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June is Seniors Month: Time to Celebrate Our Fantastic Seniors

June is Seniors Month.  A time to honor and celebrate the lives and contributions of the generations of Canadians that took care of their families, communities and country.  Yet for many seniors it can also be a lonely time.

The incredible wealth of knowledge and experience that seniors have is a treasure to capture. Spending time with a senior near you in the month of June can be an enormously rewarding experience for all of us.

Throughout the month of June, younger generations show their appreciation and thanks for the contribution Canadian seniors have made by honoring them in many different ways.  Special events, festivals, ceremonies, dinners, and teas are held for seniors as the guests of honour.  Youth groups, choirs, and scouting/guiding organizations often organize visits to senior’s facilities. Families can get together with their older loved ones and spend special time together remembering stories, family vacations, recalling older memories and making newer ones.

What do seniors want the most?  They want your time and attention, but mostly your presence.

Here are some suggestions to show your appreciation for a senior in your life:

  1. Take them to their favorite restaurant.
  2. Take them to a movie.
  3. Make a video of the senior’s lifetime. For example you may want to ask them how they met their spouse, their favorite holiday or family memory.  Then sit back and watch the glow in their face as they remember these times.
  4. Help them organize photos, closets, cupboards, etc.
  5. Volunteer time at a nursing home or long term care facility.
  6. Mend or fix something for them.
  7. Make a hot meal, deliver it in person, and share the meal with them.
  8. Prepare several different types of home meals and freeze them in containers for them to enjoy at a later time.
  9. Take a senior on an errand or help them around their home, mow the grass, weed the garden, wash their car.
  10. Bake cookies, or smaller treats and deliver them to seniors in your neighborhood.
  11. Help a senior with their correspondence, or buy greeting cards for them and help them address them.
  12. Take a senior with you to participate in special seniors events in your community.

For the younger generation, take the time to reach out and call your grandparents or great grandparents.  They will be thrilled and talk about you for days on end!  Go ahead, just 5 minutes of your time can make a difference.  The afterglow on their face for you taking as little time to say hello will remain with them for weeks.

How do you intend to celebrate the seniors in your life?  There are so many ways we can celebrate seniors in our family and community during the month of June.  Please share your experiences with me.

I would love to hear from you.  You can connect with me via email or telephone, leave a comment here on the site or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter too!

Kat

Katherine Downey is the #1 Funeral Preplanning Professional in Canada for the fourth time. She is a professional educator, author, licensed funeral director and insurance advisor. To set an appointment or have your questions answered, please contact Kat directly.

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Does Your Family Have an Emergency Preparedness Plan?

What would you do if you were one of the people in Fort McMurray who were told they only have 10 minutes to pack and that you have to leave everything behind right now?

Shocking, horrific, incomprehensible, and overwhelming for the 80,000 + people who had to do exactly this this past week after forest fires destroyed their homes and everything except what they could physically carry.

What would you decide take?  Where do you even start?

Have an Emergency Bag Packed at All Times

Even without the threat of an impending emergency, having an emergency bag packed and placed in one accessible location at all times is a great idea. Family members could pack their own bag, a bag that they can easily carry themselves, such as a backpack.  Consider having a family emergency plan, detailing where your packed emergency bag(s) is/are, where you would meet and how you would communicate or rendezvous to let each other know your status.   The Canadian Red Cross and the Federal Government website both suggest that your emergency bag have enough supplies to last for 3 days.

What to include in your Emergency Bag:

  1. Important papers or photocopies of these documents:
  • SIN card
  • Health Card
  • Passport
  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Personal Identification Card
  • Will
  • POA
  1. Cash, especially small bills, Debit and Credit cards
  2. Basic first aid kit including Band-Aids, disinfectant, small scissors, etc.
  3. Basic tools and equipment such as a shovel, bungee cords, tape, multi-function pocket knife, manual can-opener, whistle, string, etc.
  4. Battery or crank radio and flashlight
  5. Extra batteries
  6. Blanket or sleeping bag
  7. Personal items and comfortable clothing and shoes
  8. High-energy non-perishable food items such as power bars or dried foods
  9. Potable water stored in small containers; 2 liters per person per day

What Can You Do Now to Prepare for an Emergency?

  1. Prepare your emergency bag
  2. Place it in your readily accessible location
  3. Where applicable prepare a family emergency plan
  4. Have an In Case of Emergency ICE contact readily located on your phone or person (see below)
  5. The same should be done with a list of any allergies that members of your family have
  6. Update your contact list on your phone, virtually or on paper
  7. Keep your vehicle in top running condition with regular maintenance
  8. Keep your devices fully charged. You can even charge and store a “backup battery bank” to recharge your devices on the go

To help get your family emergency plan started, I invite you to contact me to receive a free In Case of Emergency ICE contact form.  Does your family have an emergency preparedness plan in place?  I would love to hear from you.  You can connect with me via email or telephone, leave a comment here on the site or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter too!

In the meantime our thoughts prayers and perhaps donations go out to our fellow Canadians in Alberta.

Kat

Katherine Downey is the #1 Funeral Preplanning Professional in Canada for the fourth time. She is a professional educator, author, licensed funeral director and insurance advisor. To set an appointment or have your questions answered, please contact Kat directly.

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What Happens to My Prepaid Funeral Plan If I Move?

I was asked this question three times this week; what happens to my prepaid funeral plan if I move?  And each time I gave the answer: when people set up a prepaid funeral plan the money within the plan is always the purchaser’s money.

The Canada Revenue Agency mandates that the funds within a prepaid funeral plan must be insured to $100,000.00 in the purchaser’s name.  These funds are also earning 2% tax exempt interest within the prepaid funeral plan.

