The Changing Face of the Funeral Industry

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The funeral industry is not what it used to be. When most of us picture a funeral, we imagine older men in black coats and top hats, solemnly carrying out their work, with little transparency for the often confused, grieving family.

Around 130,000 people in Australia pass away every year. And, with each year that goes by, more families are turning their backs on traditional funerals and choosing to do things their way. After all, they’re honouring a life and a person that was unique. Alternative farewells such as direct cremations are a cost-effective way to say goodbye, saving money for the little details that make the day more personal. As the face of the funeral industry progresses, so does the way we celebrate life.

Women in the funeral industry

The stereotypical idea of a mortician is a male that has been running a family funeral business for decades – but this wasn’t always the case. In the past, preparing a body for a viewing and burial was a domestic role undertaken by women. The industry only became more male-dominated after the Civil War, when the concept of embalming was born.

Over the last few decades, we’ve noticed yet another shift in the industry. More and more women are taking up a career in the funeral business, with 60% of students that study mortuary science being female. According to the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), this shift is mostly due to the attributes that females tend to possess – such as compassion, communication, a desire to comfort others and organisation skills – which are key to the role of a funeral director.

Modern trends in the funeral industry

Different types of funerals have now entered the mainstream market in Australia, and going against the norm is no longer far-fetched, but accepted as a unique way to reflect the life of a person.

Some growing trends we’re seeing in Australia’s funeral industry today include:

  • Green burials – some people are choosing gardens instead of graveyards, with “green” coffins, to give something back to the earth and provide more nutrients to plants. There is a focus on sustainability and affordability, with people refusing to pay traditionally high funeral costs.
  • Modern cemeteries – with burial grounds taking up a lot of land, we’re seeing more innovation in the funeral industry, with modern cemeteries that are designed to use space more efficiently. Some cemeteries around the world include areas of reflection such as ponds and meditation areas, to offer a more contemplative visit to mourners.
  • New-age cremation – where money is no object, families are getting creative with cremations and how they choose to manage the ashes. Some companies provide a service that mixes ashes with tattoo ink, compresses them into diamonds, and even turns them into artificial reefs or sends them to space.

Contact Affordable Cremations

Affordable Cremations provides low-cost, direct cremation services for families that want to honour a life in their own way. We’d be happy to provide a quote or tell you more about our services; simply email info@acnsw.com.au or call us on 1300 95 95 35.

Why it’s Important to Talk About Death When You’re Not Dying

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Death is still a taboo subject amongst many Australians, and is understandably something people prefer to put to the back of their minds, rather than bring to the front of a conversation. Quite often, it’s not until we’re left without the choice that we talk about the death of us or someone else.

This is especially true when somebody in your family, a partner or a close friend has a long-term or terminal illness. It’s a tough time for all, and people often prefer to ignore the inevitable, as it’s painful and they don’t want to upset the dying. However, research has found that a third of seriously ill elderly people in hospital don’t receive the end-of-life care they want, because no one has spoken to them about their wishes.

Plan ahead to make your wishes known

It’s so important to live your life for “the now”, but it’s also important to plan for the future. Use this time to ensure your family knows about your end-of-life wishes. Talk about everything that matters to you – from the hospital care you do/don’t want to receive at the end of your life, to your choice between a burial and cremation, and even to the kind of theme or song you want to be played at your funeral.

Not only does this bring you the peace-of-mind that you’ll get to say goodbye in the way you want, but it also lessens the burden of decisions for your family. It’s difficult for families to make choices about their loved one’s funeral service, if no one has had the conversation and they’re unsure if they’re really honouring their wishes.

Prepare your family for the future

It’s natural to feel as though you’re protecting your family by ignoring the subject of death. Maybe your children brush off the conversation when you bring it up, or they’re notably uncomfortable with it. You and them may also feel as though you’re destroying hope if you accept that you’re going to die soon.

However, we have found that families that have already spoken about life after death are better equipped to handle the time when it does arrive. Your relatives understand what you want without having to guess, and have already begun to accept and talk about their feelings during this difficult time.

Another important way to prepare your family for your passing is to write a will, so there’s no confusion over who will inherit your estate and assets once you’re gone. If you don’t have a next of kin, consider choosing a person you trust to take on the responsibilities of your end-of-life care and funeral arrangements. Consider a prepaid funeral to take off the financial burden for your loved ones, and to rest in the knowledge that your money is being properly managed and taken care of.

