In the last few centuries, medicine has continued to evolve at an accelerated rate.
In our endless quest to lengthen our lives and cheat death whenever possible, the average life expectancy all over the world has continued to increase over time. In 1900, the world’s average life expectancy was 31. In 1950, that average was 48. In 2010, it was a little more than 67.
And that’s the world’s average — there are many places that already have far exceeded those numbers. Today in America, the life expectancy is a little more than 78 and a half years on average, and that number is lower than in other western cultures. Canada has an average of a little more than 81 years and the UK has an average of 81 and a half years.
There’s no doubt that medical advancements have done wonders; they’ve impacted not only the quantity of life, but in many cases the quality of life as well. But they also have had a huge impact on the funeral industry and the way we celebrate our loved ones.
Today’s funerals aren’t always the somber and mournful events they used to be. Though families always will grieve for their loved ones no matter how much time they had together, in many cases the funerals of our older loved ones have become celebrations of lives lived rather than gloomy events about lives lost.
Because of this shift in the attitude many families have toward the funerals of their loved ones, there also has been a shift in what families want out of these ceremonies:
Those who live longer lives have a strong personality associated with them. They’ve had time to establish their careers, their hobbies, and their demeanor toward their loved ones. Not only does it become easier now to create a more personalized service that reflects their life, it becomes more important as well.
We mentioned earlier that today’s funerals are often celebrations of life, but what does that mean?
When a family loses someone who has lived a long and full life, the pain of loss is still there — that will never change. But families often are more at peace with the death than they would be with a tragic, sudden, and/or unexpected loss, or a loss of someone whom they consider to have died before their time.
This attitude lends itself to an atmosphere of sharing memories, celebration, and a chance to bring the family together to honor and remember their loved one rather than an occasion that is solely somber.
Those who live longer often have a lot of stories to be told, which makes memorialization so important to their families. People will want to read about and see their loved ones and how they lived for generations.
Families no longer want just a personalized funeral, they want something they can keep and continue to cherish forever — like a keepsake book, a collection of their loved one’s favorite possessions, or something else.