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|Posted by Memorial Planning Svcs on June 4, 2012 at 12:10 AM||comments (0)|
Many people ask us about the costs to expect with a funeral, but they often forget that cemetery expenses are in addition to and separate from services you pay a funeral home or crematory to perform. Buying burial rights at a cemetery can be a complicated and costly process, and cemeteries aren’t sufficiently regulated in most states. While the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule entitles you to printed price lists, truthful disclosures, and the right to buy only what you want from the mortuary, this rule doesn’t cover cemeteries. A few states offer cemetery customers those protections at the state level, but most don’t. It’s important to know exactly what you’re buying, and how to negotiate for it, before you’re in the grave.
Our website also provides a section where our visitors and members advertise their burial plots for sale.click here to visit this section
Right of Interment—What most people would call “the grave.” When you “buy a grave,” you haven’t actually bought a piece of property like the land your house sits on. You’ve bought the right to be buried in a particular space (whether that’s a full-body grave, a small space for ashes, or a slot in a mausoleum).
Opening/Closing— The charges to dig the grave and fill it back in once the casket or urn is placed. If you entomb the casket or urn in a mausoleum space, this charge also applies. Opening/closing charges are usually not included in the cost of the right of interment. That means if you “bought a grave,” even many years ago, you or your survivors will likely have to pay an additional opening/closing fee.
Vault— Also known as an “outer burial container” or “grave-liner” these are boxes for your box. Made of concrete, steel or lightweight fiberglass-type materials, they are placed in the grave with the casket inside. While there are no laws in any state that require them, many cemeteries do. They’re designed to prevent the ground from sinking as the casket deteriorates over time, making it easier to mow the grass with heavy equipment. The funeral director or cemetery staff will usually order the vault and arrange for the vault company to install it for the burial. The installation cost may be included in the retail price of the vault, but sometimes it’s separate, and $200 is not uncommon. No casket, vault or container of any kind will prevent the body from decomposing; even those that are marketed as “sealed” or “air-tight” and none of them will keep out air, water, or dirt indefinitely. If someone is trying to sell you a vault to “protect” the casket, they’re manipulating your emotions with unrealistic promises. The only thing such costly boxes will do is lighten your wallet.
Mausoleums— Above-ground buildings where the casket is placed in a drawer-like space with a plaque bearing the name of the deceased. Some people choose mausoleum entombment because they don’t like the idea of being in the ground and because they often provide a comfortable place to visit no matter the weather. Some are marketed as a “clean and dry” alternative to ground burial, but the quality of how mausoleums are built and maintained varies significantly. The body will still decompose in a mausoleum space, and there have been a number of unfortunate incidents of fluids and odors leaking out of the crypts. Be sure to check the mausoleum for cleanliness ahead of time and do not do business with a mausoleum that requires a “sealed” casket. Those caskets (they have a rubber gasket around the lid) are what cause gas build-up and leaking.
Columbariums— Miniature versions of mausoleums designed for urns containing cremated remains. While they are usually less expensive than full-sized spaces, they can still be quite costly.
Perpetual Care— Most states require cemeteries to deposit a percentage of every sale into a maintenance fund to ensure upkeep of the grounds and the graves over the years. This percentage usually ranges from 5 to 15-percent. Many cemeteries have managed their funds carefully over the years. But many have not, and even conservatively run cemeteries have found the maintenance funds haven’t grown sufficiently to keep up with inflation, especially as fewer families buy conventional graves. While you can’t avoid paying the perpetual care fee, understand that it’s no guarantee the cemetery will be properly maintained forever. Funeral Consumers Alliance is seeing a rise in the number of cemeteries going broke and defunct from either mismanagement, theft of the maintenance funds, or low returns because of a poor investment market.
Before You Buy
Unlike with funeral homes, federal regulations don’t require cemeteries to give you a printed, itemized price list before you buy and there are no federal regulations that give cemetery customers the right to buy only the services and merchandise they want. Funeral homes, for example, may not require you to buy their casket, and they can’t impose a “handling fee” if you bring in a casket from an outside vendor. But these rules don’t apply to cemeteries.
Because cemetery regulation is so lax, consumers frequently complain that cemeteries tell them the family must buy the headstone only from the cemetery. Or, that the cemetery will impose a ludicrous “inspection fee” for any markers purchased from an outside vendor. One man told us a Mississippi cemetery tried to charge him $2.50 per square inch to inspect the marker he bought from a local business. At $7,000, he would have paid the cemetery three times what the marker cost just for the staff to (allegedly) inspect it. We believe this kind of behavior is a clear violation of federal anti-trust and monopoly laws, but few states are paying attention.
In addition, only a few states require cemeteries to give you a copy of the rules pertaining to allowable markers and visiting hours before the sale. Because of these problems, you need to be proactive as a consumer:
- Get a printed, itemized price list for all services and merchandise before you buy.
- Get a copy of the cemetery’s rules and regulations ahead of time.
- Pay particular attention to the type and size of monuments that are allowed. Remember, cemeteries have the right to set such rules, and it’s no good to spend money on a monument the cemetery won’t allow to be set.
