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Helping Aging Parents Plan A Memorial Service

It can be helpful for an aging parent who chooses cremation to plan a memorial service in advance. A memorial service is a celebration of a life lived. It can include the display of a decorative urn, photographs and floral arrangements.

Here are some ideas that can help the planning process.

Select a location. A cremation memorial service does not need to be held at a funeral home. A park or place of significance can offer a comforting atmosphere for the attendees.

Choose a celebrant to deliver a eulogy or other ceremonial tribute, such as a songs, poems or other modes of expression that relate to the loved one's life, spirit and accomplishments.

Select an urn. An urn can be artistic or simple, and may even be a companion urn that can contain the cremated remains of both the deceased and a spouse or loved one.

Decide how the urn will be displayed. Often a table in the front of the room will hold the urn and a photograph of the departed. What type of decoration will accompany the urn? Flowers or a personalized object may set the tone for the service with its distinct location at the front of the room.

Will honorary awards be displayed? Military service medals or professional or civic awards may be placed near the urn to honor life achievements and work.

Decide where the urn will rest following the memorial service. If the urn will be placed in someone's care, a mantle or table may need to be selected. Ground burial or placement in a mausoleum niche or columbarium are also options to consider.

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