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Saturday 24 September 2016

Funeral Directors - cremation/burial or something else??

A recent survey carried out by U.K. Company YouGov (a self-proclaimed community of 4 million contributors around the world) of 1,546 adults showed that 58% of those asked would currently opt for cremation, in comparison to 17% who preferred the idea of burial. Of those in favour of cremation, 79% wanted their ashes to be scattered. In response to the results, YouGov said there was a “strong shift in preference towards cremation as people get older”. While 42% of 18-24 year olds wish to be cremated, this figure rises to 71% among the over-65s. Have you found this in your Funeral Home?

That’s nearly 6 out of 10 people with cremation as their preferred final journey when their day is done. Perhaps more interestingly, 25% (which is still more than burial) opted for something else or were unsure, which means we still have a role in educating the market to help people with their choices and decisions OR that there needs to be more options available.
Currently, the most common ways to dispose of a body in Ireland are burial and cremation (earth versus fire), however there are constant developments in technology and new methods will be introduced in the coming years. These include Resomation (where bodies are dissolved into an alkaline hydrolysis liquid), Promession (a process which freeze-dries bodies in nitrogen) and Irish company ecoLation (who use freezing pressure and heat which results in an inert powder where all toxins and chemicals are neutralized).

Burying someone and erecting a headstone or having a grave marker can provide a family with peace as they have somewhere physical to visit to feel close to the deceased. This is one of the reasons a lot of people opt for burial instead of cremation. However there is also the environmental factor to be considered, as has been seen in Ireland with the increase in demand for green burials, a trend which has not been missed by the new technology companies mentioned above.

A new video has been doing the rounds online showcasing Promession, which got me excited that this new technology might be ready to market. However, with further research you can see that the video is in fact 6 years old and nothing seems to have moved forward for them in terms of bringing the product to market. Resomation is available in parts of the USA but that is it, or at least that was all the information I could find on it. ecoLation seem to have come on leaps and bounds since I last covered them in my book ('Say Farewell Your Way') and they have units rolling out in at least 4 different countries in 2017 which is great news for Funeral Directors, their clientele, and Ireland as a country to have such innovation coming from its shores. So the question is the 25% - will they choose either of these 3 options as they become available?

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