Learn more about prepaid funerals

We’re always here to talk. Affordable Cremations is a family-owned funeral business that is compassionate towards your wishes and those of your family. Give us a call on 1300 95 95 35 during any time of the day for more information about our services.

Why Mortuaries are Rarely Located at the Funeral Home Shop Front

woman with red roses and coffin at funeral in church

A mortuary is the place where dead bodies are temporarily stored, while families await the day of the funeral and cremation or burial. Historically, mortuaries were attached to the shop front of the funeral home, and families that are arranging a farewell often expect this to still be the case today.

However, many modern mortuaries are at a completely different location to the funeral home. In this article, Affordable Cremations is looking at some common misconceptions around mortuaries, as well as how funeral providers today take care of the entire process to ensure the day of the goodbye runs as smoothly as possible.

The common misconception about mortuaries

There is a common misconception that all funeral homes have a mortuary “out back” or “down in the cellar” – just like the one we see in the movie My Girl from 1991. However, this is rarely the case anymore. Usually, the shop front of a funeral home must be located in a place that’s convenient and suitable for the local community to visit, but mortuaries don’t require this kind of exposure and can be held in a different location entirely.

Bodies are generally held for up to 7 working days by the funeral provider, and Australian regulations state that they must be stored in a certified holding facility. Although, many families aren’t aware that they can store the body privately if this is their wish; in New South Wales, you’ll need conditional approval from the Director General of NSW Health.

To protect public health, it’s forbidden to store a body unrefrigerated for more than 48 hours. The funeral director you work with will be able to properly and safely store the body of a loved one that has recently passed, in their approved holding facilities.

No matter where they’re based, mortuaries have set Australian standards and regulations to adhere to, including AS ISO 15189 Medical Laboratories – Requirements for quality and competence.

Ensuring the day runs seamlessly

Families don’t need to worry if a mortuary is held at a different location to a funeral home, as service providers such as Affordable Cremations have the experience to make sure your loved one is taken care of. We’ll help you with all of the important decisions, and depending on your location, transfer is usually included in the price.

We have the facilities available to safely and legally store the body at our off-site mortuary, and will transfer it to your chosen crematorium or burial site when the day for the farewell arrives. We’re with you for every step of this confusing journey, ensuring the day runs smoothly for the family and helping you plan down to the smallest detail.

Find out more

To find out more about a direct cremation or other funeral service, please don’t hesitate to reach out. You can contact our team online, or give us a call on 1300 95 95 35. We’re here for you 24 hours a day – so give us a call day or night to discuss arrangements for someone close to you.

Comparing the Price of Funeral Providers

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You may have noticed that the price of funerals in Australia can range quite dramatically – there could be hundreds or even thousands of dollars in cost difference from one provider to the next. This can be confusing for families going through the funeral organising process; when looking for a funeral to honour the life of your loved one, do you have to accept a drop in quality when you opt for a more affordable option?

In this guide, we’re discussing why there are such differences in price range, and how you can find a funeral provider that’s right for your budget and your family.

Why are some providers cheaper than others?

One major reason some funeral services cost more than others is due to the nature and size of the company. Larger, corporate organisations tend to house CEOs, boards and multiple location sites have more overheads compared to independent and family-owned funeral companies, who are able to pass on these savings to the families of the recently passed.

In this industry, price is rarely a reflection of quality. You can choose an affordable funeral that is just right for the person who has died, because it’s unlikely that they would have wanted you to struggle to pay for something you can’t afford. Try not to feel as though it’s disrespectful to take costs into consideration when choosing a funeral provider.

How to choose a funeral provider

When cost is important, but professional support from a reputable business matters too, there are some steps you can take to make sure you find a funeral provider that is right for you and your family.

  1. Do your research ahead of time and speak to the company directly. Call funeral providers near you to discuss your budget and requirements.
  2. Shop around to get a feel of who you’re comfortable with and who you think best matches your expectations during this sensitive time. Get at least two quotes and ask for a breakdown of the cost, so you know exactly what’s included.
  3. Ask any questions you like. The process can seem overwhelming – since it’s not something we do very often – so discuss any details related to preparations and processes on the day.

In short, a higher bill doesn’t equal a better funeral. Things like the words you say and the music you play can be much more meaningful than expensive cars and coffins. The most important thing is that you make the day unique to your family, and you work with a funeral provider that understands your wishes and provides the guidance you need during this time.

