Wednesday, January 27, 2016

How You Will Die

Have you ever thought about when and how you will die? Would you want to know if you could? Nathan Yau put together a little algorithm that does just that, and can give you an idea of  how and when you will die, given your sex, race, and age.

Yau explins, "I returned to the Underlying Cause of Death database maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It provides data for the number of people who died in the United States between 1999 and 2014. The records are based on death certificates, which require an entry for a single cause of death.

The CDC classifies the causes into 113 subcategories, which fit under the umbrella of 20 categories of disease and external causes. More specifically, the CDC uses the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD), which is published by the World Health Organization.

The simulation below covers the main categories, or chapters, as they're referred to by the ICD." 

I put in my stats and watched as it formulated my chances and causes of death at each age. You see each dot represents one of your simulated lives, and as each year passes, more of your simulated selves pass away. Color corresponds to cause of death, and the bars on the right keep track of the cumulative percentages. By the end, you're left with the chances that you will die of each cause.

Take the test HERE

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Céline Dion's Husband Planned Funeral Before His Death to Ease Her Burden

It has been a rough few weeks in the media hearing about the loss of David Bowie, Alan Rickman, and Celine Dion's husband, and her older brother just a few days later; unfortunately all due to cancer.

It was recently reported that Dion's husband hoped to make the difficult situation of his being ill a little easier for his wife, and had pre-planned his funeral. Dion's longtime stylist and friend Annie Horth said that because of this, Dion is "going through [this] peacefully and with control."Angélil wanted to have his funeral at Notre-Dame Basilica, where he and Dion wed more than two decades ago. 

We have discussed pre-planning on the blog before, but for a refresher, Preneed life insurance is an insurance policy whose benefits cover the cost of the predetermined expenses of a funeral, cremation or burial. The expenses typically include standard funeral home services, funeral merchandise, church services and even burial services and merchandise. The purpose of preneed life insurance is to set aside funds for your funeral, before the need arises, thereby protecting your loved ones and your financial assets.

So why should you prepay and plan ahead for your funeral? Proper planning for your final wishes is more than wise, it is a thoughtful decision to help your family during a difficult time of loss. But it doesn't just benefit the loved ones you leave behind, you can actually save money by prepaying and planning with funeral homes, by locking down prices for services and products. Preneed life insurance is tied directly to the costs of a prearranged funeral or cremation. All of the services and merchandise that you select may be completely covered by your insurance if your funeral home has guaranteed the price of your funeral.Second, there may be no tax liability on the death benefit to your surviving family members. And the benefit of your preneed life insurance policy may be payable immediately to the funeral home at the time of your death.

If you want to learn more about pre-planning your funeral, you can start HERE.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A 64-Year-Old And A 7-Year-Old Ask Each Other Questions About Life And Their Words Are Pretty Beautiful

What happens when two people, 57 years apart, ask each other the same questions? What sort of advice could a 7-year-old have for a 64-year-old?

In a video by Facts., a young boy and an older man sit across from each other, against a bare white wall. Then, they proceed to ask each other the same questions about life and growing up. An incredible conversation ensues.

"Do you wish you were young?" the boy asks the man.

"Well the great thing about being young is you have more time — you have more time to do things," the 64-year-old responds. "I could play games, which I did. I used to play cowboys and Indians...I could use my imagination more."
The 7-year-old finds this sad, to which the older man responds: "Well, I could be an older cowboy."

"Will you fall in love and what will it be like?" the man asks the boy.

"I don't know. We'll have babies. It'll be fun. Even though I'll have to change his diaper. It'll be fun," the boy responds.
And, of course, if his future baby cries, the boy will just sing Ed Sheeran to him. When the boy presses the older man about his love life, the man explains that he, indeed, found love once. Unfortunately, sickness took her away. 
But there's a lesson in that.
"These things happen. That's life. But I have very good memories," the 64-year-old says, reassuring the boy and telling him not to be sad. "You can remember all of the good things, and that's the important thing."

And when it comes to life advice, they have some words of wisdom for each other.

"Act normal. Don't be silly. Don't bully lots of people," the boy says. Then, in an emotional ending, the older man tells the boy just how to look at life going forward:

"You don't have to be rich to be happy. Do the things you like doing that make you feel good. Because when you're happy yourself, everybody else is happy."

"Be yourself. Don't let other people tell you what you should be. Just be as you are...You have all the right things to do. All of your good friends. Keep those friends going. And keep life going," he adds, shaking the boy's hand.

With that, the little boy stands up from his chair and gives the 64-year-old a hug.

Be sure to watch the full video below:

Article originally appeared on A Plus

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Cremation Tournament and Suicides

We recently posted about the rise of cremation rates in the United States. Earlier this week the Chinese government hosted an unusual competition. More than 50 of the country's best battled it out to be crowned the country's top cremator.

It was the first ever national contest for cremation workers, but its very existence cuts to the heart of Chinese ideas about death, land use and a desire to instill national pride in a stigmatized vocation. In a country where 10 million people die annually, disposing of bodies is a political and practical issue. BBC covered the story.

Cremation is more common in China than in the U.S. A majority of Chinese, just over 50 percent, are cremated after death and that number is going up. This is largely for practical reasons. Roughly 10,000,000 people die in China annually, meaning graveyards would take up vast amount of land the government wishes to use for agricultural projects. Traditional burial has also fallen out of favor in China for the same reason it has in the U.S. With more people living in cities, it’s impractical and seemingly purposeless for families to bury their dead in fields far from their apartments. With that said, in China, cremation is more it’s associated with communism. Under Mao Tse-Tung, cremation was periodically and locally mandated. For many Buddhists, who traditionally burn bodies, this didn’t represent a religious problem, but ancestor worship, a cultural holdover from Confucianism, dictates that corpses should be left alone lest familial connections be broken. The Los Angeles Times recently reported that elderly people in some Chinese provinces were killing themselves because they feared cremation mandates would be enacted.

This mandate caused fear for others as well. In November 2014 two officials were arrested after they allegedly bought corpses from grave robbers to meet government cremation targets. They said they were trying to ensure government quotas on the number of cremations every month were met.

So why a cremation competition?  With unsavory views on cremation, you can imagine how those who work in the industry are viewed.The civil affairs ministry said in a statement that the competition "enhanced society's understanding of the cremation industry... and gave a strong push to the building of the cremation worker corps." A ministry spokesman said cremation workers faced strong social stigma as well as the potential health risk of handling bodies with infectious diseases.

"What they're still most worried about is society's prejudice," he told Xinhua, adding that there were cases of cremation workers hiding their occupation when filling out school forms as they were worried their children would face discrimination. This tournament was a way to hopefully boost the profile morale of cremation workers.