- Be aware of the cemetery’s rules on grave decorations ahead of time. Most cemeteries will bar glass items and excessive decorations such as numerous pinwheels, picket fencing, etc. It is legitimate for a cemetery to set such standards for aesthetics and safety, but be sure you know what they are before you buy.
- Make sure you understand the finance contract you are singing. Many cemeteries cancel your contract if you donot pay paymentts for 3 to 6 months and you loose all the money you paid!
Beore yu buy from the cemetery ,explore your options on line and find cemetery brokers and private parties who sell burial plots at a lower price. Our website also provides a section where our visitors and members advertise their burial plots for sale.click here to visit this section
Do not do business with any cemetery that will not provide this information ahead of time. If their business attitude before the sale makes you uncomfortable, imagine how you’d feel down the line with a friend or relative buried there in perpetuity, knowing you had no choice but to deal with this business.
Think long and hard before you buy a cemetery plot ahead of time. It may be enticing to “act now before prices go up,” but buying interment rights ahead of time can be a costly mistake.
It is difficult to predict with certainty that you’ll still be living in the cemetery’s area many years down the road, and transporting a casket a long distance can be extremely costly for your survivors. It can be quite difficult to sell a grave you no longer need and with the cremation rate rising, it’s only getting harder to sell full-sized graves on the secondary market. However, purchasing ahead of time may make sense if you have a family tradition, strong feelings about using a specific cemetery, or if you are choosing one that is likely to run out of space.
On May 20 2012, CBS News 60 minutes conducted an investigative report on cemetery fraud and abuses. click here to watch video
How Much Will It Cost? Prices for cemetery services vary so widely around the country, it’s impossible to give an average figure. In many rural areas, small, nonprofit cemeteries will sell you a full-sized grave for $300 or so, and perhaps charge $200 to $500 to open the grave. Cemeteries in urban areas—particularly those owned by for-profit companies—often charge $5,000 to $10,000 for a full-sized grave or mausoleum space, and the opening and closing. Even burial of a small urn can be very costly; one family complained that a corporate-owned cemetery charged them $800 just to turn a few screws and remove the small plate that opened the columbarium space for the urn.
In very broad terms, it’s not unusual to expect to pay at least $2,000 for the cemetery costs of a full-casket burial over and above the cost of the funeral. But your mileage will vary; as with all death-related costs, shop around among as many cemeteries as you can ahead of time.
Miscellaneous In many areas, full body burial is allowed on your own property; check the zoning rules in your county. It is legal in every state to bury or sprinkle cremated remains on private property with permission of the landowner. Beware of bogus veteran’s sales tactics offering a free grave to the vet but charging an inflated rate to the spouse. Remember that vets and their spouses are entitled to free burials in a federal VA cemetery and free or nearly free burial in a state VA cemetery.
|Posted by Memorial Planning Svcs on November 24, 2011 at 10:35 PM||comments (2)|
Most families select caskets for their beauty and finish. that most people never notice--and that frankly aren't meant to stand out.Details in design, construction, and finish are meant to enhance the display of the casket in an attractive and dignified manner and to keep the tasks involved in handling, closing, and transport to a smooth minimum.
The oldest material known to man makes it a natural and environmentally sound choice when selecting a casket. Hardwood is also strong, beautiful, and shock-resistant. And just as no two pieces of hardwood are exactly the same, each solid wood casket is handcrafted of hardwood has its own, warming identity. Choosing a hardwood casket also leaves a legacy for the next generation because wood is a renewable resource. Thera are many types of Wood Caskets including: Oak, Poplar , Ash, Mahogany among others.
There are many different types of metal caskets, and each type has its unique features and advantages.Bronze, copper, and stainless steel are considered semi-precious metals. Bronze and copper are listed in weight per square foot, such as 32-ounce copper.Steel caskets are categorized based on the thickness of the material used (e.g., 16-gauge steel, 18-gauge steel, and 20-gauge steel.
Most crematories require that the body be enclosed in a cremation casket or other acceptably rigid
container, which must be strong enough to assure the protection of the health and safety of the operator.
The container should provide a proper covering for the body and meet standards of respect and dignity
for the deceased. Some crematories will accept metal caskets, but most require that the casket or
container be fashioned of a combustible material.
(Rental Casket with Cremation container-rent fee varies)
The body is cremated in the same enclosure in which it arrives at the crematory.Wood caskets are ideal for cremation.
They are made of natural material that is befitting the nature-oriented or environmental concerns of many of the people
who choose cremation. They are approved as a ombustible container for the cremation chamber as well.Your funeral
professional will be happy to showyou the wide selection of high-quality cremation containers available. You may also
choose from a variety of urns in styles and materials to suit personal tastes.Many families that opt to have their loved ones
remated rent a casket from the funeral home for the visitation and funeral, eliminating the cost of buying a casket.
If you opt for visitation and cremation, ask about the rent al option.Under Federal Trade Commission's Funeral Rule,
funeral directors who offer direct cremations: may not tell you that state or local law requires a casket for direct cremations,
because none do; must disclose in writing your right to buy an unfinished wood box or an alternative container for a
direct cremation; nd must make an unfinished wood box or other alternative container available for direct cremations.
