17. Jim Keith

Dr. Debi Lynes speaks with Jim Keith of Keith Funeral And Cremation Services

(duration 37 minutes 42 seconds)

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Takeaways

Talking about death and dying is a natural part of life. And that hiring someone that you trust and develop a relationship with is going to be really important to celebrate the legacy of your loved one. And Jim shared today that one of the most important things to remember is that developing a relationship with your funeral director can really be helpful to make a tough time easier.

Transcript

Debi Lynes 0:03 – Hi, and welcome to aging in place for every stage in life. What if you could visit or have a home that would accommodate anyone? at any age, any physical ability at any time? How cool would that be? That’s what we’re doing here at Aging in Place. Podcast me because I’m a doctor of psychology and I specialize in physical spaces and health and wellness. Also, I love designing with intent at any age. Why now, because we the baby boomers want to age in place gracefully, and we want our families around us as much as we can. And why you the audience, because we want you to experience what it’s like to have a home that safe, aesthetically pleasing, and that you can live in at any age, with any ability at any time. I’d like to introduce you now to Aging in Place Podcast for every stage in life.

Debi Lynes 1:03 – Hi and welcome to Aging in Place Podcast. I’m Dr. Debi Lynes. I am here today with my friend Jim Keith. And where, you know, it’s really interesting that we’re talking about dying today we’re talking not just about the process, we had hospice come on, and it was really amazing. We talked about palliative care and options about quality of life when you’re through the dying process. And now what I think what we’re going to talk about today is, is the next step from the point of view of both the family, children and really what needs to happen. So again, Jim owns Keith Funeral Home here in Hilton Head, South Carolina. But as you know, we’re kind of talking to everyone nationally, and it was interesting and even preparing for this. Talking about I didn’t realize that there were other options available other than going through traditional funeral homes. And it’s, you know, being an old school girl, it’s just caught me off guard.

Jim Keith 2:12 – Well, it’s interesting that because, you know, you talked about this being national, but when you think about the makeup of Hilton Head and look at where Hilton Head draws from, and we have people here from probably all 50 states.

Debi Lynes 2:25 – Yeah, I think you’re right.

Jim Keith 2:26 – And so a lot of the stuff that we talked about, maybe they’re here for six months, maybe they’re here for 12 months. Maybe they’re just here as snowbirds for three months. But it reaches out and you know, we can talk to them and they can understand what we’re doing.

Debi Lynes 2:38 – Can I ask you a broad spectrum question? First, I’m 66 years old. My mom died three years ago, my dad’s 91 years old and looks good.

Jim Keith 2:45 – for now.

Debi Lynes 2:46 – Pretty good. Dang, talk about irreverent and whoa. Anyway. At what point do you think a family should begin to consider what their wishes are for when they die?

Jim Keith 3:00 – Well, I mean, that’s a tough question. If you look at traditional stuff you say maybe in your 70s. Okay, but you see people just have a guy today who’s 60. Last week, I had a lady that was 47. And while those people had existing conditions that the family knew, sure, that’s the worst thing when someone has an existing condition, then you have to say, oh, my goodness, this isn’t gonna be very long, we have to go make arrangements. Well, that’s a tough position to put people in, because, you know, it’s so premature. It’s 20 years, supposed to do that. But in the 70s, I think it’s a fair amount. I get people that come in and say, Hey, you know, mom’s not doing so good. Well, How old’s your mom? Well, 94 and…

Debi Lynes 3:45 – you’re like, she’s had a good life.

Jim Keith 3:47 – She’s lived a good life. But, you know, maybe that’s something we should have thought about 10 or 12 years ago, but people don’t want to make that commitment because they feel that as soon as they say, I’m going to make pre-arrangements for mom or dad. That’s signing the warrant that they’re going to go ahead and go

Debi Lynes 4:03 – Do kids typically do it for their parents or do at 66? I think because you’ve educated me. I know, you know me, I went to Keith Funeral Home, and I fell in love with it because it has a retail section, which of course, we always have to take advantage of. There are amazing things in there. And I think rather than being afraid to be honest with you, you know, we talked about it. I looked at beautiful urns, I looked at lots of different opportunities and ways to be creative ways to really, to honor the way I live.