The prepaid funeral plan is called an Eligible Funeral Arrangement (EFA) and this is only available via a licensed funeral home and a licensed funeral director.

As these funds are the purchaser’s funds, if the purchaser moves, these funds move with them.  Similarly if a person moves, their banking accounts, investments and other financial assets also move with them.

Changing the Assigned Funeral Home

When people move, the funds in the EFA are still their funds and the funeral home that the funds are assigned to is changed.  This is a very easy process.  All that is required is a letter from the purchaser asking that the EFA funds be reassigned to the desired funeral home.  There may be an administration fee to do this.  When people work with me, I have never charged this administration fee.

Review New Funeral Home Policies on Accepting Prepaid Funeral Plans

While the funds are easily transferred, there is a potential downside.  The reassignment of the EFA funds does not obligate the new funeral home to guarantee the future cost.  Having stated this, most funeral home are very willing to accept the prepaid funeral plan as this is a future funded funeral that is on their books.

It can be difficult to consider our own mortality, yet this is one certainty in life.  It is so much easier to solve this issue when we are alive, than to have your family thrown into having to plan a funeral when they are in emotional turmoil.

Do you have an EFA in place?  If you want to learn more or if you’re not sure what is important to have organized or how to do this than please click on the link below to purchase your PDF copy or hard copy of the Taking Care of Business – Executors Workbook to help you get started on being organized.  You can connect with me via email or telephone, leave a comment here on the site or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter too!

Until next time,

Kat

Katherine Downey is the #1 Funeral Preplanning Professional in Canada for the fourth time. She is a professional educator, author, licensed funeral director and insurance advisor. To set an appointment or have your questions answered, please contact Kat directly.

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What is Advance Care Planning and How Do You Choose Who Will Represent You?

Advance Care Planning is the process of deciding and documenting who is your voice and to what extent you want medical treatment in the event of your mental incapacity.

Many people have shared with me that their ideal way to die is to go to sleep and not wake up.  Certainly some people do die this way.  In reality however, many people will have a longer process involved in their future care before they die.

How do you set up an Advanced Care Plan? Read more

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What Happens to One’s Social Media & Digital Footprint When They Die?

Last year a colleague died suddenly and tragically.  It was a tremendous shock to the community and people showed up in droves to pay their respects.  Last week a request to endorse this person popped up on LinkedIn and I was immediately thrown right back to last year.  This left me thinking about what is the best way to handle a deceased person’s presence on social media?  What will happen to their social media accounts and digital footprint in general? Read more

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What Needs to Be Done When Someone Dies?

I had three calls this week from colleagues asking me to guide them through the process of what has to happen when a loved one dies.  Unfortunately in each case there was no preplanning nor had the families had any conversations about what type of funeral the deceased wanted.  Imagine their total bewilderment and shock at having to make important once in a life time decisions – all while they are in a state of total emotional overwhelm.

I think we could all agree that this is not the optimal state of mind to be in to have to make funeral decisions.  Especially when there are so many steps involved that haven’t been thought about.  To give you an idea of this comprehensive list, I have prepared a short list of just a few of the many steps involved in what needs to be done when someone dies. Read more

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The Unexpected Tax Incentive Canadians Don’t Necessarily Want to Think About

A coffin with a flower arrangement in a morgue

My article “The Unexpected Tax Incentive Canadians Don’t Necessarily Want to Think About” was recently published by Gail Johnson in Yahoo Finance Canada.  I would like to share this article with you here.

There’s a tax incentive that some Canadians are dying to get.

Income earned on contributions made to an “Eligible Funeral Arrangement” is allowed to grow tax-free under Canada’s Income Tax Act. Read more

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Do I need a Casket, a Container, a Coffin…?

funeral preplanning Mississauga Oakville

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Have you asked the question – do I need a casket, a container or a coffin? Did you know that when an individual wants to be cremated, buried or entombed, by law the body must be in a casket or container?

A coffin is rarely used in Ontario and differs from a casket. A coffin is 8 sided and usually made of wood (see right). It is more common to see coffins used in Europe rather than Canada.

For earth burial many people are familiar with the casket (pictured above) being lowered into the ground. A casket is a 6 sided container made of particle wood with a felt cloth covering, a mix of particle wood and solid woods, soft woods, hard woods or metal. The range in price of a casket can vary widely from $500.00 to over $10,000.00. Read more

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Taking Care of Business Executor Workbook – 2nd Edition

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At this time of year many of us turn our thoughts to holiday preparation. What will the menu be, how will I find the time to do all the shopping and how can we juggle our time to visit among various families? Then before we know it, all the preparations and festivities are over. Between Christmas and the New Year many of us take time to reflect on the holiday season and put thought into getting more organized for the coming year. In preparation for that reflective time, I am thrilled to announce the launch of the 2nd edition of Taking Care of Business – Executor’s Workbook! Read more

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Is that Really my Loved One’s Cremated Remains?

prepaid funerals Mississauga Oakville

A concern that people have shared with me is “How do I know that it is really my loved one’s cremated remains that I am getting back?” The answer to this is that our full circle of care of loved one’s cremated remains starts from the initial transfer and there is a very detailed and organized method of identifying your loved one.

When someone dies and they are to be cremated, the deceased is transferred from the place of death to the funeral home. At the place of death the identification of the deceased is checked before the body is transferred to the funeral home. Once the deceased is at the funeral home, a cremation application is filled out and signed by the Estate Trustee. Each cremation application has a unique number. This number identifies the deceased and the coroner that signed the cremation application. The Estate Trustee is given copies of these forms. Read more