Skip the box! Choose body donation!
Not only are more people living longer; their older dying age requires more old bodies for medical schools and their budding gerontologists. Body donation is the key; not, medical students going out late at night to source their own cadaver, as was the custom 100 years ago.
The frugal senior will explore interesting alternatives to funeral homes.
A funeral can cost $10,000; cremation can cost $2000; even green burial can cost $1000 and all these require more hassle than you want to force on your heirs.
Think body donation; it costs nothing and you can focus on a convenient and cheap memorial service at a convenient time and place.
See the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act and the states in which it has been adopted.
The best bet may be a medical school body donation. Medical students have become quite civilized. You will not be the butt of their jokes and what was you will be treated with respect. It will be your last good deed.
If you are in New Mexico, contact the University of New Mexico. In other states search the medical school website.
Your driver’s license may authorize organ donations – make sure this does not conflict with your body donation to a medical school. Medical students need all of you, not just the left-overs.
Carry medical school contact numbers with you. In fact, tape the name and number on the back of your driver’s license.
Have the cremains, after the medical school is through with you, put in a plastic bag; that way they will be around for a thousand years.
Check these two cites:
The ability to maneuver has always been important. Loss of job, illness, lack of education, divorce, death, etc. You always need to be able to maneuver and to change. You need to move on from and existing condition.
It is never so important as in old age. You are faced with physical problems, financial problems and mortality problems; just to mention a few. You have less and less ability to deal with them, so preparing for them and being able to maneuver through the last years of life is a real gift. You are in a maze.
PHYSICAL: We all die. Getting to death can be a painful, or at least an uncomfortable process, requiring thought, planning and action. You must not smoke, must not get too fat, must head off those disabilities that you can. Think, flu shot, etc. Exercise is the most important; especially walking which 99% of us can do; and, it doesn’t take much. This will enable you to maneuver in and out of bed, to get to the store, to remain independent. It will also help to prevent falls.
FINANCIAL: Bills don’t stop in old age. You may have social security and/or a pension and/or some savings, but you still have bills. You need to maneuver around the amount available and the expenditures required. You also need to avoid scammers and family members who have their hands out. You need a clear picture of the end of the tunnel and what you need to get there comfortably, even if it means leaving a little on the table at the end.
EMOTIONAL: Your friends, spouses and family members will die. How will this affect you? They will also develop various mental problems to and including Alzheimer’s. These are tough to deal with and you must be flexible so that you can deal with them.
DEATH: You can prepare for this by letting people know what you want. You want to maneuver yourself into a comfortable position without a lot of pain and a reasonable amount of competence and mobility. There is no point in being propped up in front of a TV for the last few years; you might as well get it over with. You will have to maneuver around a number of well-meaning people; and, some not so well-meaning, but planning can do it. There are more and more end-of-life resources available to old people. Know what they are and how them might be useful to you.
COMPETENCY: This is the tricky one; as you slip into incompetency, whether you call it dementia, senior moment, or whatever, you have more and more difficulty making decisions, remembering things and taking rational actions. This requires advance flexibility. You must have senior algorithms in place to deal with your declining years. If not, you will slip into chaos.
The bottom line is to keep loose, maintain as much flexibility as possible and to the extent possible, as IBM once put it: THINK!
I attended a Gray Panthers meeting and heard a speaker on Natural Burial. I was unaware that it was legal, that it was inexpensive, environmentally friendly and for many a better and more natural alternative. I was also unaware how widespread it had become.
Natural Burial of New Mexico, operates La Puerta Natural Burial Ground about 60 miles from Albuquerque. Natural Burial of New Mexico provides an inexpensive, environmentally sound solution to your remains at death. The body only has to be wrapped in an organic wrap; however, Natural Burial of New Mexico can arrange for an acceptable pine casket made by Fathers Building Futures, which provides training and work for fathers that have been in prison. You can do a lot of good at the end of your life.
Once the body is released by Hospice, the hospital, or the Medical Examiner, you can pick it up and take it to La Puerta Natural Burial Ground which is about 60 miles from Albuquerque. If you don’t want to transport the body yourself, and I must admit that I am not sure that I want to load a loved one in the back seat of my car and drive for 60 miles, Natural Burial has an arrangement with a local mortuary to transport the body, or Natural Burial will help you with the transport.
The body can’t be embalmed; if it is, they put it in an adjacent five acre plot so as to maintain the natural burial ground. You can have a natural marker but it has to blend in with the ground.
Natural burial is Kosher.
In addition, they also provide natural burial for pets for about $175.
The cost at the present time for the plot, burial and transportation to the site is $695. This does not include a coffin or cremation.
It relieves one from the stress of the funeral industry and its guilt-inducing arguments.
This is a national thing and a number of funeral homes are getting involved; however, you want to watch out for extras that may add to the cost.
You can read more in National Geographic News.
Natural Burial is available nation-wide and in Canada. You can find a provider on the Green Burial Council Web page.
You can also read up on natural burial on Amazon.