Death is the only certain thing about life, and starting in the early twentieth century, mortuary customs became a business with the rise of funeral homes. For decades, funerals were like a somber mirror-image of weddings, complete with elaborate flower arrangements and guests dressed in their best. Families were encouraged, by culture and by the funeral industry, to purchase expensive coffins and give their departed loved ones the very best they could afford. However, a decreased interest in cookie-cutter memorials, combined with the rise of environmental awareness, has led to new trends in the funeral business.
Funeral Black Goes Green
One funeral home in Canada is a pioneer in “flameless” cremation, a green option which does not produce the carbon dioxide and other atmospheric pollutants that come with traditional cremation. Rather, a combination of salt, water and potash is heated to 300 degrees and then used to dissolve the dead body’s organic material, leaving only the skeleton. The heated solution kills any microbes and infectious agents, and the remains can be safely filtered and disposed of through a city sewerage system. The bones can be dried and crushed into ash, which are given to the families just as in traditional cremation, to be scattered or inurned as the family wishes. Surgical hardware and artificial joints left behind from this process can be donated to be reused.
The High Cost of Dying
As more and more families experience financial hardship, one of the more unexpected and unhappy results is the growing phenomenon of funeral poverty: people and families cannot afford a traditional funeral for their loved ones. This has now been recognized as a significant problem, and funeral homes are being challenged to provide cost-friendly alternatives to traditional “packages” that include everything from traditional embalming to funeral stationery.
Celebrating A Life
Perhaps the most notable and important trend in funerals is personalization. More people, as they approach the end of their lives, are designing the send-off they want. Many families are making similar arrangements, to celebrate their loved ones in unique and personal ways. Funeral homes are meeting their needs by working closely with families and designing creative ceremonies that celebrate the hobbies and passions of the deceased. Funeral homes are also embracing technology, sometimes livestreaming or video recording the services for family members who live far away and could not attend.
The days of sympathetic-voiced funeral directors quietly hard-selling one-size-fits-all funeral “packages” to grieving families are giving way to a more personalized and caring take on helping people say goodbye to their loved ones. Savvy funeral home operators know that many people are looking for options friendly to the environment and the budget, and they’re striving to meet those needs. Visit Aftercare Cremation and Burial Service for additional information.