Caskets Images and casket information is Courtesy of GHcaskets hand-crafted caskets, A Family owned Casket Company
|Posted by Memorial Planning Svcs on October 27, 2011 at 4:50 PM||comments (0)|
What is "cremation"?
Cremation is the process by which the body is incinerated and reduced down to its simplest form of bone. This in turn is then processed into ash and small bone fragments and placed in a urn. The thing about cremation is you can still have a full funeral if you choose to be cremated. In some cases, they even allow you to assist with the cremation process, if your religious or personal beliefs dictate that that's something you want to do. You can actually assist the crematorium in the cremation process by turning on the machine and even sometimes pushing the body into the cremation chamber.click her for video
What are the advantages of cremation?
The are many benefits of cremation. With cremation, you have many options that you would not have with a full-body burial. You're able to take the cremated remains away. You can either take them home or scatter them in a place where the deceased was really happy, as long as it's legal within the guidelines of your jurisdiction you're in. You can also shoot cremation remains into space if you'd like to. Cremation really has its benefits. It also actually takes up less ground space than a full-body burial. The cost will also be less expensive than for a full-body interment. according to Cremation Association of AMerica, nearly 35% of Funerales in the UNited States ended in cremation . See Chart
Can I still have a funeral if I choose cremation?
You can absolutely still have a funeral if you choose cremation. In fact, most people do have a funeral or memorial service of some sort prior to the cremation taking place, or even after the cremation's taken place. The urn used in the creation process is a symbol of the person inside.
Do I have to buy a casket for cremation?
A crematory can't require you to buy a casket for cremation. However, they will ask you to use a cremation container, which is a closed, leak-resistant container that they incinerate the body in. You can find an inexpensive container specifically for cremation through a casket store. You can also purchase them through a funeral establishment. They're probably going to be a little more costly at the funeral establishment. The reason they are expensive is because they are usually wax lined, and they facilitate the cremation process. This makes them leak resistant, and that's really the purpose of the cremation container.
What is a "columbarium"?
A columbarium is an above ground structure specifically used for the interment of ashes or cremated remains. There's many different types of columbariums. Depending on the kind of urn that you want to use, you should really check with the cemetery to make sure that they're going to allow you to use those types of urns. Some columbariums actually have glass fronts on them so you can put a decorative urn inside and see the actual urn itself that your loved one's been placed in. The fees associated with purchasing a columbarian will be the actual space itself, opening and closing, any sort of epitaph that you want to place on there, like a marker. You can also place flower vases on the outside of the niche space, which is what the space is called in the columbarium that your ashes go.
What is an "urn"?
An urn is what the cremation remains are actually placed in. There are many types of urns, from the a simple plastic urn to some that are extremely ornate. You can use many different things; I've seen people use things like cookie jars or maybe their favorite plastic model that they had when they were a kid. People use different types of urns. Again, you should check with the cemetery if you're going to place the urn at the cemetery, to make sure it's something that they allow.
Do I have to purchase an urn from a funeral home?
You do not have to purchase an urn from a funeral home. One will be provided to you. A durable container will be given to you for the removal of the remains from the actual funeral establishment itself. However, you can transfer those cremated remains into any type of urn you want to, after you leave the funeral establishment.
What are "cremated remains" or "ashes"?
Cremation remains or ashes are what you have when the body is reduced down to its purest form, which is small bone fragments. When you're scattering cremated remains or ashes, you want to be sure to pour the ashes, not throw them up in the air. You could end up with your cremated remains back all over yourself.
Are there legal restrictions about what I can do with cremated remains?
There are some legal restrictions on what you can do with cremated remains or ashes. You should really check with your local health department to make sure that what you plan on doing with the ashes is legal. In most cases, it's perfectly fine to scatter cremation remains anywhere, as long as you have permission of the person who owns the property, or a permit for such a thing as a state or national park. You can obtain a permit from those places, and they'll allow you to scatter the cremated remains. Maybe choose a place that you really loved to go, and take this into consideration when you're thinking of scattering the cremated remains.
What are alternative ways to preserve cremated remains?
There are several different alternative ways to preserve cremated remains or ashes. One of the ways is a company called Life Gem and they actually use the carbon from the brain to make a diamond which you could wear as jewelry. Another alternative way would be to actually have part of the cremated remains placed in a locket or some sort of jewelry that you could wear around your neck. Another alternative that I've heard of is using the cremated remains in paint and actually painting a portrait of the person. You should check with your local health registration district to make sure that those are all legal uses of cremated remains where you are.
Can I send my loved one's cremated remains into space?
You can send your loved one's cremated remains into space. It's done by a rocket - it's actually sent out into space. The cost of this depends on how far into space you want those cremated remains to go, whether you want just a simple trip around the earth or for the ashes to be off into deep space. The cost ranges anywhere from just under $5 to somewhere over $12,.
|Posted by Memorial Planning Svcs on October 13, 2011 at 1:10 PM||comments (0)|
(Click on Picture to download complete guide)
The death of a loved one is one of the most traumatic experiences any of us will ever have. By asking the right questions, comparing prices and services, and making informed decisions, you can make arrangements that are meaningful to your family and control the costs for yourself and your survivors. The Cemetery and Funeral Bureau licenses, regulates, and investigates complaints against California funeral establishments, funeral directors, embalmers, apprentice embalmers, cemetery brokers, cemetery salespersons, cemetery managers, cremated remains disposers, crematories, crematory managers, and the nearly 200 fraternal and private cemeteries in the state.
