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Archive for the ‘Bereavement co-ordination’ Category

Recently, Lovingly Managed was granted associate membership of SAIF (Society of Allied Independent Funeral Directors) and we were asked to submit around 400 words to be included in SAIF Insight. We duly obliged and thought no more about it. Here it is.

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Lovingly Managed is a company offering a wide range of services that cover the spectrum of death and dying from end to end. Within this, the company provides a number of services relating to funeral organisation. These services are ones which are not undertaken by the funeral director so, by taking them on, Lovingly Managed aims to relieve the bereaved of still more of the administrative burden associated with organising a funeral. These tasks include things such as ringing or writing to relatives and friends of the deceased to inform them of the venue, time and date of the funeral; sourcing a venue, if required, and organising the catering for any post-funeral hospitality; sending out thank yous/acknowledgements for the receipt of flowers and donations on behalf of the family. Lovingly Managed will also send out first anniversary announcements or respond to first anniversary acknowledgements, organise an anniversary memorial service if this is required or work with the family to create an on-line memorial.

Lovingly Managed welcomes the opportunity to work in partnership with the independent funeral sector, providing our services on an outsourced basis so that independent funeral directors can enhance their service offering without increasing the workload for their existing staff or incurring higher staffing overheads and, as a result, be in a position to deliver added value to their clients and so gain a competitive edge within their local market.

While we’ve given a lot of thought to the kind of help a family may want in relation to a funeral, in addition to what is provided by their funeral director, and to what a funeral director would feel were services that naturally complement his/her own and so would be happy offering them to clients, we are always willing to consider any request for something we may not have thought of, either from the client or the funeral director.

Lovingly Managed also operates a referral scheme for funeral directors in relation to the drafting of Wills, Powers of Attorney, Advance Directives and the company’s own End of Life plans. Our End of Life plan allows people to document specific and detailed instructions regarding their end of life and the finalization of their estate that are not contained in a will or other legal document. They can prove immensely useful for people who are on their own and are worried about who will take care of things and they can also help to eliminate the potential for disputes between bereaved family members. They are a natural partner to pre-paid funeral plans. Contact us for more information on our referral scheme.

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Then we received the following email:

“I have seen your advertisement in this months SAIFINSIGHT publication that we receive as Funeral Directors and also reading your website I want to express my opinion. As a PROFESSIONAL funeral director of some 17 years dealing with hundreds of families I am so angry at what you say you can deliver especially what you think funeral directors do not do! You mention funeral co-ordination and organisation! and mentioning what we as funeral directors do not offer or organise. Can I tell you as a private family business what we provide families is second to none every detail is covered every option given, I wouldn’t dare hand that over to someone else to do for me. Your information is very misleading to say the least. I am going to go through your website with a fine tooth com be so to speak, and give my findings to the relevant funeral organisations. I am also going to express what I find to other funeral directors. SAIF also whom you advertised with need to look at what they print, again I am going to speak with them direct. I am so angry, I have looked after some very high profile funerals one in particular last year that was covered by all media, the amount of organisation, preparation and co-ordination that goes into all the funerals I look after not just that particular funeral, I treat as a privilege to able to organise. I trust you are all professionals yourself which I respect, but what you offer is a jumble of different things. I am also looking at your bronze silver etc etc plans, again its very interesting to say the least.”

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Ooops, we do seem to have upset someone. Never were the words ‘I’m just a soul whose intentions are good, oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood’ so appropriate.

Looking at the wording of what we’d written to see what could possibly have caused so much offence the only thing we could think of was that we should have qualified the sentence “These services are ones which are not undertaken by the funeral director so, by taking them on, Lovingly Managed aims to relieve the bereaved of still more of the administrative burden associated with organising a funeral” by adding the words, ‘as a general rule’ after the word ‘not’ i.e. ‘These services are ones which are not, as a general rule, undertaken by the funeral director so, …………’.  Or maybe the misunderstanding arose because by stressing the word not he thought we were somehow being critical of the service FDs provide when, in fact, our intention was to stress that our services don’t impinge on those provided by the FD but merely complement them.

When we set up Lovingly Managed, we researched where the funeral director’s service ends, AS A GENERAL RULE, and looked at where we could pick up any slack and offer additional services that would relieve the bereaved of more of the administrative burden that arises  in the immediate aftermath of a death.  In addition to that, we have all arranged funerals of close family members so know from personal experience what additional help we might have wanted which wasn’t part of our funeral directors’ service portfolios. This is in no way meant as a criticism of the service offered by funeral directors, just a statement of fact. Every business has to decide the scope of their service, what they will do, what they won’t, where their service ends or you could go on and on.

