Change of norms in end of life care

As she lays clinging to life in a hospital bed, Marietta’s thoughts are on her family. Throughout her life, she and Anthony did everything they could to give a good life to their children and grandchildren. Yet now, they will need some extra help to make sure their family is OK.

Many in our community are now living well into their nineties. Their need for enhanced medical care can be overwhelming to families. Surviving children and relatives face difficult issues they are not prepared for. Caring for aging parents today comes with it the many and added complexities of modern life.

And decisions to keep elderly parents’ home with their families is increasingly not the option it once was. With these changing norms come the inevitable choices regarding end-of-life care. Families are often caught off guard, or in the least unprepared for the added burden of funerals at the end of one’s life.

In simpler times, friends and family members gathered at the home of a deceased. There, they paid their respects, celebrated one’s life, even enjoyed a meal in remembering their loved one. It was in these times that Anthony D. Lacerenza purchased his funeral business in 1926. A couple of decades later, his son, Richard D. Lacerenza, saw the family business grow even as the town of Stamford was becoming a city. The needs of 100,000 residents had to be met.

Over the decades since the early immigrant times, our community has become more mobile. Families spread out, pursue opportunities in other areas. We’ve seen family members move on to other towns and cities throughout America — even as many new families arrive here in the greater Stamford area. Still, at the end of life, like Marietta’s, it is those who are here that end up caring for their loved ones’ end-of-life needs.

Services and funeral options today in this community are as many and varied as the people who live here. This is true in both the planned and unexpected end-of-life events of our times.

The current coronavirus crisis has changed the way people celebrate the life of deceased family members and friends, at least for now. Families must choose small group services before private burials, at times without church services. Many still must make the decision to choose direct burial and cremation over traditional services.

With memorial services being published as “to be held at some future date”, certainly, these are unprecedented times. But be assured these temporary challenges will soon return to some new norm.

Families will indeed gather, like Marietta and Anthony’s. Friends will join them to remember and pay their respects. Full funerals will once again be celebrated. And funeral services of every kind will be available to those making arrangements for others.

Through local funeral homes such as Lacerenza Funeral Home and Cremation Services, families are able to choose a traditional funeral and burial, a cremation, cremation with service, a direct cremation, even a local celebration of life followed by transport of a loved one back to their country of origin. From its original location downtown near the Stamford Regional Medical Center – even a memorial service as colorful as the one being celebrated is easily arranged by the Lacerenza family.

For nearly one hundred years, the Lacerenza, and today Macari families have served the greater Stamford area. With Jerry Macari, Jr at the helm — its fourth generation — Lacerenza’s recently-renovated facility in downtown Stamford provides all the amenities of a modern funeral home. Visitation chapels and gathering rooms, private preparation areas, family lounges, ample parking, friendly helpful and professional staff- family.

As times have changed, services have as well. Today, “Lacerenza’s” offers several options in traditional through direct cremation. They support local crematories and continue to research new ways of serving the diverse needs and cultures of the area community.

The Lacerenza website ( and social media platforms provide new sources of on-line information to interested information seekers, both in the local community as well as those far away. Through its web portal, customers are even able to create pre-need arrangement contracts and payment plans without having to meet in-person, should they wish.

And services can be streamed over the internet for those who cannot attend in-person.

Licensed, professional funeral homes today provide comfort, guidance and help families plan for end-of-life care with even more skill than generations ago. They can offer pre-need trusts in advance of an end-of-life event to help families minimize the stress and guesswork surrounding planning a funeral. They can offer various types of financing, burial insurance and other funding options not previously available to families of other generations. This allows families to choose the right type of service for their loved one without fear of added or unexpected financial burden.

Today, as then, there is meaning in the dignity of life, especially a life like Marietta’s. In meeting the challenges of our times, it is only the norms of the day that change.

At Lacerenza Funeral Home and Cremation Services, there are several ways to keep informed of options in end-of-life care. The public is invited to attend any of the public seminars on end-of-life care put on by the family’s staff throughout the year. You can learn more about options by visiting, or simply call or email 203-324-0158, and request, free of charge, a comprehensive 38-page planning guide or other materials

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