California law lists those who have the right, duty, and responsibility to make decisions about disposition arrangements after a person's death. They are, in order:
A person, prior to his or her death.An agent under a power of attorney for health care.The surviving competent spouse, or the registered domestic partner.The surviving competent adult child or the majority of the surviving competent adult children.The surviving competent parent or parents.The surviving competent adult sibling or the majority of the surviving competent adult siblings.The surviving competent adult person or the majority of the surviving competent adult persons, in the next degree of kinship. Details:
A person may direct in writing the disposition of his or her remains and specify the funeral goods and services desired. Unless there is a written statement to the contrary that is signed and dated by the person, these directions may not be changed in any material way except as required by law.
The law protects a person after death providing that:
The written directions are clear and complete; andArrangement for payment of final services via trusts, insurance, commitments by others, or any other means have been made which precludes the payment of money by the survivors(s) who might otherwise have the right to control disposition. Instead of giving written instructions, a person may give the right and duty of disposition to an agent under a power of attorney for health care or an advance health care directive. This agent will have the full right to act and control the decedent's disposition unless the power of attorney or an advance health care directive limits or removes that right.In the absence of a written directive or power of attorney for health care, the right and duty of disposition next moves to a surviving competent spouse or registered domestic partner or written instructions have been given pursuant to the preceding paragraph.To be considered a registered domestic partner in California, a person must have filed a Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the Secretary of State under Family Law Code Section 297.In the absence of the above documents and people, the right and duty of disposition would fall to the surviving competent adult child or the majority of the surviving competent adult children, then the competent parent or parents, then the competent adult sibling or the majority of the surviving competent adult siblings and then the competent adult person or the majority of the surviving competent adult persons, in the next degree of kinship.
Home Death Care
The law does not prohibit consumers from preparing a body for disposition themselves. If you choose to do this, you must:
File a properly completed Certificate of Death, signed by the attending physician or coroner, with the local registrar of births and deaths.Obtain a Permit for Disposition from the local registrar of births and deaths.Provide a casket or suitable container.Make arrangements directly with the cemetery or crematory. For the complete guide Click here to download
|Posted by Memorial Planning Svcs on August 20, 2011 at 12:20 PM||comments (0)|
Tips for buying funeral insurance
Don't want to go to your grave in pink satin? Then consider buying a burial policy that allows you to choose and pay for everything ahead, from the coffinor urn to the flowers at the service.
Have you ever imagined what your funeral would be like? What kind ofservice there would be? Or even what kind of coffin you would prefer?Morbid? Perhaps. Unreasonable? Not at all. There are plenty of reasonsto preplan and, if possible, prepay your final arrangements long beforethe need arises. In fact, a product called "preneed" insurance, alsoknown as burial or funeral insurance, is intended for just that purpose.
Unlike some other types of insurance, this is less a "what if" financial strategy and more a question of "when." With this coverage, you can plan many details of your funeral, including the products and services that it will entail, and pay for them in advance."People aren't buying this for the financial benefit, but rather to lock in and prearrange their funeral their way," notes Kevin Gough of Conning& Co., a Connecticut-based insurance research firm. "Whether it's avelvet-lined casket or a particular type of service, it guarantees they'llhave the funeral they want."
On the surface, it seems like a relatively straightforward purchase. But a spate of funeral insurance scams across the country involving thousands of policyholders shows that you must do as much homework when buying burial insurance as any other type of insurance, perhaps even more so. In fact, there has been so much controversy in the industry -- particularly accusations that elderly people are being duped into paying more in premiums than they will ever receive in benefits --that states such as Florida have sought to ban the policies outright.
Funeral costs are on the rise
Funeral prearrangement is nothing new. According to the NationalFuneral Directors Association (NFDA), consumer interest in preplanningfunerals has been steadily rising for the past 30 years. Recentdevelopments in the industry, however, have centered on the prefunding of these ceremonies.Traditionally, funerals were often funded with trusts -- sums set aside in the approximate amount of the funeral. Trusts aren't complex to arrange, but they do carry tax liabilities and are a tricky issue if thepurchaser moves out of state. So instead, some consumers set up"final life expense" insurance policies (supplementary policies aboveand beyond their basic life insurance policies) with small coveragelimits, called "face amounts," of $10,000 or so, specifically designed tocover the funeral costs.
And funeral costs are high these days. According to the AmericanAssociation of Retired Persons (AARP), funerals and burials are amongthe most expensive purchases older Americans make. The average costfor an adult funeral ranges from $4,500 to $5,500. About one-third ofthat goes to the cost of the casket alone. What's more, an in-groundburial can add another $2,400 to the total.With funeral prices continuing their upward trend, a $10,000 burial policy purchased today might not cover a funeral's bill when the time comes. Paying for it might require dipping into funds from a major life insurance policy, a trend that Dean Lambert, director of marketing for Homesteaders Life Co., says is becoming more frequent. "When that lump sum goes to the family, they will spend it on whatever they have to. They shouldn't have to spend it all on the funeral, but that might be the case. If they are grieving, they may not make the most informed choices, perhaps spending more than they should."