Obviously, from what our detractor has written, he won’t be interested in working with us because he offers all these services himself. Good for him. No one is forcing him to work with us; no one is forcing anyone to work with us. We have a service which we believe could be of benefit to funeral directors, not necessarily all of them, and their clients and it’s there if they want to avail themselves of it. If not, so be it. And, as it was an internal industry magazine, it’s obvious that it was not our intention to denigrate the service provided by funeral directors with the general public. But what I find perplexing is why he should take such offence at our service to the point that the tone of his email becomes vaguely threatening. He is going to ‘go through our web site with a fine tooth comb and write to give his findings to the relevant funeral organisations and he is going to express what he finds to other funeral directors’. I’m not sure what he thinks he’s going to find but he seems pretty determined to be as down on us as he can be as well as to actively undermine us to others and all this without ever having spoken to us.

Contrary to this attitude, Denise and Sharon recently attended SAIF’s Welsh Regional Meeting and Christmas Dinner and met several funeral directors who felt our business concept had merit and were interested in exploring how we might potentially work with them so we are encouraged that there is acceptance within the independent FD sector; hopefully the suspicious will be a small minority.

Denise, Sharon and I started this business because we believe we offer a valuable service that bereaved people will find helpful at a particularly difficult time in their lives, a view which is regularly reinforced when we speak to members of the public. We are therefore saddened that this particular individual seems to wish to attack our credibility and read the worst into what are genuinely good intentions.

PS: Next day …….

Oh, and then we received this one from someone who chose to contact us totally anonymously from one of those web sites where you can set up a bogus email address. I wonder why?!  May I just point out that the spelling mistakes are those of the author, so have a read and decide who is the ‘unprofessional’ one between us.

From: daffyduck@*************.com [mailto:daffyduck@**************.com]
Sent: 12 December 2011 14:27
To: info@lovinglymanaged.com
Subject: Lovingly Managed – Feedback
Name: Walt disney
Email: daffyduck@**************.com

Feedback: what a mickey mouse outfit you are, totally unprofessional chancers wanting to make money by offering deflunct services. It amazes us how you get away with what you offer and the price.. property seraches! room clearance! end of life planning! help with moving! escort service! why not add walt disney production!…

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We all worry about our children when they’re small, and as they’re growing up, and do all we can to make their lives safe and happy. For most of us though, by the time they are grown up, we can relax a bit knowing that, in the main, they’re finally able to take care of themselves, although it doesn’t necessarily stop us from worrying. When the time comes for us to shake off our mortal coils, our offspring are usually middle-aged with young adult children of their own.

Sadly, some parents never get to this point. Depending on the degree to which their particular condition impacts on their ability to live independent lives, special needs children may very well rely on their parents, to a greater or lesser extent, for the whole of their parents’ lives. An almost universal worry of parents of special needs children is what will happen to them after they, the parents, are no longer around. There may be other children in the picture but even then parents can feel guilty about leaving them with this additional responsibility. Also, as no one can predict the future, there are no guarantees that brothers or sisters will, in fact, outlive their special needs sibling.

Of course, as people with special needs age and their parents die, the state could more than likely take ultimate responsibility for their care and, if required, for their burial and cremation when they pass on. We’re not criticising what the state provides as we’re sure that, in the absence of parents or other family members, the social workers and carers who are looking after these adults at the time of their death do their absolute best to give them a dignified funeral. But wouldn’t it bring greater peace of mind to know exactly what kind of send off your child was going to receive?

Parents can plan NOW for the passing of their special needs child, regardless of their current age, specifying the details of any funeral service, selecting readings, music, flowers, type of coffin and burial, location of final resting place and write a personal tribute to their child which could then be incorporated into a eulogy at the time of their passing. As it’s unlikely that a special needs adult will ever be in a position to plan their own funeral, it makes perfect sense for parents to make these decisions rather than professional carers, no matter how well they have come to know the child as an adult and how well meaning they are.

Lovingly Managed offers a service by which we take instructions from parents regarding the funeral of a special needs child which we can ensure are carried out at the time of their passing. Even though we personally may have passed on ourselves, our business will go on and of course copies of the plan can be provided to family, friends, carers or local authorities for future use and knowledge.

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