FAITH AND SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS

         Part of planning for seniors is considering the organizations to which he or she belongs.  These can be faith communities, formal and informal organizations and/or groups of friends that gather for events.  All of these groups provide meaning to life and create social bonds.  Discussing with family the groups to which a senior belongs can help a senior prioritize the most important associations.  So if changes in health come and a senior moves the senior can seek to get associated with a similar group in the new setting.  Often people want to leave a legacy for the people in these groups.  This could be a donation of funds, a farewell speech, a gift to help members further a goal or a gesture to provide a remembrance.  A senior can ask that people attending a funeral or memorial donate funds to a favorite organization in lieu of flowers.  Communicating with family on a senior’s friends and groups can help the family with the grieving process. Friends can communicate with family stories from shared experiences and let the family know how the senior touched many lives.  Groups may be interested in memorabilia saved by the senior as part of its heritage.  The family can make sure the organization receives the memorabilia.  Therefore it is important to have a conversation between a senior and his or her family on the groups and associations important to the senior.  This conversation will benefit the senior and the family both before and after the senior’s passing.