During 2019, there have been a lot of important firsts for the funeral profession. Certain funeral trends also have seen more popularity than ever before. Soon, these may become the norm, so it’s important for funeral directors to stay informed.
That’s why we have an In the News section in our weekly newsletter. Here, we feature four noteworthy news articles about what’s happening in the funeral profession. This way, it’s easy for busy funeral directors to stay in the loop about the latest news and trends.
Since 2020 is almost here, we want to reflect on the most important funeral profession news in 2019.
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Grief therapy dogs are a popular addition to funeral homes’ teams. The past two NFDA conventions even had presentations about them, along with in-training puppies to comfort convention-goers. Not only do grief therapy dogs help comfort grieving families, but they also improve our overall health. So, adding a four-legged member to your funeral home’s staff may be something to consider.
The Death Positive Movement is growing more than ever before. The goal is to have people feel comfortable openly talking about death and funeral planning. A few ways this is being done are through death cafés, informative podcasts, educational books, and community groups. Your funeral home can get involved by starting death positive events in your community.
Mushroom burial suits are one of the latest green burial options. It was created by Jae Rhim Lee, the founder of Coeio — a green burial company in California. After the late actor Luke Perry chose this as his end-of-life arrangement, it got a lot of news coverage. However, it’s still fairly new, so time will tell if this is a lasting green burial method.
One of the biggest changes in 2019 was Washington legalized human composting. The process turns the body into soil, and then the deceased’s family can use it to plant a tree or flowers. It will be interesting to see if any more states legalize this new end-of-life arrangement in the upcoming year.
Cremation is still on the rise, so your funeral home needs to be aware of this alternative burial option. There are many reasons that people are choosing it, such as being less expensive, more environmentally friendly, and people being less religious. If you don’t have an in-house crematory, it may be time to consider this investment.
New Jersey was the only state that didn’t allow food to be served at funeral services, but that changed in 2019. The governor signed a bill to allow it. As you know, many families have funeral receptions following the service and burial, so it’s exciting that now all the states allow it.
On a sadder note, funeral directors are seeing more overdose-related deaths in their communities. If your funeral home is one of them, you can help educate your community about the dangers of substance use disorder. For example, you can share educational resources on your funeral home’s social media pages or host an educational seminar.
Many funeral homes in the UK now offer an eco-friendly electric Nissan hearse to families who want environmentally friendly funerals. For example, one of the key features includes a glass panel on the passenger side instead of doors. With green funerals on the rise in North America, maybe this will be something we offer here in the future.
Recently, more young people are entering the funeral profession as first-generation funeral directors. Per the American Board of Funeral Service Education, 83% of 2018 mortuary college graduates had no family members in the funeral profession. So, if your funeral home only has family members on your staff, don’t be afraid to open your doors to these first-generation funeral directors.
Millennials aren’t killing the funeral profession, however, they’re shifting the ways we honor the dead. For example, they want personalized funeral services to reflect the lives being honored. Soon, Millennials will be your funeral home’s target audience, so it’s important to understand their funeral wants and needs.