A Guide For The First 24 Hours
No matter if a death is sudden, or if it something that was a long time coming, the loss of a loved one makes us feel emotional and overwhelmed. No amount of preparation can fully prepare you for the loss of a loved one. When you are in a heightened emotional state, even the most basic decisions can seem staggering. The following is a rough guideline of what needs to be done within the first 24 hours after death.
When death occurs at home, a place of business, or elsewhere in the community
If the person was not under palliative care, the police will have to be notified immediately. The police will contact the medical examiner. From there, the medical examiner will take the body and determine whether further action is necessary. The family may contact Bear Creek Funeral Home immediately to ease the burden of communication and begin making arrangements for the care of their loved one.
When a death occurs at a hospital/nursing home/hospice facility
The staff of a care facility such as a hospital or a nursing home will notify you and the necessary authorities immediately after a death has occurred. The family then contacts Bear Creek Funeral Home to bring your loved one into our care and to make the necessary arrangements. We offer the option of coming directly to the hospital room so that you may be with your loved one and (if you desire) participate in the transfer to our care.
Meeting with your Funeral Director
You should meet with a funeral director within 24 hours of a death to begin to make final arrangements for your loved one. Deciding on these final arrangements may seem like a very daunting task, especially when you are in a heightened emotional state, but, funeral home staff have years of experience dealing with these issues, and strive to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible.
Funeral directors are here to help you obtain a death certificate, transport the body, and in the event pre-planning was not done, select a casket/urn and arrange the funeral/memorial service. The funeral director will also help you notify the employer and insurance company of the deceased to assist with those arrangements. Funeral directors are here to help and advise you and will work very hard to relieve the stress and logistics involved in funeral planning.
First the Funeral Director will gather information required for the death certificate. This includes:
- Full Name and Address
- Legal Marital Status
- Date and City of Birth
- Father’s Name, Mother’s Name (including maiden name)
- Places of birth of Father and Mother
- Name of Spouse (if married, widowed, or divorced)
- Occupation and Employer
- Social Insurance Number
- Health Care Number
- Driver’s Licence Number
If no pre-planning has been done, necessary arrangements need to be made for the funeral service. These include:
- Scheduling the location, date and time of the visitation and funeral service
- Selecting burial or cremation
- Choosing Funeral Products
- Arranging a cemetery plot
- Preparing an obituary notice
A funeral director will guide you through all these steps, using your wants, needs and desires as a foundation to create a memorable funeral for your loved one. From here the funeral services can be personalized. Did your loved one have a favourite sports team? What was their favourite type of music? What activity was your loved one known best for? Recalling fond memories assists with the grieving process and will help honour the life of your loved one.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a funeral?
A funeral is a ceremony for a deceased person prior to burial or cremation. A funeral gives the opportunity for family and friends of the deceased to gather and mourn the passing of their loved one, to share cherished memories and celebrate their life. A funeral is a vital first step to help the bereaved heal after the loss of someone special.
What type of service should I have?
If no pre-arrangements have been made, the type of service is entirely up to you. Services are usually held at a funeral home, community hall, or a place of worship. There is a wealth of different services, ranging from a traditional religious or military service to something a little more non-traditional. Our funeral directors are more than happy to work with you to figure out what would be the most appropriate.
Who are Funeral Directors and what do they do?
Funeral directors are in charge of all the logistics following a death. They complete all the necessary paperwork, make arrangements for the transportation of the body, and put into action the choices made by the family in regards to the funeral service and the final resting place of the body. Beyond the logistics, funeral directors are there to provide moral support and guidance for someone coping with death.
What if a death occurs away from my home town?
We are here to help, we can arrange to have your loved one transported home from anywhere in the world. We will assume responsibility and make the proper arrangements to have them returned to the community. We use the same organization that brings our military home when needed.
What is embalming and what purpose does it serve?
Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body; it also slows down the decomposition process and enhances the appearance of the body damaged by traumatic death or illness. Embalming gives time to the family of the deceased to arrange a service, and allows the family the option of having an open-casket viewing.
What do I do if I am not satisfied with the way a funeral was handled?
Funeral homes and funeral professionals in Alberta are licensed by the Alberta Funeral Services Regulatory Board. If you are unhappy with the way a funeral was handled or the actions of a funeral home in Alberta, you may speak with or proceed with a complaint process to seek resolution of the matter. More information is found at http://www.afsrb.ab.ca/ or by phone at (780) 452-6130
How much does a funeral cost?
The cost of the funeral varies depending on the wishes you have. The average cost of a funeral is between $5,000-$7,000, however, it varies greatly depending on the kind of service you desire. In general, cremation tends to cost less than burial. The costs include professional services including transportation, embalming and other preparations, the use of a facility for the ceremony, and the purchase of a casket or urn.
Can I personalize a funeral?
Of course you can, in fact, more and more people are opting for a more non-traditional personalized service. There is no right or wrong way to celebrate somebody’s life. There are many unique ways to celebrate life, let the funeral director know exactly what your desires are and they will honour your wishes.
Do we need to have an obituary notice and what is included in one?
It is highly recommended to have an obituary notice that’s either placed in a local newspaper or placed online. An obituary lets the public know that a death has occurred, and gives them information about the service. Obituaries generally include the deceased’s full name, age, city, and date of birth and the city they were living in when they died. It also includes the name of the deceased’s spouse, along with the names of anyone else significant in their lives, such as parents, children or grandchildren. Space may be limited in a newspaper obituary, but you may include a little blurb on the life and legacy of the deceased. An online obituary or memorial website offers you the chance to add a lot more about the deceased.
What happens if the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?
We are here to help, funeral directors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.
Do I need to have an embalming
No, embalming is often an unnecessary expense, even if a viewing is desired. There are times when we would recommend embalming, especially if there is an extended gap between death and burial or cremation.
Why are funerals so expensive?
Funerals are labor intensive and require a lot of work from a lot of people. The cost of a funeral goes beyond merchandise such as caskets, it includes the services of a funeral director in making the necessary arrangements, filling out forms, and dealing with all the other people involved in the death (doctors, lawyers, insurance companies). Funeral directors work an average of 40 hours per funeral. The cost of operating a funeral home is factored into the cost as well. Funeral homes are a 24 hour operation, with extensive facilities that need to be maintained and secured.