Jim Keith 4:40 – You know, that’s exactly right. You want to honor the way the person lived and, and some people, you know, you’ll get these people that will say, just throw me out with the trash because they’re afraid to spend money, but when you look at that person, nobody’s going to throw a loved one out the trash. No one’s gonna do that. But when they say follow my mother’s or grandfather’s wishes or something like that. And he maybe he was a veteran. And so we did a nice little Veteran Service. Maybe he was a carpenter and we can bring some stuff maybe that he made or woodworker or something like that and just display.  It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it can be classy. And I’m a big fan of saying if you spend a bunch of money on a funeral, you’re mad at your money or mad at your kids. You know, like that? Yeah, it was just a casket, for instance, a casket. Your casket that is $1,600 does exactly the same thing as the casket that’s $5,000. Okay, it’s just not as fancy and doesn’t have all the decorations. Now, the casket companies don’t want you to know that. Okay, but when you put it in a concrete vault, it’s gonna last the same amount of time theoretically and who is gonna be around a couple hundred years to check, see if it’s right. Cremation has taken over.

Debi Lynes 5:55 – Okay. How is it evolved over the past 10-20 years and where do you see these services in the future

Jim Keith 6:00 – Well,  when I got into the business… this is my 30th year of funeral service. We were about nationally we were probably 7% or 8% cremation. Now we’re over 50%. And if you go into states like Florida, Arizona, maybe California it’s really into the 60s or 70s [percent cremation]. Here on Hilton Head, we’re almost at 85%. And the more money you have and more education, you have more likely you are to cremate.

Debi Lynes 6:28 – And why is that?

Jim Keith 6:30 – Just I don’t know. It’s just that as our families change the old days know people who graduate high school, go to work at the factory, marry their high school sweetheart, move down the street and live in the same hometown. Well, they go around your families are spread out all over the country. They have different venues that they do. They go to college in different places here. And so here in Hilton Head, well, we might be sitting here in Hilton Head but someone might have family 200 miles away, 2000 miles away. And so to have a burial where you’re going to bring those people together in a finite amount of time, okay? I mean.

Debi Lynes 7:11 – That’s true.

Jim Keith 7:10 – Yeah. But when you’re cremate, you can say, okay, we’re not gonna do that this week. We can do it next week or next month.

Debi Lynes 7:15 – Ah, so it’s more convenient,

Jim Keith 7:17 – More convenient. It’s a lot less expensive.

Debi Lynes 7:19 – Are there typical services? Or is there a typical protocol for the way things happen? if let’s say for example, someone’s in hospice, or there’s an accident or I don’t even know what the protocol is. If there is one.

Jim Keith 7:32 – Well,  usually when someone is in hospice, you know, that that’s gonna be a limited amount of time. And the hospices here are so good. Oh, my gosh, yeah. They’re so good. And they will come in and they’ll say, look, maybe your mom has six months, maybe my mother was on hospice a day and a half. And so we thought it’s gonna be longer, but it wasn’t. But when you get to that point, then you know, it’s probably time to maybe make a phone call. Get the family together. And agree on what’s going to happen. The worst thing that can happen if someone dies, you come into the funeral home and you have three kids or four kids and two people say we’re going to bury and two people say we’re going to cremate. And now, you know now that’s just not good. Is it important to have a relationship with the person who is managing and handling the funeral? I think I do, too. I think so too. And that’s what we try to do is we try to go old school. I think I did something after the hurricane. When hurricane was there. We had a lady in our cooler. There’s a whole story written and I didn’t evacuate because I couldn’t leave her. You know, and it turned out if the son called me on Saturday, the hurricane hit Saturday morning, he called Saturday and said, Hi, mom make it through the storm. And what am I gonna say? I don’t know.

