The Impact of COVID-19 on the Death Care Industry
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on many industries, including the death care industry. From funeral homes to crematoriums, the way that we say goodbye to our loved ones has changed. Here are some ways that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the death care industry:
Changes to Funeral Services
The pandemic has led to significant changes in funeral services. Many funeral homes have had to limit the number of guests at services and implement social distancing guidelines. Additionally, some funeral homes have started offering virtual funerals and live-streaming services to allow loved ones to attend from a distance. Golden Haven, for example, pioneered WakeConnect. It is an extra effort they took in order to ensure that clients can still grieve despite the limitations set by the pandemic.
Increased Demand for Cremation Services
Due to the risk of COVID-19 transmission, many families have opted for cremation services instead of traditional burial services. Cremation allows for the safe and efficient handling of remains, and it can be more cost-effective than traditional burial services. In fact, in the Philippines, there was a particular time when all those who have passed needed to be cremated regardless of the cause of death. The demand for cremation for some time was so great that there was a lot of wait time.
Shortages of Caskets and Urns
The pandemic has caused shortages of many supplies, including caskets and urns. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant disruptions in the supply chain. There were shortages of many products, including caskets and urns. With the rise in COVID-19 deaths before, funeral homes, and crematoriums have been struggling to keep up with the increased demand for their services. The demand for caskets and urns has exceeded the supply, leading to delays and shortages.
Funeral homes have had to limit the selection of caskets and urns available to families due to these shortages. In some cases, families have had to choose from a smaller selection of caskets or urns or wait for their preferred option to become available. This has added stress to an already challenging time for families who are mourning the loss of a loved one.
Challenges for Funeral Directors and Staff
Funeral directors and staff have faced unique challenges during the pandemic. They have had to adapt to new safety protocols and procedures, including wearing personal protective equipment and implementing new sanitation measures. Additionally, they have had to deal with an increase in workload and emotional stress due to the pandemic. On top of the difficult work that they face, is having no choice but to also compromise their safety. Funeral directors and staff are also considered as front liners. They had to perform their tasks even through community lockdowns and quarantine.
Delayed Grief and Mourning
The pandemic has made it challenging for individuals to grieve and mourn the loss of their loved ones. Social distancing guidelines and travel restrictions have made it difficult for families to come together to mourn and support one another.
In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the death care industry. From changes to funeral services to increased demand for cremation services and shortages of caskets and urns, the pandemic has forced the industry to adapt to new challenges. Funeral directors and staff have faced unique challenges during the pandemic, and families have had to navigate delayed grief and mourning. As we continue to navigate the pandemic, it’s essential to support and recognize the important work of the death care industry in helping families say goodbye to their loved ones.