Raising awareness about end-of-life planning among the African American community

Raising awareness about end-of-life planning among the African American community

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Talking about death may be a taboo subject for many, but those at Giddens Memorial Chapel said it doesn’t have to be, as they’re raising awareness on end-of-life planning through education and empowerment.

 “Come plan early, put in writing what you want,” explained Dr. Giddens Jr. “We have a lot of family members that don’t know if their loved one wanted to be buried or cremated and that causes a lot of confusion right there because there’s a huge cost difference for one, but they’re also concerned about their spiritual beliefs as well.”

It’s a passion he’s always had. Through faith, Dr. Raymond Giddens Jr is helping serve his community.  

“My dad is a minister so we needed up going to a lot of funerals as kids,” said Dr. Giddens Jr. “We as African Americans celebrate death when it comes to the actual rituals of death but the taboo of actually talking about it is alarming.”

As the CEO and funeral director of Giddens Memorial Chapel, he said end-of-life planning isn’t widely common among African Americans, leading to financial burden and conflict.

 “We’ve seen the soon ex-to-be wife take over when the mom thought she was in charge of the children thought they were in charge, so it alleviates a lot of extra stress when we plan ahead,” added Dr. Giddens Jr.

Ashley Jackson agreed, she’s the CEO of funeral advocates of America, focused on community outreach.

 “Most of the time we hear this “I wasn’t ready or I don’t know what to do,” explained Jackson.  “Well no one’s ready for that grief or loss when losing a loved one but it absolutely helps when some affairs are in order.”

Jackson says while we may not know when or how we’ll pass, end-of-life planning allows you to take control.

 “Everyone has to agree, so bodies are held up oftentimes because not everyone is on the same page,” added Jackson.

That’s why Dr. Giddens Jr. plans a community event every February during Black History Month so families can take charge and be prepared.

“We’re bringing families together to celebrate black history and educate the community on how death care is part of black history, who was the first black embalmer and allow families to come in and taste a variety of foods,” said Dr. Giddens Jr. “At the same time we want to pause and remind people to get their affairs in order and were going to have resources.”

There is also grief support held at Giddens Memorial Chapel every Monday at 7 pm. 

If you’d like to learn more about end-of-life planning, click here.

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