Combine those rising costs with the "graying of America" and it's no wonder the preneed industry is in its heyday. "More senior citizens have the money today for these expenses," says Bruce Dalzell,president of the Life Insurers Council, a trade association for thepreneed industry. "And they are independent. They don't want to leave this burden on their loved ones." Individual tastes determine coverage options
Funeral preplanning is a highly personal decision, so there's no "typical" insurance plan. Rather, you choose the products and services that you prefer and an insurance agent or funeral director (in many instances, they are one and the same) writes a policy that covers these specifics.
Among the products and services you can prepurchase:
A casket or urn,Cremation,Embalming (not legally required unless there will be a public viewing)
Burial vault or grave liner,Grave marker,Hearse and other funeral vehicles,Flowers,Digging and filling the grave,The plot.
Because these policies are individualized, there's nothing that you can't include in them, unless, perhaps, you have a policy that is capped at aspecific dollar amount. For instance, the largest player in the preneed insurance market, Forethought Life Insurance Co., won't cover more than $25,000 of funeral expenses.
A checklist for buying burial insurance
- Find out your state's laws on preneed insurance.
- Before buying a burial policy, discuss your options with your
family and lawyer to make sure it is consistent with your will and
- Determine how much of the plan value you will actually receive in
- Verify the license of the agent, funeral director or company
before doing business.
- Take advantage of any "free look" laws your state might have to
review your policy before you are locked in.
- The Federal Trade Commission requires funeral homes to give
you a written price list of available goods and services.
Funeral directors may choose not to provide price guarantees,which means the money you pay today for a funeral might not actually be enough to cover the costs later since you haven'tlocked in the prices.Have a companion on hand to help you sort through the paperwork or to help you shop for a casket or other products.
- Do not accept any documents that have not been completely
filled in and signed in your presence.
- Make sure the funeral arrangements can be moved to any
funeral home at any time (in case you move, for instance).
- Find out if your state requires that the money you pay to funeral
directors for preneed funerals be made available to you upon request at any time.
- The location of the grave site should be spelled out by section,
row and plot number.
- The policy should specify what type of outer burial container you have purchased (e.g., grave liner vs. a vault, and what it's madeof).
- The policy should specify what kind of marker you have purchased, including size, material, and style, preferably with a sketch.
- Find out if opening, closing and marker-installation costs areincluded (the costs of digging and filling a grave aren't generally included in the cost of the plot).
- Find out if there are extra fees if you buy a marker from a monument dealer instead of the cemetery. And what about buying a casket from your own supplier?
- Find out what happens if the cemetery ownership changes hands.
- Know what recourse you have if the cemetery runs out of moneyand defaults on your arrangement.
- Ask what happens if your chosen cemetery runs out of burial space.
- Survey your desired cemetery to see how well the upkeep is,particularly after a snowstorm.
- Look at the contingencies if the items you have selected will no longer available at the time of the funeral.
- Make sure you receive your funeral policy in a timely manner.
- Make sure you receive at least one statement each year detailing the status of your account.
- Know what happens if you decide to cancel your policy. You maybe refunded for products and services, but be stuck with the plot.
Speak with one of our Funeral PlanningSpecialist Today and get educated on all our options!
Contact us today!
|Posted by Memorial Planning Svcs on July 30, 2011 at 8:35 PM||comments (0)|
It's never too late to take steps to prevent a heart attack - even if you've already had one. Taking medications can reduce your risk of a second heart attack and help your damaged heart function better. Lifestyle factors also play a critical role in heart attack prevention and recovery.
Doctors typically prescribe drug therapy for people who've had a heart attack or who are at high risk of having one. Medications that help the heart function more effectively or reduce heart attack risk may include:
Blood-thinning medications. Aspirin makes your blood less "sticky" and likely to clot. Doctors recommend a daily aspirin for most people who've had a heart attack. Your doctor may, in some cases, prescribe a stronger blood thinner than aspirin.
Doctors may prescribe aspirin and an anti-clotting drug, such as clopidogrel (Plavix), for people undergoing an angioplasty or stent procedure to open narrowed coronary arteries, both before and after the procedure.
If you're taking aspirin to help prevent a heart attack, be aware that taking the painkiller ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) at the same time may increase the risk of gastrointestinal problems and may interfere with the heart benefits of aspirin. If you need to take a pain-relieving medication for certain conditions, such as arthritis, discuss with your doctor which is best for you.
Beta blockers. These drugs lower your heart rate and blood pressure, reducing demand on your heart and helping to prevent further heart attacks. Many people will need to take beta blockers for the rest of their lives following a heart attack.
Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. Doctors prescribe ACE inhibitors for most people after heart attacks, especially for those who have had a moderate to severe heart attack that has reduced the heart's pumping capacity. These drugs allow blood to flow from your heart more easily, prevent some of the complications of heart attacks and make a second heart attack less likely.