Debi Lynes 8:48 – Yes, right, right. Oh, yeah. I never thought about that. Yeah.

Jim Keith 8:51 – So I have an obligation to that person. And what anyhow, we said that our differences were the same was Same as that old school funeral director that you meet and play golf with. He goes to your rotary, he goes to your PTA meetings, you meet them in the grocery store and you know you stop and talk. And that’s just something that…

Debi Lynes 9:13 – It is trusted professional for lack of a better word.

Jim Keith 9:15 – Well, why not? Be it your doctor if you know someone like that, you’d stop and talk to them, you wouldn’t just walk past them in, in the grocery store or at church and you know, we get a lot. We do a lot of stuff with the church, we do a lot of stuff to community, we do a lot of stuff the veterans, and that’s important because I think it’s it’s not just giving back, but it’s being part of recognizing and honoring people for who they are while they’re alive.

Debi Lynes 9:39 – What’s really interesting to me is when my mom was dying, it was gonna brothers, sisters, grandkids, the whole family. It was like you became part of the family you a couple of months. Literally, we would drive by and run in and just to say hello, and I think what’s up surprised me the most and everyone was how you made the whole process seamless. And you weren’t and grieving was wonderful. You allowed all of that. But there was also an element of I don’t want to say fun, but just celebration of life. And

Jim Keith 10:19 – I think a lot like in your case, familiarity. I mean, your, your husband, Mike and I were out to throw knives at a tree

Debi Lynes 10:24 – So funny.

Jim Keith 10:28 – Stuff like that. So that’s developing relationships that you don’t get when you get online.

Debi Lynes 10:35 – Stay with us. Hang on. We’re going to come right back in 30 seconds just to chat a little bit more with Jim Keith.

Debi Lynes 10:40 – Hi, I’m Dr. Debi Lynes. Design elements are psychologically and physically supportive and conducive to health and wellness. To learn more about what Lynes on Design can do for you. For more information on certified aging in place and facilitative and supportive design, look for us at lynesondesign.com. That’s L-Y-N-E-S on design dot com.

Debi Lynes 11:07 – We are back with my friend Jim Keith. And we are talking in this session or in this segment I should say about the pre-needs of people. And why is that so important? And what does that mean?

Jim Keith 11:20 – Well, you know, pre-needs basically encompasses pre-planning your funeral. Or your parents or someone like that. Now what happens is perhaps you have an idea, but what you want to be done, but you haven’t communicated that to your kids. So you don’t talk about it isn’t something that Sunday dinner you say, Hey, man, I’m gonna be tossed off the back here, right?

Debi Lynes 11:47 – Viking Funeral

Jim Keith 11:48 – Yeah, that’s but you don’t talk like that. But it’s so important that you sit down and just talk to your kids and let them know what you want.

Debi Lynes 12:00 – It was really interesting, Jim. About a month ago, I went to my financial advisor. And she says, you know, you’re 66 I’m wondering if you want to consider. Hmm, you know, when you die What do you want that to look like, you know? And I’m like, “No, thank you”. And she’s like, “well, let’s revisit this again.” And it was funny because your voice to me was resonating.

Jim Keith 12:19 – Well you can, if you want to talk to a financial planner, okay, you know, people come to me all the time. Some people prepay and some people don’t and I will tell them there are advantages and disadvantages to both. Okay, the advantages to prepaying for instance, let’s say you come into me And you give me $2,000. Okay, and that’s gonna be for cremation, okay. prepay. Well, I don’t take control that money. It goes into irrevocable insurance policy. That means that I guarantee that no matter how long you live or what happens to my prices, that I will never come back to your family and say, give me more money. No, cremation rates or prices went up $200 and death certificates went up $300. And, you know, give me some more money? Well, I don’t do that. I hope that the interest in that insurance policy stays current with inflation rates. And usually it does. It’s very close. Now, the good thing about that also is if you prepay and you know, people are living longer, and they can go through their money faster,

Debi Lynes 13:22 – yes. Oh, one less thing to worry about.

