Technology and the Funeral Service
With the increased technology that we have all around us I have been looking at the different ways that this effects a funeral service. There are some good and some that could be considered bad. I guess that depends on you.
- Finding a funeral director i.e. Google – There are many people that know who their funeral director, or at least the company, will be. They have been there on the high street, part of their Church or other organisation or a tradition within the family. For others they do not know where to turn. There is the option to go with a national company but many these days want the personal service of an independent funeral director. Thanks to technology the search for a funeral director has been made easier by most having websites, social media, advertisements online even their own apps. These also give you an insight into what the funeral directors is like.
- Communication methods – For many years that has of course been the telephone, fax, letter and face to face. With the increase in technology the ways in which you can communicate with your funeral director, other people involved or even to share ideas with family has been increased. It has now been known that funeral arrangements have taken place via Skype, an online video-link. I am by no means saying that this is for everyone, but for people out of the area who want to make arrangements, as an example, this opens up the door.
- Online support and information – There is a wealth of help and information now available on the internet. This is there to help anyone that feels that they need it and for even those that don’t feel they need any help. There are many support groups and charities that are able to help or just give you information. I have listed below a few that may offer some guidance. If someone passed away from a particular condition or disease then the associated group will offer a wealth and knowledge and support.http://www.cruse.org.uk Cruse Bereavement Care
http://www.childbereavementuk.org/support Child Bereavement UK
http://theprobatedepartment.co.uk information about Probate
https://www.victimsupport.org.uk Victims and their families
http://roseberryfuneralservice.co.uk/what-next-when-someone-dies/ – my own information page
https://www.gov.uk/browse/benefits/bereavement – information about payments following a death and benefits that can be received.
- Record funeral services or webcasting – Many families can now be long distances away from each other. My own family has been spread out from the North East, London to Somerset. I also know of any people that have immigrated to other countries. It is in times like this, when someone passes away, that distance can be a big problem. That is when the service of having the service recorded or even streamed live over the internet can help people to still share, grieve and be a part of the loss that you are all feeling. Thanks to the increase in technology this is now possible.
- Music ie Wesley system – Music is a very big part of any funeral service and is a way of depicting your emotions, the personality of the deceased and a way to set the mood. In recent years there have been many changes to the way that music can be played at most crematoriums. There is a company called “Wesley Media” that provides an online library database for most crematoriums across the UK. This now means that music can be ordered online, through your funeral director, and the music is there ready for the day of the service. Long gone are the days when you would have to source your own CDs, label them up and hope that they play the right track. It has also helped people locate tracks that are less well known or could be diverse.
- Funeral selfie – the most famous of these is where Prime Minister David Cameron, President Obama and Helle Thorning-Schmidt (Danish prime minister), at Nelson Mandelas memorial service, took a selfie. This act went viral and there are many responses to this. Looking into this more there is a craze to take selfies at some part of the funeral service. As a positive you could say that this is someone who is expressing their emotions in a way that they know, celebrating rather than commiserating or you could say it is in very bad taste. There have been website that have dedicated themselves to the funeral service or #Funeralselfie. Good or bad, that is for you to decide.
- Online memorials – These create a place where you can commemorate the deceased and a place where people can post their own thoughts and memories. Being online it can be accessed by all. The online troll (a person that wants to cause offence or harass) is something that has been reported on within this industry but many others. There are always improvements being made and security is getting stronger. If anyone was to post anything on my website, for instance onto a funeral diary post, then I would need to approve the post. That stops the troll problem full stop.
With technology ever growing this is only a short list of the ways it has changed the jobs we do and the service that I can provide. Even in the choice of funeral service, i.e. burial and cremation, technology is already looking to add another alternative. Whether these are good or bad, this if only for you to decide.