If you’re familiar with The Order of the Good Death, then you may be a “death positive” Millennial. The term “death positive” was created by Caitlin Doughty, a founding member of the order. It means that someone is open to talking about death and looking at it from a more positive perspective. And the conversations that death positive Millennials have started are beginning to change the funeral industry in significant ways.
Open Conversations About Death Are Changing People’s Priorities
The catalyst for all of the changes happening in the funeral industry is increased willingness to discuss death. Once the topic of death shook it’s taboo, people began thinking about their own funeral differently.
A study by California State University Long Beach concluded that the majority of Millennials have discussed their death wishes with someone, and they are more likely to do so than their parents. Surveys have also shown more people want funeral services that are personalized. And they are less inclined to go the traditional route having the services in a funeral home. They are also more inclined to choose cremation services that provide more flexibility.
Funeral Pre-Planning is More Common
Surveys from the National Funeral Directors Association have found Millennials are more likely than other generations to do some sort of funeral pre-planning. A survey from 2017 found people between the ages of 18-39 are twice as likely as people who are 60+ to think individuals under 40 years old need to make funeral arrangements in advance.
Maybe it’s their young age and not being in their twilight years, but Millennials are much more comfortable with funeral planning than Baby Boomers. The general thought for pre-planning Millennials is that death is going to happen like it or not so it’s better to be prepared. It also helps that there are a number of funeral planning digital tools like Funeralocity and FreeWill that are created with Millennials in mind.
When planning their funerals, the death positive Millennials are letting their priorities be known, which is a motivating factor for pre-planning. One thing that’s a given is people want funeral services that are personalized and meaningful to them. They also want to try to minimize the cost as much as possible. Making advanced arrangements is actually a good way to reduce the costs since you have time to compare service prices.
More Options for End of Life Services
Promoting a wider selection of funeral options is an objective of The Order of the Good Death, and the idea is catching on with the general public.
The early pre-planning means that Millennials are giving themselves time to research and consider all of their options. Some have been surprised at the lack of available options in their local community. It’s part of the reason why there’s been an increase in consumer demand for more end of life options in states across the country.
Although some in the funeral industry have fought changes, there’s no denying that many consumers want services outside of traditional burial. All you have to do is look at the explosive growth in products for cremains. The urn options are endless, cremains can be used to make just about anything and there are special planters for helping turn cremains into a tree. Funeral homes have to adapt or they could find themselves losing relevance in the coming decades.
More Eco-Friendly Funeral Services
Another significant change in the funeral industry has been the focus on making services more eco-friendly. Here again death positive Millennials are driving the change. Millennials like to know their consumer choices have a minimal impact on the environment and funeral services are no different. In fact, concerns over environmental factors is cited as a top reason people choose cremation over traditional burial.