Jim Keith 13:25 – Yeah. Because once you get into the Medicaid situation, or you have to go into assisted living and you’re out of money, then they start looking at your assets. Anything that you have put away for a burial is not touchable. Okay. So, yeah. So that’s good to know. That’s good to know. And we do a lot of that, too. Now, I get a lot of people who call him saying, Hey, you know, Mom’s going to go on Medicaid. On Tuesday. I have to come get rid of her money. That’s a great problem with your business. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. But that’s just something now the disadvantages of prepaid If you can’t get that money back, okay? Let’s say not every family’s The Brady Bunch, okay, so you put away say $10,000 for burial. You die. Maybe one of your kids who is less than stellar decides that he wants to take that $10,000 cremate you and take the other $8,000. If you prepay and do it in advance, they can’t do that, okay. You make it a irrevocable. You can’t do that. And it happens, you know, not everybody’s a Brady Bunch, like, exactly, but they do that now. If you don’t prepay, okay, and say my costs go up, all right when the price goes up over 10-15 years, and you have to pay the price that they’re going right? So if you have money if you have a good amount of money in the bank, if you have life insurance, then maybe you don’t necessarily need to prepay at all. Always pre-arranged. You should always write something down and say this is what I want.

Debi Lynes – 15:00
What does that look like? What are some things that you should say? I mean, is it that I want music?

Jim Keith 15:04 -It well, if you’re gonna have a song a chef, okay, the main things are going to be cremated or buried two biggest things. And then are we going to have a service somewhere? What are we going to do with the ashes? No, the technical term now as cremated remains, but what are we going to do with the cremated remains? you have three basic things you can do, you can keep them, you can scatter them, or you can bury them. Now they have funny things. You can put them into shotgun shells, you can put them into firework, you can make them into diamonds, you can put them on a reef and make artificial reefs with them if that’s what really. But all that stuff stems from the cremation rate because the people who were making all the money in the 80s and early 90s by selling caskets don’t sell as many caskets anymore.  So they’re trying to create product because there’s another need out there. It all stems from the cremation rate.

Debi Lynes 15:59 – Which is really interesting. One of the things that you were so good with us about is you really acted as sort of a point person, and also as a resource guiding us to wherever we needed to be. Do you find that you do that quite often?

Jim Keith 16:20
Yeah. I mean, my title is funeral director. I’m a funeral director. Not really a mortician or an undertaker. But they do the same thing. But a funeral director does that they direct the family. You try to take charge, put them in the right direction. And it’s not like herding cats. Sometimes can be. You want to keep them going. You already know where they want to get to. You just try to get them to that point in a way that they get there on their own. And they get there without undue stress. And they don’t have to make extra decisions. And you don’t want them calling their sisters or brothers and saying “What should we do? What should we do? What should we do?” Pretty much you just say this is what’s going to get done. If anyone has an issue, then we’ll address it.

Debi Lynes 17:09 – How many what percentage you think of folks are living here now who when they die want to go home or live out of town or?

Jim Keith 17:21 – A lot of people will go out of town. If they’re going to be cremated, they’ll be cremated here and then maybe buried in Michigan or Ohio or Kentucky or Pennsylvania or somewhere like that. If they’re going to be buried, then most of the time, we would bomb here and then ship them up to whatever. Like last year I went to Mississippi, Alabama, Virginia, Tennessee, and Georgia, all within about a three-month stretch. Now I do that because if I drive that person, for instance, an airfare tentative states probably gonna be about $650. Okay, and then you have to hire a funeral home on the other end, that’s probably they’re gonna charge $2,500. Okay, I can do it for, let’s say $1,200 dollars, okay? And I save you the airfare and I save you the price, you know, half the price. So the other place, and I make money that I wouldn’t normally make, and you save money that you’re going to spend. And so it’s able to really help the family when saving not just taking money that way you have continuity of service too.

