The death of a loved one is a stressful time for anyone. This stress compounds when the loss is sudden, unexpected, or happens at home. In the wake of such a tragedy, many people have no idea what to do next. So here are some practical tips on what to do after someone dies at home.
Call an Ambulance
You need to call for help before doing anything else. Even if the person is dead, a doctor still needs to declare them deceased. In some cases, a person may have a chance of being revived if paramedics arrive soon enough. Depending on the cause of death, the police may also conduct an investigation. Regardless of the situation, calling 911 will always be your first step.
Make Arrangements for the House
With an unexpected death in your home, the house may be considered a crime scene by the police. If not, you’ll still need to make arrangements to stay somewhere else for a bit while things get cleaned up. If blood or other bodily fluids are involved, you may want to do a quick Google search for death cleanup services near me or ask the officers assigned to your case who they recommend.
Before heading to your alternative housing arrangements, you want to ensure you’ve gathered all the vital paperwork and information you’ll need in the coming days. This could be a will or other documents with funeral or burial preferences. You’ll also want to grab identification papers, banking info, cellphone or contact list, and insurance documents.
Inform Friends and Family
Telling everyone what happened is probably the most difficult step following a loss. To lessen the burden on yourself, you can pick a few people in the deceased’s circle to give the news directly and ask them to get in touch with everyone else. Doing this can be particularly helpful when you don’t necessarily know how to contact everyone.
Make Funeral Arrangements
Now is another time when enlisting help is a good idea. Even if you’re loved one has a paid burial plan, there’s still a lot of work involved. Someone must plan the memorial service, coordinate with funeral homes or churches, graveyards and florists, and corral well-meaning relatives. Remember, you’re grieving too, and asking for help is okay.
Speak With a Counselor
We all handle grief differently, but it never hurts to talk to someone as you navigate this difficult time. Whether you decide to see a grief counselor or join a support group, you must acknowledge the trauma involved in this experience and take the necessary steps to protect your mental health.
Love It or List It
Many families choose to move when an unexpected death occurs in their homes. For these survivors, the house has become a constant reminder of their loss. In contrast, others choose to stay because good memories outweigh bad memories. Either way, the last task is deciding whether or not to keep living in the home and whether or not you’re going to sell it or turn it into a rental.