Gravesite care when you can’t get there
Dear Savvy Senior,
Do you know of any services or organizations that provide gravesite care and decorating? My 82-year-old mother cannot take care of dad’s grave anymore, and I don’t live nearby to do it either.
Depending on where your dad is buried, there’s actually a hodgepodge of places you can turn to for gravesite grooming, decorating, and special care when you can’t get there. Here’s what you should know.
As a general rule, most cemeteries only provide basic grounds maintenance like mowing the grass and trash pickup. Special gravesite care is almost always up to the family. But for elderly seniors who have trouble getting around, or for families who live a distance from their loved one’s burial place and can’t get back very often, what options are available? Here are several to check into.
A good starting point is to call a friend or family member in the area, or contact your parent’s church or religious affiliation to see if they would be willing to help you. If that’s not a possibility, contact some local funeral homes or the cemetery staff where your dad is buried to see if they offer any gravesite services or know of anyone who does.
If you don’t have any luck there, another option is to hire a gravesite care company. These are small individually owned businesses that provide services like plot maintenance including grass trimming and weeding, headstone cleaning and restoration, flower and wreath deliveries and more. And, so you know the work was completed or the flowers were delivered, many companies will take pictures of the gravesite and e-mail or mail them to you.
There are literally dozens of small businesses that provides gravesite care services in communities or regions across the U.S. To find them, try contacting your nearby memorial society or local funeral consumer alliance program (see www.funerals.org/affiliates-directory or call 802-865-8300 for contact information). These are volunteer groups that offer a wide range of information on local funeral and cremation providers, cemeteries and more. They may be able to refer you to a local service -- if one exists. You can also do a search online. To do this, go to any Internet search engine and type in “grave care services” plus your city or state.
If you can’t find a local service to help you, check into some national companies like Grave Groomers (gravegroomers.com), which has 22 different businesses in 12 states. Or Gravesite Masters (gravesitemasters.com, 877-476-6687), which provides a wide array of services nationwide through its nearly 200 subcontractors around the United States.
The cost for most gravesite care services can range from $30 to $50 for flower and wreath deliveries, $20 to $60 for plot grooming, and $40 to $150 for headstone cleaning and memorial restoration. Special discounts for multiple gravesite services and visits may also exist.
Savvy Tip: If you’re looking to decorate your dad’s grave with fresh cut flowers or live plants, another option is to call a local florist to see if they can make a delivery directly to his gravesite. Many florists will accommodate this request if you provide them the cemetery location and plot number, but you probably won’t get a photo verifying the delivery.
Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC “Today” show and author of The Savvy Senior book. Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit http://SavvySenior.org .
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