Debi Lynes 18:27 – I don’t know if this is interesting. And again, oftentimes, I think this is a subject that for many people is pretty difficult, but I think we all have the same question. When your loved one dies, and they’re at home because we’re talking about aging in place. So my father, mother, sister, brother is here at home. And what is the protocol? What do you do? Not you , but any of us. Well, if there are any of us, what do we do? Do we call 911?

Jim Keith 18:50 – Well see, that’s the thing. If you’re under hospice care, then you call the hospice, okay. And the hospice will pronounce [the death], if they’re not already here, they will come here and pronounces [the death], then they will call me or you can call me or give me a heads up but I can’t do a thing until someone comes and pronounces. Okay? If the person is not under hospice care, okay, say just dies without any warning, then you call 911. The advantages or the disadvantages of that are the fire trucks and ambulances and the police are going to come in the coroner is going to come and you know, it’s just a big production. And that’s the disadvantage to that, but you have to do it.

Debi Lynes 19:33 – Do people call him rely on you went and asked you about things like their will or law or probate or I mean…

Jim Keith 19:43 – They ask me, but I don’t answer those questions because I’m not an attorney. Okay. And I don’t want to give advice. That’s not correct. Laws a little different. I came down from Delaware and Pennsylvania, And the South Carolina laws are going to be a little bit different on certain things and I don’t want to get into that. So I have a couple attorneys that I really like that are very fair and I give them the notice and the number and they call.

Debi Lynes 20:09 – Well, we’re gonna take another quick break, we’re gonna come back and we talk about some trending that’s going on in this field. Terrific.

Henrik de Gyor 20:17 – For more podcast episodes, links, information and media inquiries, please visit our website at AginginPlacepodcast.com as we transition through life with the comfort and ease you deserve, discover how you can create a home that will adapt to you as you journey through life and the changes it will bring. Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. As our host, Debi Lynes and her expert guests discuss relevant topics to creating home for all decades in life. Don’t miss our weekly episodes of Aging in Place Podcast for every stage in life.

Debi Lynes 20:54 – We are back here with Jim Keith and we’re going to talk about what really happened to the body after death.

Jim Keith 21:02 – Well, ultimately you have to decide the end process in this position is it gonna be cremated or buried? So if it’s, it’s gonna be buried and you’re gonna have a view and then we embalm. Okay, and then you have a casket viewing if you want, if you’re going to be buried without that viewing and then you don’t necessarily have to embalm. Now in the old days in the prior to about 1985 anytime someone died, the funeral director showed up, and he took him back and he embalmed them and then you came in, you picked out a casket, whether you wanted it or not, okay, and all that kind of stuff changed when the FTC got involved…Federal Trade Commission. They got involved with regulating some things that funeral directors did, and a lot of it was bad. It was just arbitrarily charging outrageous amounts of money without giving the family of choice. Now we’re very regulated we have to disclose in writing at the time of arrangements, what your options are what are required by law and what are not required by law. And I think it’s good for everybody. So if you’re going to be buried, then we go to the cemetery, we get a vault. A vault is the concrete case that the casket goes in a cemetery. They’re required by just about every Cemetery in every state now. And the reason for that is because if you were to put a casket in the ground without evolved over a period of time, not very long, maybe just a few days or a few weeks, that ground really settled down, then you can collapse the casket and, you know, you don’t want to go to the cemetery. See all these now? Yeah, if it’s a cremation, here in South Carolina, we can’t cremate with a death certificate. So we have to get a death certificate filed first. And the way that evolves is, when you come and make arrangements with me, I get all the vital statistics for the deceased. Parents names, mother’s maiden name, place of birth, Social Security, highest-level of education, occupation, that kind of stuff. And then I put it on the computer, and depending on who’s going to sign that death certificate, it could be a doctor, it could be the coroner. I hit the little send button and it goes to that person. Then they review it. They pull the medical file and say, okay, she had COPD or heart disease or stroke or something like that. Then they’ll fill in their little part hit the send button again and notifies me and we go pick up a death certificate, take that with the paperwork we need for cremation, the coroner signs off and gives us a cremation authorization.

