Outside-The-Box Trends in Funerals

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When it comes funerals, much has changed over the past few years. Space constraints, environmental concerns and tight budgets are pushing families to explore new options for dealing with the dead. Lifestyle expert Chris Shulgan shares some surprising new trends in funerals and memorial services — ideas that allow mourners to uniquely honour and celebrate the departed.

Water-Based Cremation

This comes as a gentle, eco-friendly alternative to flame-based cremation. Water-based cremation sees the body immersed in an alkaline solution inside a pressurized stainless-steel cremation chamber. Soft tissue rinses away and returns to the water table, leaving behind bone fragments that can be scattered, buried or inserted into a crematorium wall. It is similar to cremation by flame, but it uses an alkaline liquid solution to do the same job.

It is also a green option because the process significantly uses less energy: about 1/8 the amount of energy than regular cremation.

Dress Up the Dead

dress up the dead: Funeral trend

Never mind open casket! Some funeral homes specialize in wakes where the dead are set up to seem as though they're just one of the living. They sit at a table among the funeral guests or lean against a lamp post, sunglasses on, homburg hat tilted to the side.

Unless you know them, you don't know they're dead! That's how lifelike they look. It's an eccentric but perhaps perfect way to celebrate a full life.

Eco-Friendly Pet Funeral

pet urn and tree

This new trend is for pet funerals. BioUrn, a biodegradable cremation urn for pets, is now an option for eco-friendly pet-owners.

Put the ashes in the urn, plant it into the ground, water it and you can have an actual tree grow for the family as a permanent memorial of their loved pets. You can select the tree, and there are options — everything from sugar maples to oaks to flowering shrubs like rhododendrons. There is also a human remains version available.

Skyscraper Graveyards

skyscraper graveyard

Japan has the oldest population in the world and in the next 50 years it is set to shrink by 40 million, leading to a boom in its end-of-life industry. Almost all Japanese people get cremated and have their ashes put into family crypts in conventional-looking cemeteries.

However, with spaces costing up to $100,000, high-tech alternatives like skyscraper graveyards are becoming a necessity. They are fully automated and store thousands of urns in vaults. Relatives are given an identity card and when they want to be near the remains of a loved one, they visit the skyscraper graveyard and robotic arms retrieve the ashes from the vaults.

Crowdfunded Funerals

Funerals are surprisingly expensive, and the last thing a mourner needs is added financial stress. Enter Funeralfund, a website that allows loved ones, supporters, friends and anyone else to contribute to cover a given person's funeral. It is free to start a campaign page. A brief description helps outline a little information about the person and how the funds will be used.

Interactive Headstones

A company called Living Headstones now gives the option of loading a detailed memorial of the deceased onto a computer chip/QR code that is set into a headstone and accessible from anywhere with a smart phone.

It's a unique way to personalize your custom headstone and leave a legacy for the family to enjoy.

The link takes you to a digital memorial page on the Living Headstone website where information from the obituary, a memorial wall, family history and photos are all contained. This link can be applied to new or existing cemetery headstones, mausoleum shutters, cremation urns, garden benches or as an addition to a public memorial.

 

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