It’s pretty clear that the future of funerals is changing. Between the shift away from religion, 70% of people choosing cremation over burial and COVID-19 affecting funeral ceremonies, the shift away from a “standard” funeral is becoming more common.
So, what does the future of funerals look like, particularly here in Australia?
More prepaid funerals.
The biggest change we’re seeing in the future of funerals is the increased popularity of prepaid funerals. According to the Australian Funeral Industry Report, only 6% of people currently have a prepaid funeral in place, but we predict that number to increase exponentially in the coming years.
The thought of preplanning for your funeral can be a little uncomfortable, but being prepared for end-of-life can reduce the taboo around death and bring more conversations around inevitable mortality.
Some benefits of prepaid funerals include easing the burden on your friends and family, both emotionally and financially. With the price of life and death constantly increasing, you can lock in today’s prices and leave the savings to your family, or even treat yourself more and have peace of mind. Prepaid funerals also allow you to have a say in what your farewell looks like and can best suit your wishes.
The push towards living more eco-conscious and environmentally friendly is increasingly common not just in our day-to-day lives, but also with funerals. The younger generations are looking for ways to reduce climate emissions and leave the world in a better place.
So, what does a green funeral look like? Typically a green or natural burial means no heavy casket, embalming, or anything that will have a negative impact on the earth. The body is placed in an eco-coffin or some kind of covering, wearing biodegradable clothing. The grave will typically be much more shallow, to remove the need for excavating equipment.
Companies offering green funerals are few and far between, so in the meantime people tend to weigh up the differences between burial and cremation to see which is more eco-friendly. Whilst it is true that cremation generates more carbon dioxide than burial, between all the maintenance of grounds, use of land and embalming fluids seeping into the earth, in the long term burial takes up more labour, resources and overall negative impact on the environment.
According to the Australian Seniors Cost of Death report, whilst 29.6% of Seniors are seeing a movement towards more eco-friendly and green funerals, many believe this in part due to the lower cost compared to a traditional burial, which is a more important factor in the decision process.
We believe that the environmental impact of a funeral will become more important to the younger generations when deciding on what kind of funeral they organise for their loved ones.
Technology and funerals.
With technology at the forefront of our entire lives, it will be interesting to see how the impact of technology will affect the future of funerals.
The Deathtech Research Team and the University of Melbourne conducted a study looking into the future of cemeteries. They looked into attitudes towards tech at cemeteries such as using drones for remote visitations, audio tours of key sites and graves, phone apps to locate graves and landmarks, and more. Whilst the use of phone apps and audio tours were more positively viewed, the use of drones had a more negative reaction.
Technology will definitely have more of an impact on the future of funerals, but we don’t believe that this is an imminent future, and will be more connected much later down the road.
COVID-19 changed the way we funeral.
Due to lockdowns and watching funeral ceremonies virtually, this shifted the way we mourn and celebrate the lives of our loved ones.
Traditional funerals couldn’t occur soon after death, so families and friends planned wakes and memorials months later, when they could get everyone together for the occasion.
This has propelled more people taking weeks and even months to plan a service, rather than feeling rushed to make potentially expensive emotionally fuelled decisions and end up with a funeral that was not a reflection of the person it was for.
We believe this shift will have a longstanding effect on the future of funerals, with more and more people taking the time to organise a memorial or wake, rather than rushing immediately after the death.
It’s hard to know what the future of funerals will look like. Some trends are already happening, such as prepaid funerals, so we can expect to see more growth there. But other aspects such as the fusion of funerals and technology are still a relatively new and unknown concept, so it will be interesting to follow along with potential innovations.
If you’re interested in a Bare Prepaid Funeral, you can learn more by calling 1800 202 901 or clicking through to our plan ahead page.