Debi Lynes 23:42 – A little personal anecdote part of the reason I chose you not only because you’re so articulate and you know this nationally, but also because when my mom was dying, we spent quite a bit of time together and, and I must say, I was not thrilled to meet you. But then when I did it, it really took a shift the whole process of my mom dying took a shift for my entire family. For these reasons, you handheld us through the entire process from taking my dad to different areas where my mom could live after she died, whether it was, you know, the National Cemetery and something you taught me there was about a National Cemetery

Jim Keith 24:24 –  All the national cemeteries. What a great deal for people if you are a veteran. Listen to this. If you are a veteran, you can… an honorably discharged veteran… you can go into any National Cemetery and be buried for free along with your spouse. Now, that’s a big deal because you still buy a grave and just about any cemetery it’s going to be at least $2,000. It’s going to be $1,500 dollars open that grave. If you get one of these big corporate cemeteries, they’re going to be $2,500 or $3,000 can be anywhere from $1,500 to $2,500. And then your marker. And you get all that for free at a Veteran Cemetery.

Debi Lynes 25:03 – And I think for my dad, it was such a gift. Because it gives them a place to go. And the other thing that was interesting, Jim is my parents lived in Ohio all their lives. And so the big consideration what my dad was like, we would have taken my mom home, and you sat and talked with him for hours about the kids coming here? Everyone comes here. You want to continue to visit your wife here. So I think that what people don’t realize is that there’s a whole process to really what you do.

Jim Keith 25:36 -. There is a process and but it’s not cookie cutter. It’s tailored to individual families. So you were really easy to get I knew you before your mom, right? And so I kind of knew where you were coming and then can I hear in your house and your whole place here so welcoming, you know, I haven’t come over here where there hasn’t been six cars. 20 people around.

Debi Lynes 26:00
Livestock. Yeah, chickens.

Jim Keith 26:05 – Yeah, exactly. And, and that’s cool. And that’s so welcoming. And, but there are also people that are very standoffish, they always have been wary of dealing with anyone, they don’t know that they feel like someone’s going to try to take advantage of them or maybe pull one over on something like that. And, unfortunately, they’re out there. But you have to deal with those people differently than I did with you.

Debi Lynes 26:27 – But your gift was helping my dad and my brothers and sisters who… my brothers and sisters who didn’t really know you sort of helping them understand the process in ways that we all could understand because it was different for everyone. Yeah. So I think for many of us, we’re very grateful, at least for my family, and I think it was such a learning process. It demystified it. I’m not so scared now of the whole process. You know, and I think that’s amazing. And I know…Go ahead.

Jim Keith 26:57 – No, I was gonna say one of the things that you just said Stop. That’s what I feel a director does. Now, if you go into your little, little funeral homes up in your little towns where you grew up and stuff like that, that’s what a funeral director does. Unfortunately, trains in field service have been consolidated. Got it. These corporations show up. So you call me I have some phone 24 hours a day. Someone dies. I’m here. Correct. I’ve make the funeral arrangements. I handle the funeral. I go to the cemetery. I’m there 24 hours, seven days a week …forever. When you have a question, you have my cell phone number that you can text me what we have. And then that’s, that’s being a funeral director. But the corporation’s come in and all they are they want to buy up places. It’s all volume. You know, you’re just, you know, your 2020 01 64 you know, the 64th person who died in January of 20. That’s who you are.

Debi Lynes 27:58 – So there are companies that are coming in to do that Gotta pay attention.

Jim Keith 28:02 – Gotta pay attention, you got to say, “Are you locally owned,” if they’re not locally owned, then I’m just going to say beware because you’re going to pay way, way, way more. Just, for example, I know the local funeral home, it was just purchased, really just purchased by a corporation and one of the employees came to me and he said, Man, we had these urns that we were selling for $200. They marked him up after the acquisition to $600.

Debi Lynes 28:29 – Okay, it’s taking advantage of vulnerable people. I hate that.