Cholesterol-lowering medications. A variety of medications, including statins, niacin, fibrates and bile acid sequestrants, can help lower your levels of unwanted blood cholesterol. The majority of people who've had a heart attack take cholesterol-lowering medications — drugs that help lower the risk of a second heart attack. These medications can help prevent future heart attacks even if your cholesterol was not very high at the time of the heart attack.
In addition to medications, the same lifestyle changes that can help you recover from a heart attack can also help prevent future heart attacks. These include:
Controlling certain conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes
Staying physically active
Eating healthy foods
Maintaining a healthy weight
Reducing and managing stress
Courtesy of Mayo Clinic
|Posted by Memorial Planning Svcs on July 30, 2011 at 8:25 AM||comments (0)|
Be Heart Healthy
"If you think you're having a heart attack, that's not the time to try and figure out whether you're right," says Gordon Tomaselli, M.D., president-elect of the American Heart Association, who adds he has patients who have done exactly that.
(One of the symptoms for a heart attack in women is pain in the shoulder blades.)
And yet, among the most commonly searched subjects online is "heart attack signs," according to the search engine Google. In fact, the number of searches for that term has increased by a whopping 90 percent in the last five years or so, according a company spokesperson. Searches for "Am I having a heart attack?" alone have risen by more than 35 percent since 2008, the company says.
One reason people are searching online for emergency information is that it's not always easy to tell whether you're having a heart attack — even doctors have a tough time knowing without tests. If you suspect you're having a heart attack, call for an ambulance immediately. And don't be embarrassed if it turns out you're not.
"It's not always straightforward," says Tomaselli. "If you develop the classic symptoms — pressing chest pain, sweating, nausea — then you're pretty clear that there's a big problem that needs to be dealt with quickly." But, he says, many people, especially women, may develop completely different symptoms when experiencing a heart attack.
Common symptoms in men and women
You should pay particular attention to the following signs if — like more than half of all Americans — you are over 50, have high blood pressure, have high cholesterol, are a smoker or have a family history of heart disease. A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to the heart is blocked, damaging the muscle. Chewing aspirin (either one regular or two baby) helps the heart by thinning the blood.
Chest pain: Most people do call 911 or get to the hospital if they feel like they've got an elephant sitting on their chest, but even this most common heart attack symptom may be hard to recognize. It may just feel like a squeezing that lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back. "It may be a chest fullness that they don't recognize as pain," says Tomaselli, who is also chief of cardiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. "Sometimes it doesn't particularly hurt. It's an uncomfortable sensation." If chest pain lasts more than five minutes, go to the emergency room.
Shortness of breath: You may feel you can't catch your breath, even when resting. This breathlessness often occurs before the chest pain.
Dizziness or lightheadedness: You may feel as if you will pass out.
Cold sweat: Sweating when you are cold or have a chill. Symptoms more likely in womenWomen have a higher risk of dying from a heart attack than men do, partly because they often don't realize they're having a heart attack and partly because they delay getting help.
Chest pain was not the main symptom in about 46 percent of women who had a heart attack. Women are less likely than men to have the typical "Hollywood heart attack," says Sharonne Hayes, M.D., cardiologist and director of the Mayo Clinic's Women's Heart Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Pain in the arm (especially left arm), back, neck, abdomen or shoulder blades: When the nerves of the heart are irritated because the heart isn't getting enough blood, discomfort or pain can radiate out to many places in the body. The pain often is described as an uncomfortable pressure, tightness or ache. "If you can put a finger on it and say, 'It hurts right here,' that's much less likely to be a heart attack," says Pamela Ouyang, a cardiologist with the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.
Jaw pain: Jaw and throat pain are quite common, says Ouyang. She says the feeling can start in the chest and move to the throat — as if someone is choking you — and then to the jaw. But again, it's not always obvious. Sometimes people "go to the dentist, because they think it's a toothache," when they actually had a heart attack.
Nausea and vomiting: Women are more likely than men to have this symptom, and they may think they have a stomach flu rather than a heart attack.
Overwhelming and unusual fatigue: Fatigue is generally a symptom of 21st-century life, so it's often overlooked as a heart attack sign, but it's extremely common, so beware if you're unusually exhausted.
Courtesy of AARP
|Posted by Memorial Planning Svcs on May 25, 2011 at 10:15 AM||comments (0)|
Planning A Memorial Service
Many families today choose direct cremation or burial upon the death of a loved one, rather than the traditional funeral that usually had the body present, often with an open casket. Direct cremation or direct burial allows for significant cost savings as compared to an open casket funeral service. Following direct cremation or direct burial, the family may choose to have a memorial service. Often they want to do the planning on their own and hold the service at a location other than a funeral home, avoiding the expense incurred when a funeral director participates. The information below is intended to aid people in planning a memorial service without the assistance of clergy or a funeral director.
Choose a location
There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a location for the memorial service. If the deceased did not have a strong religious affiliation, consider places that reflect their personality or interests. For example, the memorial for a nature lover might be held at a local park or garden. Also, try to choose a location that is convenient for friends and family members. Remember, more than one service can be held.
