Funeral directors across the country have been noticing a growing trend. With each passing year clients are requesting more personalized services, and the pandemic seems to have accelerated the change.
Personalization became a hot topic starting in 2016, a year after annual cremations outpaced annual burials in the U.S. The shift from primarily burial to the majority of people being cremated is a clear indicator people are less interested in doing the conventional thing. The events surrounding the pandemic have really pushed the personalization trend to the forefront again as more people reconsider end of life services.
Post-Pandemic is All About Creating New Norms and Adapting Old Rituals
The COVID-19 pandemic was somewhat like hitting the reset button in the funeral industry. As the annual number of deaths rose, almost no one was able to have a traditional funeral. It was a completely foreign situation that forced people to adapt. Adapting as we move past the pandemic may be easier than many people expect since the industry was already prime for a transition away from the traditional.
A 2019 survey from the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) was very revealing. The big takeaway was that consumers were moving away from religious norms and traditions when selecting end of life services. Instead many people prioritized services that are personalized and reflective of the individual. More people were also interested in cremation and green burial options that aren’t conventional.
Now funeral directors say those interests are well beyond being a trend. It’s become clear personalization rather than tradition is going to direct the decision making when people are choosing end of life services.
Most of the services that became popular out of necessity over a 150 years ago and eventually became the norm aren’t necessary at all today. Embalming is the perfect example. These services are simply done because that’s what has normally been done. But that all changed with the pandemic.
A traditional funeral was no longer possible when COVID-19 hit, and that opened the door for the trends that were already forming to gain a strong foothold. Even how people say goodbye and pay their respects has undergone dramatic change. Many people could only attend memorials virtually, and a surprising number of people began having home funerals instead of hosting services at a funeral home. Even though we’re moving past the pandemic, people aren’t going back to the old way of doing things.
The general gist is that the funeral industry has been forever changed by the pandemic because it shifted how consumers arranged death care services. The limitations highlighted the inconveniences of traditional funerals and created an even greater demand for personalization.
Adding a Creative Touch to Death Care
Today, as people are exploring their options and reestablishing what is “normal”, personalization is actually being taken a step further. Funeral directors around the country say that adding creative elements is increasingly common.
Families are putting more emphasis on how they can remember a loved one in unique ways. They aren’t first thinking about cultural and religious norms. They are thinking about who their loved one was and letting that guide the decision making.
Memorials are the perfect example. More and more families are bypassing the funeral home memorial for a remembrance in a meaningful place or at the deceased’s home. Some people are thinking way outside the box while others are deciding to skip the pre-burial or pre-cremation memorial altogether.
One reason for this abundance of creativity is the increased use of cremation. There are many things that can be done with cremated remains, including burial. The options are virtually endless as more service providers come up with creative ways to memorialize loved ones and more people consider all of the possible options. It’s giving families a creative outlet for remembering a person in their own way, and that’s something that’s going to have wide appeal.
Direct Cremate can help you plan an affordable cremation that allows you to focus your attention on how you will memorialize your loved one. Our team can be reached by phone, text or email to answer your questions and help make cremation arrangements.