Jim Keith 28:32 – but you know, so for instance, to call corporate and it’s not just here in Hilton Head, it can be anywhere, you’re going to get an answering service after hours, then they’re going to pay an on-call person, then they’re going to dispatch a removal team or transfer team to come to your house. So now you’ve spoken to an answering service have spoken to a funeral director, maybe you’ve spoken to two people that who are …who knows who they are. They just happen to be on that night, then you go in the next day and make arrangements, probably meeting somebody else. Now three or four days down the road, you’re going to go to church and they’re going to meet someone else. And there’s no way that continuity is not good for developing relationships or you having a warm, fuzzy, you know in a really tough time.

Debi Lynes 29:16 – Yeah. And here, I thought you were going to talk about trends like putting ashes in golf balls. Well, we did that.

Jim Keith 29:25 – We did that. So I don’t know when you brought that up. We I had a very good friend who, while she was alive and before she was sick, said you know, whenever I die, I want to be in a golf ball. And then Good. I’m glad I don’t have to worry about that. She got pancreatic cancer and died. So I found a golf ball company that would cut the golf balls and half all of them at print her name on it, and they shipped them to me and we put her ashes in the golf balls and then glue them shut. And then the next one had a little sleeve, a little cardboard box with it. And then we went out and we had a service at Haig Point over the ocean, which is where we threw the golf balls in the water.

Debi Lynes 30:02 – Well, and I told you that when I would go to the funeral home, it would actually be a lot of fun because there was so much cool stuff to see. Yeah. And a lot of people love to sprinkle or spread ashes some of the share some of the things that people do, because it’s really cool.

Jim Keith 30:15 – Yeah, we some of this stuff is cool and not so cool. I’ve had people put cell phones in the casket not tell me and then that had a service and ring, ring, ring, ring. You can put anything you want in the casket. You just got to tell me. Yeah, they’ll put golf balls, whiskey bottles, mini bottles, and then not tell you, you know, they’re up there to sort of see the slide and stuff under the blank. And you go up the chairs up the stairs at the church and it says clang, clang, clang, and you just go. “Okay guys, what did you put in there?”

Debi Lynes 30:49 – Yeah, what’s in there? Oh, that has to be fun. I picked you got some fun stories.

Jim Keith 30:53 – Yeah, there are some stories but you know, a lot of it is just trying to go with the flow and and Let people put in I buried my grandfather with his favorite putter. Yeah, I wish I had that putter back now because valuable probably was

Debi Lynes 31:10 – I saw something. Was it a fish? No, it’s a turtle the turtle. I love this.

Jim Keith 31:16 – Yeah, this turtle is a biodegradable turtle. And these people painted it and this guy who died was a waterman around here in Hilton Head. And so they came in and they got this turtle and they painted it really looks cool. And then we put the ashes and they went out to the beach and they took the turtle out on a paddleboard. Yeah. And, and we put it in water and a real sea turtle came up and nudged it.

Debi Lynes 31:40 – So cool. Yeah. So how to bring beauty to someone’s life.

Jim Keith 31:46 – You have to remember, and I’m gonna say this is Christian realized that, you know, if someone dies, they’re in heaven, and they’re in a better place. And when we grieve, we grieve for ourselves. Because if you really want to grieve We agree for you shouldn’t agree for someone that’s in heaven or in a better place. And sometimes you see people that have just suffered so long. And you know, death, although it’s tough to deal with, is best.

Debi Lynes 32:12 – It is part of life.

Jim Keith 32:15 – Yeah, it is part of life, but so many people cling on and you know, they fight it. And those are the most difficult people to deal with. But when you have someone that’s, you know, in a good place, and we can make a celebration of life and we can say, look what great things this person did look at all the people she or he touched.

