experience

2016 Trends that Shaped Funeral Service–Part I

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In many people’s minds, 2016 will be remembered as the year celebrities dropped like flies. According to Legacy.com, the number of celebrity deaths was comparable to previous years, but three factors made it appear that celebrities were dying in droves: 1) a higher-than-average number of those who died were either A-list or legendary stars; 2) many musicians died who had extremely loyal fan bases; and 3) the average age of celebrities who died this year was about 10 years younger than usual.

Aside from celebrity deaths, growing pains continued to reach every aspect of funeral service. During the last 12 months we saw some outrageous trends, some of which have already used up their 15 minutes of fame. Other news stories highlighted shifts in public preferences that merit our continued attention, even if these changes seem undignified to some traditionalists.

Part I of this blog will examine five topics which drew national, and sometimes international, attention to funeral service in ways that are relevant to serving families in the near future. Next week, Part II will examine five more topics.  Read the rest of this entry »

DIY Funerals: How Funeral Directors Can Help

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lights-light-bulb-ideaLike the electrician who corrected the problems I caused with my home’s wiring, funeral professionals have opportunities to help families avoid problems with whatever options they take upon themselves to memorialize loved ones. Not everyone will be comfortable with these options, but consider how you might offer your expertise (for a fee) to DIY-minded funeral families.  Read the rest of this entry »

DIY Funerals: The Rewiring of Our Memorialization Mindset

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pexels-photo-41113A few years ago I thought it would be nice to have the lights in my home automatically turn on whenever someone entered each room. I’m a fairly capable do-it-yourself home owner; how hard could it be to replace a few switches? Everything went smoothly when I replaced the first one, but after replacing the second switch, I discovered that the kitchen range had lost power. Then I noticed that several electrical outlets in an upstairs bathroom no longer worked and that the dining room chandelier shone only in a pale imitation of its former self.

After much gnashing of teeth, the licensed electrician I forced myself to call gave me his gentle and much-rehearsed recitation about the many home owners who think they have adequate knowledge about house wiring when, in fact, they don’t have enough knowledge to know what they don’t know.

DIY Trends in Funerals and Memorialization

Funeral directors haven’t explained it takes years of experience and many hours of hard work to make implementing funerals look easy.

I’m seeing a similar trend in funeral service. Over the years, funeral professionals have shielded families from the hundreds of details they perform on their behalf. They never stopped to explain that it takes years of experience and many hours of hard work to make arranging and implementing funerals look easy. It’s no surprise, therefore, that many families believe they can perform these services themselves. Other families may not perceive that funeral directors can provide unique and meaningful experiences that honor loved ones and begin the healing process.
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5 Ways Millennials Will Blow Up Funeral Service

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8-16 Allen MillennialsI recently wrote about how baby boomers (ages 52-70 in 2016) are changing funeral service by demanding more personalization and value. According to a study of 3,500 baby boomers conducted by McKee Wallwork + Co., 48 percent of study participants said they were dissatisfied with funeral service as a whole and 63 percent reported being dissatisfied with their interaction with the funeral home. Where I went to school, those scores were failing grades!

Here’s an even scarier thought. Whereas baby boomers want to dress up the traditional funeral, millennials (ages 18-34 in 2016) want to blow it up and start over. To some it may seem too early to start worrying about what millennials want from funeral service. After all, the older members of this segment are in their mid-thirties.

Consider this: millennials are going to change everything. Goldman Sachs wrote, “One of the largest generations in history is about to move into its prime spending years. Millennials are poised to reshape the economy; their unique experiences will change the ways we buy and sell, forcing companies to examine how they do business for decades to come.” Uh oh. That includes funeral service!  Read the rest of this entry »