As funeral directors, you know the funeral profession is constantly changing with new trends and funeral wishes from families.
With everyone’s busy lives and families being spread across different states and sometimes countries, delayed funerals are becoming more popular. Some families are waiting days, weeks, or even months to hold a funeral service for a variety of reasons.
Let’s explore some of these reasons and how it affects families and your funeral home.
Why Do Families Have Delayed Funerals for Their Loved Ones?
When a loved one passes away, there are many reasons families may choose to put off the funeral:
Some families need more time before they hold the funeral. This might be because family members need to travel back home or they want more time to plan the funeral. With the popularity of personalization, families sometimes want more time to make the funeral service personalized to their loved one.
According to CNN Money, 6 in 10 Americans don’t have $500 in savings. This makes it difficult for families to afford the funeral, especially for an unexpected death. They may need time to save money — whether through a life insurance payout or reallocating their assets. But with new funeral financing options like Tribute Loans, families can plan the funeral their loved one deserves without waiting to save or depleting existing savings.
Another reason families have delayed funerals is to wait for better weather conditions. If their loved one passed away during winter, they may wait for spring or summer. Especially if they want an outdoor funeral service or an ash releasing ceremony.
4. Funeral Wishes
In many cases, the deceased may have a will that outlines their funeral arrangement desires. They may request their funeral is at a specific location or on a significant day, such as their birthday.
5. Cremation Rise
According to the NFDA Cremation and Burial Report, the 2016 United States cremation rate was 50.2%, while burial was 43.5%. With cremation becoming more popular, it’s easier to hold cremated ashes for a funeral rather than a body.
Another reason is that families have a preplanned event, like a vacation. Or, they’re busy and want to schedule it for a more convenient time. However, this isn’t the healthiest reason. Death isn’t convenient and a loved one’s funeral deserves to be prioritized.
Does It Cause More Harm Than Good?
Although delayed funerals allow time for planning and other things, in some cases they may cause more harm than good. For example, it can be harmful if people put off their grief until the funeral. This disrupts the healthy grieving process, as people push off their feelings instead of processing them, and then they don’t face the reality of their loved one’s death.
Delaying the funeral also may be harmful because it could end up not happening at all. Families may say they’ll plan the memorial service in a few months, but then it doesn’t happen. If no one plans it, loved ones don’t get a proper goodbye and their loved one doesn’t get the memorial they deserved. This could lead to their loved one’s ashes being forgotten or unclaimed.
How Does This Affect Your Funeral Home?
Your funeral home can make sure families make informed funeral arrangement decisions. If they wish to delay the funeral, you can inform them about your services, such as temporary storage fridges. Also, you can provide them with grief resources, so they can grieve privately before the funeral.
Another option is to suggest families have a small open house for close family and friends shortly after the death. Then, they can have a larger memorial service when they’re ready.