The following is from the newsletter of The People's Memorial Association based in Seattle, Washington
A Different Kind of Donation
Organ donation is an incredible and tremendously generous gift. An organ donor can help save the lives of several people whose vital organs are failing. Since organ donation is life-saving, it has very specific criteria that needs to be met in regards to the cause of death, which is why the list of those needing an organ transplant is so long.
Tissue and eye donation aren't as well-known as other organ donations but that does not lower its importance in the slightest. Eye donation can help two blind people to regain their sight and tissue donation can help upwards of 70 people including burn, trauma, and cancer patients. These gifts are extremely generous and it is a beautiful way for someone to leave a lasting legacy.
Many people register to be a donor when they get their driver's license but it's also important to discuss your wishes with your family. LifeCenter Northwest says that since organs must be transplanted within 4-48 hours, letting your family know ahead of time is paramount. Bringing up end of life matters with your family can be a daunting task and is usually met with eye rolls, but it really is the first step in ensuring your wishes are met.
Ceanna Tolbert, CST
LifeCenter Northwest says that once organs are recovered in a hospital operating room, the donor's body is taken to a funeral home of the family's choice (or first to the coroner or medical examiner if an autopsy is required).
The donation of organs and tissues allows for the observation of end-of-life rituals and funeral arrangements, including the option of an open casket funeral. Funeral expenses (and hospital costs prior to the determination of brain death) are the responsibility of the donor's family, but LifeCenter Northwest pays for all donation-related expenses.
For more detailed information, visit: http://www.lcnw.org/about/
Excerpts from Washington's Green Burial Survey Results from 1750 respondents---a 10% participation rate:
Because the survey asked folks for their input on multiple disposition options with levels of interest, the percentage results do add up to more than 100%.
The survey found that cremation (78%) is the preferred disposition but green burial (15%), recomposition (17%) and aquamation/biochemical hydrolysis (6%) options certainly have folks interested in greener alternatives! Incidentally, traditional burial was listed as only 2%.
Thank you again to all who participated. Keep an eye out for more information on Aquamation/Biochemical Hydrolysis and Recomposition legislation in 2019!
Odds and Ends
from past newsletters
From The Denver Post, September 5, 2010: “Prepay or pay as you go: It depends on the offer” “Determining whether it’s good or bad to buy a prepaid item depends entirely on what’s being offered…PREPAID FUNERALS: Almost never a good idea, said Joshua Slocum, executive director of the Funeral Consumers Alliance, which attributes one third of complaints it receives to prepaid funerals...” (Fleisher agrees, except if you will be eligible soon for Medicaid to pay nursing home costs, prepaying makes sense as the money would otherwise go to the nursing home.)
Spotted in recent magazines were some items you might be interested in (humorously!): a coffin ashtray, a horse-drawn funeral carriage lapel pin, a 1:24 scale model 1937 hearse, a gold plated shovel tie clasp, a casket business card holder, a cremation tray pool float, body bag gift tags, and an anatomically correct 10 oz. chocolate human heart.
From the April, 2009 Newsletter: "A small article in the Feb. 23 (2009) Denver Post reported that due to the economy, more people are choosing cremation over burial, creating financial pressure on many funeral homes and cemeteries. The Colorado State Vital Statistics Dept. recorded that in the year 2006, crematons totaled 57%; in 2007 it was 58%, and a rough estimate for 2008 revealed it had gone to more than 59%." (As of 2012, it was 65%)
Josh Slocum, Executive Director of the Funeral Consumers Alliance (our parent organization), is the co-author of Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death, the most comprehensive book available today of funeral and burial purchases. In his book he states, “Funerals are right up there with houses and cars as one of the biggest purchases most Americans will make.” Besides the ins and outs of the funeral industry, he offers many money-saving ideas for purchases (including buying a casket at Costco!)
A new publication, The Grim Reader, put out twice a year by Josh Slocum and Laurie Powsner, will give concrete facts about funerals and end of life issues. Such topics as: “5 Ways to Fail at Funerals”; “4-Step Funeral Planning”, and “Last-Minute Funeral Planning” are discussed in the inaugural issue. This publication (and more) is also available on their website: www.funerals.org under “FCA Free Publications”.
FCSC celebrated its 50th anniversary on November 5, 2013. In 1963, the Rocky Mountain Memorial Society was registered as a nonprofit corporation in the State of Colorado. On April 23, 1998, the name was changed to Funeral Consumer Society of Colorado in order to more closely reflect its aims and activities.