Select a date
The date selected may be several weeks after the death. Pick a date that allows friends and family time to make travel plans and adjust their calendars.
Will there be a primary purpose or theme for the service?
You may want to decide on a purpose or theme for the memorial service, as a guide for readings, etc. For what will the deceased be remembered? Her dedication to charity? His love of music? Her active lifestyle? Also consider if there are issues to be discussed or conflicts to be resolved that will help attendees deal with the death. It may be best to address a controversy rather than to ignore it.
Write the obituary
After writing the obituary, check cost of publication with local newspapers. If the price is too high for your budget, copies of the obituary can be emailed or mailed to friends and family as an alternative.
Notify out-of-town family and friends
All those to be included in the memorial service should be notified-either in writing by email or with a phone call-in time to make travel arrangements. You may want to include a list of hotels close to the memorial location for out-of-town visitors not staying with friends and family.
Choose a leader for the service
Decide whether a clergyperson, adult son or daughter, spouse, friend, or sibling will lead. Of course, a well-organized service may also be led jointly.
Consider creating a printed program or memorial cards
A program can include photographs, names of speakers, copies of the readings, favorite memories, and information about the deceased. Copies may be sent to those unable to attend the service.
Decide on speaker(s)
One speaker is usually asked to give highlights from the life of the deceased. Others may read a favorite religious passage or prayer, poem, or memory. Decide who will read and what will be read. All attendees may be given an opportunity to share memories, with the service leader serving as a moderator to keep things moving and bring the discussion to a close at an appropriate time.
You may decide to purchase flowers, gather boquets from your own garden or just use those provided as gifts. Some families choose to send home flowers with guests after the service.
Many memorial services open and close with music. You may choose to play the deceased's favorite song on CD, solicit a performance from local musicians, or lead guests in a hymn.
If you belong to a faith group, consult your clergy person and prayer book. Others may choose to use special poems or passages from favorite books. Family or friends may wish to write something special to be read at the service.
Collect photographs or memorabilia
Display photos or favorite objects that exemplify and reflect the deceased's personality. Some people put together memory books or videos with contributions from family and friends. A reflection book may also be provided for guests to write down favorite memories.
Memorial gifts are a way for guests to remember the deceased. They may be as simple as potted plants used in the ceremony, or a photo of the deceased attached to their favorite quote. If the deceased had a favorite charity, providing the name and address will make it easier for guests to make a memorial gift. Charitable organizations often have pre-addressed donation envelopes which they would be happy to make available to have on hand at the service. People's Memorial Association welcomes memorial gifts in honor of a loved one to support its ongoing work.
Make clear to your guests if/when/where a reception will be held following the service. It may be held in a private home, activities center of a retirement community, park, or other convenient location. You may choose to provide simple or more elaborate refreshments.
Order of Service
The following is a sample Order of Service for you to customize to fit your own unique circumstances.
2. Opening Words
3. Candle Lighting or other Ritual
4. Address giving background information
6. Personal reflections by one or more family members or friends
8. Summation by service leader
9. Closing words
|Posted by Memorial Planning Svcs on March 3, 2011 at 9:25 AM||comments (5)|
Virtually everyone is familiar with insurance policies. You've probably seen many television advertisements concerning the subject. In some cases, your parents and grandparents have discussed the details of having an insurance policy to cover funeral expenses. Determining the differences between burial and life insurance can help you make the best decision about which one to choose.
Life insurance and Burial Insurance may seem the same at first, but they are distinctly different from each other. With life insurance, you agree to pay a preset amount of money periodically to an insurance company. At your death, the insurance policy will issue a payment to your designated beneficiary. Burial insurance is designed to prepay your funeral arrangements only and decrease the burden of funeral planning for your surviving family members.
There are two major types of life insurance that are available for you to choose from. They consist of permanent and temporary life insurance policies. Some of the most common insurance policies include term, whole life, and universal. Term life insurance provides protection for anyone on a limited budget. It usually offers a payment to cover any outstanding loans or to help provide for your surviving family members. Whole life insurance will provide you with coverage for the remainder of your life. Pay the premiums in a timely manner and you won't risk losing the insurance policy. It also accumulates cash value and can be cashed in if you discontinue the policy. Universal life insurance offers more flexibility than the others. You're able to conveniently change the amount of insurance you'll need. Your beneficiaries will still receive the value of your insurance policy upon your death. Burial Insurance may ba also knowon as funeral insurance. Burial insurance allows you to prepay your funeral arrangements without burdening your family members and some programs include: Funeral Planning, Funeral Activation, and Funeral negotiation.Make sure you choose the one that will give you the most value.
Burial and life insurance help to make the entire process of planning a funeral or covering family expenses easier. Once you've purchased burial insurance, it will cover most of the common expenses. Usually your burial plot, grave marker, cremation, embalming, flowers, hearse, and a few other things will all fall into this category. On the other hand, life insurance will provide a preset amount of money to your beneficiaries. The money received will go towards burial costs and funeral arrangements. Depending on the amount of the life insurance policy, some beneficiaries will have have extra money left over for other personal expenses.