Instant, transparent pricing from Affordable Cremations

Affordable Cremations and our sister site, Personal Farewells funeral planner, offer simple, affordable options for people across New South Wales. Our prices are always transparent with no hidden costs, and we’re able to provide a quote online instantly. Check our website or give us a call on 1300 95 95 35 for a quote or to discuss your options and wishes with us.

Are Crematoriums All the Same?

Dark wooden coffin with Jesus crucifix and roses

Choosing to have a body cremated is a personal choice that’s generally made by the recently deceased person, or by a close relative. If you’d prefer this choice to a burial, then you also have to choose which crematorium the body goes to.

As this is a new process for many people, they’ll usually have a few questions. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at crematoriums in New South Wales and whether they’re all pretty much the same, or if there are some differences you need to know about.

Legal requirements in NSW

Essentially, all crematoriums have the same function. They’re a place for cremations to take place – a process that involves the burning of a body to reduce it to ashes. A cremation most commonly takes place on the day of the funeral, but they’re required by law to occur within 48 hours of the service.

In order for a crematorium to be certified, there are strict policies that have to be followed.

All bodies must be handled and disposed of in a way that follows NSW regulations, as laid out by The Public Health Act 2010 and Public Health Regulation 2012. These regulations are intended for the public and private organisations, and they control factors including:

  • The premises for handling bodies
  • Vehicles used
  • The disposal of waste
  • How the bodies are handled, including embalming and viewing processes, and the storage of bodies
  • Exhumations
  • Cremations
  • The maintenance of registers

These guidelines mean that, no matter where the cemetery is located, or who it is run by, a set of standards must be met.

Are there any differences in crematoriums?

We understand that you want the farewell of your loved one to be personalised and unique to them. After all, you want to honour their life, memories and the impact they had on the people around them as well as you can. To achieve this, you may want to shop around for a crematorium that can meet your needs.

This is encouraged, however, it’s important to know that crematoriums are all more-or-less the same. Although some can be run by the council, others by multinational corporations and some by private bodies, this is the only real difference.

When you engage the services of a funeral provider, they will often have a crematorium they use for cremations. This means that the entire process is taken care of for you, to afford more convenience and ensure the day runs smoothly for your family and friends. They will strive to find a crematorium that is close to the church or ceremony venue, so that guests don’t have to travel far.

We recommend you add the personal touch during the service and the wake, since the committal of the coffin into the cremator is a relatively quick process which – apart from making a song choice that’s special to you – doesn’t call for a high degree of personalisation.

Cremation-only services from Affordable Cremations

Affordable Cremations provides simple NSNA cremations and prepaid funerals. We offer a compassionate, flexible approach in the planning of a farewell and we service all areas of New South Wales. To find out more about planning a goodbye with Affordable Cremations, contact us online or call our 24-hour phone line on 1300 95 95 35.

Funeral Traditions and Why They Need to be Questioned

woman with white lily flowers and coffin at funeral in church

Each culture has their own traditions when it comes to honouring the life of a person – from the pyramids of Ancient Egypt to a Tibetan Sky Burial that involves feeding bodies to birds to feast on, as an act of compassion. In Australia, our funeral processes seem a little more straight-foward. Generally, a funeral is held about a week after the death of a person, attendees wear black clothes, and there is a service at a church or non-religious location, followed by a burial or cremation, then usually a wake.

For as long as we can remember, that’s the way we’ve always done things. However, that doesn’t mean you have to strictly follow traditions when you’re saying goodbye to a partner, close friend or family member.

Honouring a person’s life in your own way

Every person is unique, and the way you say goodbye to them can be, too. We’re encouraging you to stop planning within the confinements of what you think “should” constitute a funeral; instead, plan a service the way you and your loved one would have wanted it!

Life is always changing – and so is the way we celebrate life during a funeral. We’re noticing that cremations are now more common than burials, that there’s a rise in non-religious services and that more people are choosing eco-friendly burials. So, think about what was important to your loved one! How can you give them a memorial service that is a true reflection of their life and personality?

How can you make a funeral unique?

Before you rush into making funeral arrangements, have a chat with your family to think up ways to make it unique, to say farewell to your loved one in your own way. Whilst this is a time for grieving, it’s also a time to gather the people close to you to talk about happy memories you share about a person.

