The cost of dying

Local News

The cost of dying can bring both financial and emotional stress. To lessen the burden, experts advise families to seek the support of hospice in the final days an to pre-plan the funeral.
Faith has carried Janice Via through the ups and downs that come with 86 years of life.  After refusing chemotherapy, Via became a hospice patient. While the word, hospice, can stir up anxiety and stress, she says it has brought her comfort.

“I think the closer you get to the end of your life, you are more grateful for everything you’ve ever had to experience – good or bad.  And your extremely grateful for the people in your life, and your family,  and many of those friends who have gone on too. To me, it just makes me more grateful for everything that I have ever gone through,” says Via.

Amanda Stephens, the Director of Social Work at Gentle Shepherd Hospice works with Janice and her family to offer support and guide them through this final chapter of Via’s life.

“There’s a rollercoaster of emotions that go along with becoming a hospice patient, and having someone in your family become a hospice patient. My role is to help them say goodbye. It’s one of the greatest things you can do with someone, but also the hardest things,” says Stephens.

Stephens adds, “Hospice is a Medicaid, Medicare benefit. There are also private insurances that have hospice policies. No one ever pays out of pocket for our services.”

With no burden of medical bills, Janice also took care of her own funeral, saying “I think the good Lord prepared me for it. I just wanted to have it done. I was thinking more about my kids not having to deal with it.”

Her son, Rick Via says, “To know the financial side of it will not be a burden, lifts a lot of weight off your heart and your mind.”

The decision to pre-plan a funeral is one Allen Simpson, the owner and funeral director at Simpson Funeral Home and Crematory, advises anyone to do.

“They can take care of all the arrangements. The selections as far as merchandise, even down to the photograph for the newspaper obituary. That takes the burden off the family,” says Simpson.

He says average funeral costs range from $7,000 to $10,000, adding “What other industry can you buy goods and services at today’s price and have them delivered into an unknown future date?  There is none.”

If you decide to pre-plan your funeral, the Federal Trade Commission offers advice on how to make the best decisions, including a very important fact that you need to make sure you tell family you already paid for your funeral and where they can find the paperwork.

With the support of hospice and funeral expenses already paid, the Via family plans to cherish what days they have together and live life to the fullest.

Janice says she wants to “spend as much time with my family as I can. Let them know how much I love them.”

Her son Rick adds, “This is the most special time. Just to know we can be together. These are extended days, not a single one of us have the promise of tomorrow.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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