Before making a final decision on any sort of insurance, research it first. Not all companies provide you with the same type of life insurance or burial insurance policies. In addition, One Insurance Product available in California,for example, maybe offer diferent benefits in Texas . Another Life Insurance Company may offer additional bebenfits in Florida or Arizona. Each State's Insurance Department may approve difernt riders and feautues . If you're only looking to cover the basic costs of your loved one or self, then consider choosing burial insurance. However, if you'd like them to have extra money to cover expenses outside of the funeral arrangements, select the life insurance policy that works best for them. It is ideal to have both Insurance Plans in force.
Read the fine print in whatever insurance you decide to purchase. There are usually limitations and restrictions that go along with your insurance policy. Remember that a Life Insurance Policy cannot be paid without the Death Certificate .Even after all required documents are sent to the Life Insurance Company, it may take day or weeks before the claim is paid.However, some Funeral Insurance policies have the ability to pay the funeral expenses without a Death Certificate within 24 hours!.This can be a great advantage when covering your burial expenses.Familiarize yourself with the each detail to verify that this is the correct insurance policy for you and your beneficiaries. Not understanding all of the details ahead of time could cost your surviving loved ones much aggravation and more grief. Being fully prepared will make the entire process of planning your funeral much easier to deal with.
|Posted by Memorial Planning Svcs on February 1, 2011 at 10:25 AM||comments (0)|
Social Security is a federal program of benefits that was developed in 1935 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal plan. One of the primary benefits provided by the Social Security system is that of retirement income.The program, funded through payroll taxes, is managed by the government. Payments received today by recipients are taken from current payroll contributions that are made by today’s workers.
Age eligibility for social security retirement benefits
For many years, the “normal” Social Security retirement age was 65. However, the retirement age has since changed and is now based on what year the recipient was born. Full retirement benefits may now be received when a recipient reaches age 67 if they were born in the year 1960 or later, provided other criteria are met.
Paying back benefits and starting over
There is a way to make changes with Social Security retirement benefits. In this case, if a benefit recipient begins collecting at age 62, they have the option of changing their minds and starting over in the future, and thus reaping the higher benefit payments that would have been received by waiting until age 70.In order to do so, the retiree has to file a withdrawal application and then repay what they had collected so far – plus any additional funds that were withheld for Medicare premiums. In addition, the retiree is even allowed to deduct this repayment or take an income tax credit for the taxes they paid on the benefit amount.
For example, a married couple who are both age 70 and began collecting Social Security retirement benefits at age 62, could actually raise their standard of living by roughly 20 percent by taking advantage of this technique.It is important to really weigh the consequences of this strategy, though. If a retiree lives for many years beyond age 70, then this could be a great way to receive increased benefits for many years. If, however, the retiree passes away soon after using this techniques, they will have lost all of the benefits that they paid back – those received between age 62 and age 70 – in return for an increased monthly benefit, but for just a very short period of time.
You may want to visit the Social Security Estimate Calculator and estimate your Social Security Payments when you retire.
Waiting to receive benefits
Although many individuals opt to begin receiving their Social Security retirement benefits at or before their normal retirement age, there are others who decide to wait and receive their benefits at a later time.In fact, those who wait to begin receiving their Social Security retirement benefits may actually help themselves financially in the long run. In some cases, the difference between starting benefits at age 62 versus age 70 may be close to double.
For example, a man born in 1948, who earned $80,000 per year can expect a monthly Social Security retirement check of $2,157 if he begins taking benefits at his normal retirement age of 66. If he were to begin his benefits at age 62, his monthly check would only be $1,458. However, if he waits until he reaches age 70 to begin receiving benefits, his monthly Social Security retirement benefit would rise to $3,303. This is more than double the amount he would have received per month had he started taking his benefits at age 62.
The social security earnings penalty
In addition, waiting to receive Social Security retirement benefits can also help retirees to avoid the Social Security earnings penalty if they work while retired. For example, in 2010, if someone receives their Social Security retirement benefits before reaching their full retirement age, then they must temporarily forfeit $1 in benefits for every $2 they earn over $14,160.If a retiree reaches their full retirement age in 2010, then Social Security will hold back $1 for every $3 that is earned over $37,680. And, if someone who has not reached full retirement age earns over $42,960 in 2010, they cannot collect any Social Security retirement benefits.*
Considering a spouse’s social security benefits
Married couples have several considerations to make when deciding when to begin taking their Social Security retirement benefits. These determinations should include the fact that:
* The maximum spousal Social Security retirement benefit amount is 50% of what the other spouse will receive;
* Spouses cannot collect their own benefit and their spouse’s benefit at the same time. If both spouses are entitled to benefits and are under full retirement age, then they will always receive the larger of the two benefits;
* One spouse cannot apply for the Social Security spousal benefit until the other spouse has filed for Social Security.
Some married couples use a technique called the 62/70 strategy in order to help maximize their Social Security benefits over the long term. With this strategy, the lower earning spouse will file for their Social Security retirement benefits at age 62, and then the higher earning spouse will delay taking their benefits until they reach age 70. This allows the couple to receive the maximum amount of benefit without being penalized.