To help you think of some unique ways to say goodbye, here are some conversation starters:

  • What was their favourite thing to do? If the person loved to spend time at the beach, in the park or at their local sports centre, consider holding the ceremony there.
  • What music did they like? A funeral song doesn’t have to be chosen just for its solemness; you can inject joy into the celebration by playing the music the person liked, no matter how upbeat it may be. There are no rules here!
  • What were their happiest moments? Look back on a life well-lived with photographs, videos or slideshows of your memories with this person. To help you to curate a collection, ask close friends and family members to send in their favourite photographs.
  • Did they have any quirks? In the past, wearing any colours other than black was viewed as disrespectful. Nowadays, many people are choosing to organise themed funerals. If the recently deceased person had a bright, sunny personality, consider encouraging guests to wear their most colourful outfits. You could even go one step further with a themed funeral based around the things they loved, such as superheroes or 80’s pop music!

Contact us to discuss your options

Whatever way you choose to honour a life, do it in a way that’s unique to you and them. Affordable Cremations is here to listen to your wishes and will do our best to help make them come true. To find out more about our services, send us a message or call 1300 95 95 35; we’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What do Funeral Directors Actually Do?

woman choosing flowers with help of funeral director

Many of us don’t have much experience in organising funerals, but if someone close to you has passed and you have the responsibility of getting funeral and cremation/burial arrangements in order, then you may be looking for a funeral director you can trust.

But what does a funeral director actually do? In this simple guide, Affordable Cremations has explained the role of a funeral director. Once you have a better idea about how they assist with making your goodbye personal and memorable, it should be easier for you to choose someone you’re comfortable with.

The role of the funeral director

Primarily, the funeral director is there to provide a service for you, your family and friends, to honour the person that has recently died. They’re there to listen to your wishes, and help to combine them with practical actions and legal requirements, to build a funeral service that is suitable.

A funeral director should be compassionate during this sensitive time. Choose one that provides a warm, personal service, with the experience to guide you through the process and ensure you’re happy and comfortable with what they can provide.

Funeral directors are there to lessen the burden on you and your family, playing a major part in the funeral preparations, while ensuring that the wishes of you and your loved one are honored.

How can they help before, during and after the service?

As you navigate this strange time, your funeral director can become a stable point-of-contact to help you make arrangements before and after the service, and to guide you through the process on the day.

  1. They help you realise any known wishes. Sometimes, the recently deceased person discusses what they would like during their funeral service. Your funeral director can help you realise these, if they’re possible. If there’s something they can’t help you with, they should be able to refer you to someone who can.
  2. They assist with the organisation details. Planning a funeral involves a lot of organisation and tiny details. A funeral director can help you with these details – from choosing between a cremation and a burial, to deciding who should lead the ceremony, they’re there to bounce ideas off and to provide the professional guidance you need.
  3. They help you to personalise the ceremony. The life of a person is unique, and their goodbye ceremony should be too. Your funeral director may ask you some questions about the person that has just died, such as their favourite song, hobbies or even the flowers they liked. They can also provide support in the writing of the eulogies, if required, to help ensure the ceremony is a true reflection of the person’s life.
  4. They can help to organise the wake. If needed, the funeral director can help you to make arrangements for the wake following the service. They’ll have local contacts for venues and caterers, to make organising much easier on you and your family.
  5. They take care of legal matters for you. You’ve got enough on your plate at this time. Funeral directors can take care of logistics such as the registration of death and the transfer of the deceased to the funeral home.

There are endless other details a funeral director can assist with, such as liaising with the clergy or funeral celebrant, organising floral arrangements and booking times with the church or crematorium. Simply ask them for guidance and support where you need, to make the organisation as seamless and stress-free as possible.

Contact Affordable Cremations

We offer an affordable Direct Cremation service in New South Wales. We’re a family-run business that takes a personal, supportive approach to gently guide you and your family through the process. To learn more about our service, contact us online or call 1300 95 95 35.

What Makes a Farewell Personal?

Burning candle on table in darkness

What makes a Farewell Personal?

A funeral is a highly personal experience; it marks not only a person’s death, but also their life, personality, memories and the effect they had on others. Many families in NSW want to plan a funeral that’s unique to their lost loved one, but they’re concerned that this will run up a bill they might struggle to afford.

In fact, an unforgettable farewell doesn’t have to be about white gloves, top hats, fireworks, marching bands and other extravagences. It’s about the memory of your loved one, and the most meaningful farewells are ones that are symbolic and highly personalised to the recently departed person. To help give you some inspiration, here are some ways you can make a farewell more personal.

