Savvy Senior: what to do with cremated ashes | News, Sports, Jobs


Dear wise senior,

A while ago I saw an article about different ways to scatter someone’s ashes after they were cremated, but I misplaced it. Can you help me with this? I am planning my funeral and would like to include instructions on what to do with my remains that my family will appreciate.

– Plan ahead

Dear Planning,

There are plenty of options when it comes to managing or disposing of your cremated remains after you leave. Your family can keep them, bury them, or scatter them in various imaginative ways that reflect your life and personality. Here are different options to consider.

Scatter them: The most popular option is to scatter your ashes somewhere you loved to be, i.e. a favorite fishing spot, campground, golf course, beach, park or at home. House. If you choose this route, keep in mind that some places, like national parks, require a permit. And many public spaces, such as parks or sports stadiums, may prohibit broadcasting.

Store them at home: Many families choose to keep their loved ones close by storing them at home. If you and your family choose this option, you can purchase a decorative urn from your funeral provider or online at Amazon.com. Or you might want to use an old cookie jar or favorite container that will remind your family of you.

Bury them/bury them: The burial option is good if you want to have a special place for your family to visit. It is also the only option for cremated ashes sanctioned by the Catholic Church, which specifies that the ashes of the dead should be kept in sacred places like a cemetery or columbarium and not kept at home or scattered.

Plant them: If you’re the environmental type, you can have your ashes planted with a tree. There are companies that offer living urns – like TheLivingUrn.com or UrnaBios.com – which mix your ashes with other nutrients that can be used to grow a plant or tree in your garden or at the location of your choice.

Scatter them at sea: If you love the water, there are many companies offering ash scattering services at sea, especially near coastal areas, or your family could rent a boat and do it themselves. There are also companies like http://EternalReefs.com which offer memorials to the reefs so your ashes can rest on the ocean floor.

Scatter them by air: This option will scatter your ashes into the sky so the particles can be blown away. To do this, they could hire a private plane, helicopter, or hot air balloon service, or use a balloon broadcast service like Mesoloft.com. Or they might even send your ashes into space with Celestis.com.

Turn them into a disk: If you love music, a British company called Vinlyly will turn your ashes into a vinyl record. You provide the music (or voice recording) and cover image, and the company creates a memorial your family can listen to for years to come.

Turn them into jewelry or glass: If you like jewelry or glass trinkets, there are companies like http://CloseByMeJewelry.com, http://SpiritPieces.com and http://ArtFromAshes.com – which will turn your ashes into wearable jewelry or glass art memorials.

Come out with a bang: If you are a hunter or gun enthusiast, a company called Holy Smoke will create charged ammo from incinerated remains. Your family can store ammo in the engraved wooden box it comes in, or they can send you on a cannon salute.

Turn them into art: If you love art, have an artist or family member paint your portrait, or picture, with some of your ashes mixed into the paint. Or, if your family loves tattoos, many tattoo artists will mix ashes with ink to create a memorial tattoo.

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, PO Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is an NBC Today contributor and author of “The Savvy Senior.”



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