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My mother, who lives with my husband and me, wants to be cremated with no service after her death. She is in good health for 100 years old with a great appetite. She is able to toilet and dress herself but does wear disposable underwear 24/7. Since she has made her wishes clear with a sound mind, would it be advisable to make arrangements prior to her death with a local crematorium? My husband and I cared for his parents for several years in our home. His mother passed away in her sleep in her own bed. When we found her unresponsive, we called 911; and it was overwhelming with the fire truck, ambulance, and police cars racing to our home with sirens blaring. Is there a way to deal with a death at home with less fanfare and more dignity?

Yes, do it now.    Even when you anticipate the loss, it's still emotionally challenging if not overwhelming, and often difficult to make decisions.   And there are always last minute issues to deal with.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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If you don’t want to have to call 911 and deal with first responders, see if you can get her on hospice. Otherwise, you’ll have to call 911 if she passes at home BUT you can ask for a silent approach. The EMTs & fire department here gladly honor that request and quietly pull up to the house.

Personally, having experienced an unexpected death, an expected death with arrangements prepaid and an expected death without expenses prepaid, i say YES if possible, take care of the funeral home/cremation fees before hand (where I live, the funeral home has a crematorium and they handle the cremation). You will have one less thing to stress over and worry about when the time comes. If you don’t have the money or access to your moms money, you’ll have a financial burden on your hands. My in-laws both went on hospice with a predicted few months to live. My MIL had the mortuary come out & she picked out what she wanted and & even bought her plot. All her kids had to do was go to the mortuary to schedule the services. My FIL did not make his arrangements or instruct his children to do it, he just said he wanted to be cremated so when he died, his children had to pick a mortuary to come get him and then go down there and deal with all the arrangements & the sales pitches and pay for it out of their own pockets because they could not access his bank account.
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Reply to worriedinCali
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kbaratelli Sep 9, 2019
Thank you. Your advice has been very helpful. I feel a sense of guilt making arrangements in advance, as it appears that I may be expecting my mom to pass away soon. I know what a circus it was when my MIL passed away at home with no prior arrangements, and I am just trying to prevent that scenario with my mom.
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Twenty years ago, my parents pre purchased their funerals. The money put into the plans collected interest. I get an annual statement in January. They wanted cremation, purchased a large plot to include a brother and sister. They even chose their own urns which are still manufactured.
This year my brother passed after a short illness. While he was in hospice and I had to travel, I made part of his arrangements for cremation, based on some of his wishes. This was in case he passed while I was gone. Everything worked out beautifully with little stress and with low residual costs. I have one more relative to deal with. I have kept a notebook with lists of what works and does not. I even collected a list of songs to recommend to the organist.
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Reply to MACinCT
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You are lucky to have your mom that long. I would give my soul to the devil if I could have mine in that condition. Mine is bedridden, total dead weight, cannot talk, and kept alive with a peg tube and she is 90 years old, and she has been an enormous physical, emotional and financial burden for the past 5 years. Mom cannot even sit up on her own. Nothing. She's still alive, but she's also gone. Everyday I miss her. Pre-planned funeral or cremation is the way to go. Not only will this save you a lot of money, but the funeral parlor won't gouge you taking advantage of your grief--preplanned is when a person is level headed. To wait until the loved one dies--they are a business and they will take advantage of grieving. In addition preplanned flat rate is locked in. Preplanned has cost savings--they will give you discounts.
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Reply to cetude
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Windyridge Sep 12, 2019
Excellent point about getting gouged by the funeral home shortly after the death of a family member. My younger sister and older brother both died suddenly about 3 years apart. Twice, I watched my poor, grieving, elderly mother write HUGE checks for elaborate funerals, coffins, limos, and the whole nutso package.

After my folks FINALLY moved to assited living I did a little on line research about funeral and burial state law and costs. I then called the same funeral home to arrange prepaid services and burials for my parents. The funeral director told me the cheapest casket availability was $2800 . I told him I’d get one on line and have it shipped to them. He double checked, turns out he had one for $900. And so it went. My folks had been quite clear about having the simplest services possible. I was able to pre arrange this for them at a reasonable price and at a time when I wasn’t grieving and trying to deal with a thousand other things.
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Are you aware of the POLST that you and your parents can make out with their doctor together. They amount to physician's orders and are hung on refrigerator or somewhere prominent for when the elder is alone, so that is EMS is called they will not do what the patient does not want done and will do what the patient does want done. For instance my own says NO to both CPR and intubation. If found gone I want no heroic measures. This can save some trauma as the 911 call would be that the patient has a POLST indicating no heroic measures (or otherwise)
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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Yes! It is wise! My sister did it for her dying husband, and years later did it for our dying mother. At first I thought it was ghoulish. I couldn't understand it. But when my mother died, overnight in her home, everything was already taken care of. We had to call hospice to come over and confirm her death, and they took care of calling the funeral home to come and take her for cremation. It took so much strain off us at a very chaotic time. I definitely recommend it.
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Reply to CarlaCB
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The one thing my folks did that really has helped was to pre-plan and pre-pay for their own funerals. People act like this is ghoulish ir something, but it's actually a great GIFT to your LO's. There is no fussing or questioning what they'd want. It's all there in black and white.

Daddy passed at home after being on Hospice for several months. It was a quiet, family event that was actually very sweet and spiritual. We did not call the mortuary for a few hours, wanting to spend a few hours reminiscing, praying and being together as a family.

A day later, we kids went with mother to the cemetery where we gave them dad's clothing, the obituary and chose flowers. We were done and done in under 2 hrs. Mother was able to be calm and at peace.

My FIL died leaving NO instructions whatsoever and it was a hot nightmare from start to finish. I was the only sane one in the bunch and that's saying something.

GUILT overcame the 3 kids and they overspent by thousands and thousands of dollars on things that FIL wouldn't have wanted.

In the end, same result, we had a funeral and all--but my dad's was so peaceful and lovely and FIL's just makes me sad to think about to this day.

I'm pre planned for everything. DH won't do it, assuming he'll go first. Grrrr….
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jacobsonbob Sep 12, 2019
My maternal grandfather was about 11 1/2 years older than my maternal grandmother. However, my grandmother died at age 72 1/2 but my grandfather died about 6 years later just before his 89th birthday. (Maybe you can show this to your husband so he can see that things don't always go "as expected".)
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If a person is on hospice there is no need for fire truck, ambulance, or police cars coming to the scene since the death is expected and hospice handles calling the funeral home you have picked out.Hospice staff is trained to handle most all of this. They prepared my mom for when the funeral staff came to pick her up. I just had to tell the funeral home about my mom's wishes to be cremated at the time, and what she wanted. It was an easy process because she wanted no funeral or calling hours. Some people make arrangements before they pass away with the funeral home of their choice. When a death is sudden with no hospice involved, there will be police and rescue vehicles etc. at the home.
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Reply to Katie22
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Get hospice. Seriously. They can help with health issues and comfort in the last stages and there is no congregation of authorities concerned with foul play when the loved one dies.
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Reply to Betsysue2002
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Great question, great responses.

Never too late to plan for funeral for yourself or loved ones. I agree with many posters that once in hospice, you do not need to call the police. The hospice staff will take care of certification that your loved one died from natural causes or an illness, not foul play. My dad died at home last year in his bed while in hospice care. No police, ambulance, firetrucks, drama, embarrassment ... (My sister made a huge drama about the funeral service though, but that’s another topic.)

If hospice is not in the care plan, the police needs to be contacted for them to certify there no homicide had occurred. It is the law, so you cannot get around that.

I am glad to hear you MIL is still mostly independent and lucid. I wish my husband is like that.
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