Leaving old-school funerals in the past

Just thinking about a funeral can be painful, and this often causes people to leave arrangements to the last minute and settle for a standard or traditional funeral – forgetting about those little touches that make the day personal to your family.

A funeral director should listen to your wishes and ensure you know that the choice is in your hands, so you can feel free to speak about your wishes. Traditionally, a funeral takes place around one week after a death. It includes a ceremony in a church or non-religious location, followed by a cremation or burial and then a wake, and guests wear black clothing.

More recently, funeral personalisation has become popular, and if the standard traditional funeral sounds outdated to you, you can personalise it in a way that feels inclusive for guests, and may even help with the healing process.

Funeral personalisation ideas

What makes a funeral personal is not expensive trims – but photographs, music and memories that honour someone’s life. It should reflect their personality, and there are a few ways you can make the farewell unique to the individual. For example:

  • Play a memorial DVD or slideshow with photos and videos, for a powerful tribute with memories all guests can relate to
  • Think of symbols that mean something to you and the family; write notes and send them off to the sky in balloons, release butterflies as a symbol of peace, or look for other types of symbolism that makes the day unique
  • Hold a candlelight ceremony for a peaceful gathering that provides the chance for everyone to reflect and honour the life of a lost loved one
  • Hold the ceremony or wake at a place that was special to the person that has passed. Perhaps they were a huge fan of a particular sport, they loved the beach or they visited a certain restaurant each week without fail
  • Ditch the old-school, all-black dress code of traditional funerals and instead encourage guests to wear colours or clothes that reflect the personality of your loved one

Planning a funeral

Our sister company, Personal Farewells, offers a simple 5-step process to planning a funeral. Call them on 1300 95 95 33 to talk about their services and how they can help you to personalise a farewell to make it unique and meaningful for your friends and relatives.

My Loved One Has Passed and I Haven’t Cried Yet…Is This Normal?

Sad women sitting near window alone

My Loved one has passed and I haven’t cried is that normal?

When a friend, family member or loved one dies, many people think there are certain ways they’re “supposed” to feel. However, the passing of somebody close to you will undoubtedly come as a shock, and sometimes people just don’t experience or show the emotions they expected to.

Grief is surprising and unpredictable, and it’s different for each individual person, so if you’re yet to cry after the death of a loved one, it’s important to remember that this is perfectly normal. There are a whole host of reasons why this could be happening, and we’ve listed just a few of them in this article.

You’ve already experienced “anticipatory grief”

If the recently deceased suffered from a long-term or terminal illness, you may have already experienced anticipatory grief, which could explain why you haven’t cried since you lost them. Anticipatory grief is an emotional response to loss before it actually happens; you were expecting the death and so you’ve already felt the attached grief.

This pre-acceptance can affect the way you grieve following the death, and may even ease your sense of loss. Remember that this is a normal process, so try to go easy on yourself when you don’t cry the way you expected when a loved one passes.

You’re still feeling numb from the shock

A natural response to the passing of someone close is to feel numb. You may be expecting to experience anger, depression, loneliness, frustration or something else, but emotional numbness can commonly kick in and lead to feelings of nothing at all. We understand how awful this can be, and you may feel as though others cannot relate to you – especially when they seem to be more “in touch” with their feelings. This is a confusing time; it’s likely that your feelings will return, and know that this is not a negative reflection on you or your relationship with your loved one.

Often, the expected grief comes later, and may be triggered by events such as funerals, anniversaries or conversations with people close to you.

You’re private about your grief, or you’re protecting other family members

Grief is very private to some people, and it’s normal to keep your emotions inside to provide a strong support system to others that are affected by the death. Grief is a complicated emotion, and you may not be showing yours through tears simply because you’re confused about the way you feel, or you don’t want to make others feel worse than they already do.

We all cope with loss in our own ways. When you’re ready, talk about your feelings with someone you trust and remember that you’re allowed to feel whichever emotions you have.

Are you still feeling confused?

At Affordable Cremations, we’re there for families across New South Wales who are dealing with the death of a loved one and require a sympathetic funeral planning service. We’ve seen people deal with grief in so many different ways, and we can confidently say it’s normal to be less emotional than you expected right now.

Of course, if you’re still struggling to make sense of your emotions on your own, you could consider seeing a counsellor who can talk through your recent experience and the feelings that you have. Just remember that whether you’re feeling distraught, confused, overwhelmed or nothing at all, there are people that can help you to get through this time.

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