Debi Lynes 32:32 – When you come when someone comes in, do you consider culture do you ask for cultural mores or, or norms for exam, for example, if it is a Jewish funeral, or if it’s a Buddist or whatever it is,

Jim Keith 32:45 – All those I’ve done. I’ve done Jewish, I’ve done Buddhists. I’ve done Muslim, and you have to be cognizant of what that’s like. But one of the best ways to do that is just ask them. You can say, “Hey, I haven’t done a Jewish service in five or six years. Are you orthodox or reformed?” Interesting, you know, so what do we have to do? And maybe you just touch base with the Rabbi, you know that the Muslims are going to bury the next day or that day if they possibly can, and that person who’s deceased gets your best effort, no matter what. And, and that’s just something that that’s what a professional will do.

Debi Lynes 33:28 – Do you find that people want to put ashes in urns? Is that what most people choose?

Jim Keith 33:39 – Oh, they put it in. They put it in urns of scatter. We have those little mini urns. She talked Yeah, I love those. We had a friend who died my wife took her to Aruba and scattered some of her ashes in Aruba. We have people that she’s you know, the shotgun shells. I’ve done the shotgun shells, the jewelry ..put making them into diamonds, right? That’s cool. It is cool, but it is so expensive. It is just spending that kind of money.

Debi Lynes 34:04 – Well, who knew that talking about a subject like death could be entertaining, as well as engaging and educational?

Jim Keith 34:13 -You did because we’ve done this for a while.

Debi Lynes 34:14 – This is true, and I’m very grateful for you. Yeah. Jim Keith, thank you so much. Before we go, can you give us your name and phone number, how we can reach you and perhaps your website?

Jim Keith 34:25 – That’s Jim Keith. Keith Funeral Services. 63 Arrow Road on the Hilton Head Island. And my website is keithfuneral.com. My personal email is jim@keithfuneral.com. And our phone number is 843-715-4584. Thank you. I answer the phone all the time.

Debi Lynes 34:44 – And I can attest to that. Thank you so much for joining us and thank all of you for joining us here on Aging in Place Podcast. Have a wonderful week.

Debi Lynes 34:54 – I’d like to introduce you to a friend of mine. Tracy Tracy is naturally curious and always Creative. And when we were doing the Aging in Place Podcast, she said, there are so many quick tips that I can think of offhand. My response, who knew she’s going to be with us every week, giving us a quick tip. And to hint, that is a practical application.

Tracy Snelling 35:22 – Thanks, Debi. simplify, simplify, simplify. Again, when aging in place, it is all about your needs and not your wants. Read that magazine and then donate it to your hairdresser. Stacks of magazines on the floor can be a little slippery when stepped on. Give your adult children your parents China you have buried in the closet. The pleasure of them using the China while preparing you a dinner will bring back stories for you to share. And don’t cringe if a plate gets broken. Remember the story Beauty and the Beast? Chip the teacup? That cup had plenty of character then the cup that didn’t. My mother service Thanksgiving on a platter that had so many chips and cracks. We all wondered how it could hold the turkey. The good part. For each crack and chip, my mother could tell you how it happened, how my dad jumped and tried to scare as she was reaching into the cabinet to retrieve the platter. The crack from my older brother dropped the gravy bowl on it and splattered everyone on the table. So give it away. Simplify what’s around you. Who knew the way that simplicity can be so missy.

Debi Lynes 36:34 – Jim Keith from Keith Funeral Home was absolutely amazing to talk to and one of the things I learned in the takeaway I want for all of you is to really know that talking about death and dying is a natural part of life. And that hiring someone that you trust and develop a relationship with is going to be really important to celebrate the legacy of your loved one. And Jim shared today that one of the most important things to remember is that developing a relationship with your funeral director can really be helpful to make a tough time easier. I want to thank all of you for joining us here today. on aging in place. Have a wonderful week. Bye-bye.

Henrik de Gyor 37:14 – Aging in Place Podcast is hosted by Debi Lynes and produced by Henrik de Gyor. If you have any comments or questions, send an email to debi@aginginplacepodcast.com We would love to hear from you. If you’re interested in advertising or sponsoring this podcast, email us at pr@aginginplacepodcast.com Thank you for listening to Aging in Place Podcast.

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