New York State Funeral Directors Association

The New York State Funeral Directors Association added to the discussion of end-of-life as part of the series "Age Wise," a co-production of WMHT and the Albany Guardian Society.

Medical concerns, Advance Directives, Palliative Care and Hospice are among topics of this episode as well as thoughts about the relief pre-planning a funeral can bring to families who are grieving the loss of a loved one.

Saratoga Springs, NY Funeral Director Mark Phillips explains that many families are personalizing funerals - a change from earlier days when these ceremonies and rituals did not vary much. Funeral Director Mark Phillips

Holding deep meaning for all family members and loved ones, a funeral and its planning can be seen as a "journey," NYSFDA Executive Director Bonnie McCullough said.

"This is really a journey for all of us. We have to accept the reality of the death," McCullough said.

The New York State Funeral Directors Association hosted producers from WMHT and a television crew in October.

The Age Wise program will conclude with a studio audience event, Age Wise in the Capital Region, featuring discussion on each episode's topics which include: Where We Live, How to Age in Place, Caregiving, End-of-Life and Communities that Care.

Watch the End-of-Life episode of "Age Wise."

About six years ago, Michael Harris spent part of September-- recognized as Pet Memorial Month – wondering why there weren’t more-meaningful services available to memorialize his beloved Rottweilers Hanna and Luke.

These two best friends died within weeks of each other and Harris had only two choices: leave the pets with the veterinarian to be co-mingled and cremated with other pets or pay more to have them cremated “individually”- separated but still cremated at the same time.

And he learned the wait for returning the cremated remains was going to be two weeks. For Harris, a third-generation funeral director in Upstate New York, that wasn’t good enough.


Butterflies decorate the landscape on warm summer days, fluttering about on a scattered path with no discernible direction.

Many people see these gentle insects as mere incidentals floating around aimlessly.