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community outreach, pre-need funeral services

Today, August 21, was designated by President Ronald Reagan as National Senior Citizens Day, a day on which we support and honor the senior citizens in our lives, celebrate their achievements, and recognize the valuable contributions they have made to better our communities.

Seniors have paved the path for where are today, so while we should celebrate them every day, today in particular is a day to remind us to take pause and show appreciation for the wisdom and storied lives of this generation.

Funeral homes cater to this market every day, helping them plan services for loved ones and pre-plan for their own futures. In addition to your normal services and offerings, here are a few ways you can go above and beyond to offer support and guidance for the senior citizens in our communities and help them leave a legacy for the ones they love.

 

              1. Host Lunch and Learns

                Pre-planning one’s funeral can play an integral role in leaving a legacy as it allows you to think about how you want to be memorialized. Lunch-and-learns make for great intimate gatherings where funeral directors can more informally discuss with families one of the primary purposes of preneed:  ensuring they or their loved ones are memorialized in a meaningful way and helping all loved ones pave a positive legacy to leave behind for their children and grandchildren. These events also provide the opportunity for families to ask questions about pre-planning and have all of their concerns addressed, a format they will likely appreciate . By offering a light lunch (or an array of snacks), you create a warm and inviting environment that will make families feel comfortable and more open.

              2. Make a night (or day) of it with Memories-focused seminars

                Put on seminars that show the power and meaning of memories through an evening filled with . . . memories! We have been doing this at PFP for over 15 years, and they consistently garner positive reviews and an overall appreciation for the tone of the event. The seminar, instead of focusing on the sometimes morbid details of planning a funeral, focuses on the importance of being remembered. With a slideshow consisting of pictures of childhood games, old advertisements, and life milestones, attendees take a nostalgic walk down memory lane and are reminded first-hand of the power of memories and the importance of passing them on so they are never forgotten.

                To complement the event, you can also provide tools, such as booklets or guides, to help families record and share their stories with loved ones.

              3. Invite Families to Photo-Scanning Events at your Funeral Home

                These events take the seminars one step further. Once you educate families about the importance of preserving their memories and photos, invite them to your funeral home to do just that.

                There are countless services on the market today that provide the ability to scan photos and create a digital album as well as a physical one that can forever sit on their coffee table for their family and friends to enjoy. Offer refreshments and create an enjoyable atmosphere as you help families upload their photos, relive old memories, and create keepsakes that they and their families can enjoy for years to come.

              4. Listen to their stories.

                When planning a service for their loved one, let them talk about what made that person special. The stories and the memories allow that person to live forever, so they should be heard and shared. Allow these stories to become a focal point of the service, and encourage others to share their own personal stories about what they remember most about the deceased. This story-telling aspect of the service will not only bring comfort to the family, it will also give added meaning to the life that was lost and will now live on in the memories of those who listen.

              The Senior Citizens in our communities have witnessed a lot in their lifetime. We can learn a lot from them if we just stop and listen to what they have to say. Their stories are funny, moving, heartbreaking, inspiring, and so interesting considering how much things have changed over the past 65+ years.

              Their stories and wisdom shouldn’t be buried alongside with them when that time comes, which makes it so important now to capture and preserve these stories for generations to come. Funeral directors can play an instrumental role in helping these stories be heard and shared, so they continue to last. After all, a legacy only lasts as long as its remembered.