‘A helpful primer for end of life planning’

words: Michael Fern, SAIFInsight Editor

This has been a year filled with anxieties around how we deal with grief and dying. As part of its funeral review, in October the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) was the latest in a long line of governmental bodies, professionals and charities to call for a change in how we think, talk and plan for death. The same month saw SAIF’s Terry Tennens tell SAIF Education Day delegates about the need for structured after-care.

A reluctance to deal with the realities of death is taking its toll emotionally, physically, and increasingly financially, and there are varied views on the impact this time of changing norms and personalised funerals is having on grieving people.

Funerals Your Way, written by funeral director and SAIFInsight contributor Sarah Jones, puts itself at the heart of those issues. Its response is a practical, methodical set of guidelines that break down the reality of funerals.

At around 200 short pages, the book describes itself as “a person-centred approach to planning a funeral”, and that focus on the individual is clear in each of its nine concise chapters. Each closes with a series of boxes prompting the reader to note down thoughts in response to simple questions like “Who are people who are significant to consider?”, or “Would you, or anyone else, like to deliver some or all of the service?”

Terry Tennens said: “If you’re looking for information on how to help families better personalise funerals, this great new book by Sarah Jones, of SAIF member Full Circle Funerals, is a clear, concise and extremely helpful primer in to thinking through all the decisions for end of life planning.

“This is extremely important, as one of the areas identified that worries the next of kin in making funeral arrangements is fulfilling what their loved one would have wanted. The book is a bestseller on Amazon.”

The book starts before any decisions have been made about the funeral at hand, ending with what happens after the funeral itself. No single section within the chapters goes beyond a few pages, but space is given where it is needed for more involved areas, including nine appendices which offer further depth on specific issues like costs, expatriation, and the impact of the digital age.

Funerals Your Way is a practical solution to the problems a funeral can pose, and beyond that it is the latest step as the profession and the culture at large move towards a more robust framework for talking about death and grief.

Find Funerals Your Way on Amazon.

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