or maybe throw an elaborate party to celebrate Dad's freedom from pain?

Would a lot of flower arrangements comfort you? Or would you rather people make donations to dementia research?

I've been involved in planning 3 end-of-life events. The most recent was my mother's. After my father's memorial service she said,"This is what I want for myself," so that was helpful. We held it in a park she liked, and rented the pavilion. We set up scrapbooks and pictures of her through the years. We bought mostly potted plants and we gave them to the nursing home afterwards. Mother's favorite was African Violets, and she was the only one in the family who could grow them. Naturally we included a couple of baskets with violet pots nicely arranged. And food! Our family is known for food at every gathering and we did it up big. We included several of Mom's favorites.

We held the actual program outside, in a picnic shelter with a roof. We had a child's toy bubble maker and used it while playing Tiny Bubbles in the Wine (Mom was a big Lawrence Welk fan). Then her seven children sat in the front facing the guests and each of us shared memories that reflected Mom's personality. We opened it up to guests and several of my cousins shared a memory or spoke about what they particularly liked about Mom. We recited the Lord's Prayer.

Then it was time for food and fellowship. It was a nice Celebration of Life event. Mom would have absolutely loved the whole thing!

Do you cringe at the very thought of holding the event in a park? Would you be embarrassed to play Dad's favorite song? Does a party atmosphere seem disrespectful to you? Are there any elements in what I've described that appeal to you?

In that celebration 7 of us had to feel good about it. It was easier than you might think. You have only yourself to make the decisions, with input from your cousins. What would make YOU feel good about this final goodbye?

I wouldn't wait until he dies to have an overall scheme in mind. For example if you are going to display pictures you could select them at your leisure instead of scrambling to do it at the last moment.

And I am sure that whatever you do, in love, will be the right thing.
Helpful Answer (6)
Report

Thanks for your response. So that is the issue. We've tried to "best guess" what he would like, based on my prior experiences with him at funerals. I've taken him to a number of funerals over the past 10 years, ranging from very elaborate to very simple. He's had a criticism about every single one. He uses a lot of foul language and his filter is long gone. One funeral was a full church service and then graveside burial. My father had nothing nice to say from beginning to end and indicated that the whole thing was a f'ing waste of time and money and who cares about that b* (his older sister) who died anyway? And he says these things out loud for everyone to hear. I took him to a simple service, where my uncle was cremated. Again, he had nothing nice to say from beginning to end. Good lord.
My mother told me she would like to be cremated, to which my father said "good, then burn in h*ll!" Anyway, it may just be that I have to make this decision after he passes away. He's been in denial that he has dementia and is elderly. I am the only child but have lots of cousins. We are all trying to take care of him but he is my primary responsibility.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Related
Questions