Funeral, Cemetery and Cremation Final Arrangements - Death. It's Back! Are You Ready?
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An article discussing the coming Baby Boomer aging and its affects on funeral services, cemetery burial and cremation services planning by large increase in senior aged Americans over the coming two decades by Death Care consultant RW Ward.

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Death. It’s Back! 
Are You Ready?

By RW Ward

Like a bad penny, Death will make a dramatic comeback to the American consciousness in the next three decades. Death will touch one in four Americans this year on a personal level. It might even come for you. More than likely it will be someone close to you if you are the one in four Americans who will feel Death's awful finality and loss this year.

Most of us are woefully inadequate to handle not only the emotional but also the practical ramifications of deaths inevitable visit to us. We have managed to avoid the reality of death in our lives because it has remained at bay for nearly three decades.

Up to the early 1970’s death personally affected one in four of us about every seven years. Someone close to us or in our immediate family passed away at least once in each decade we were living through.

Since the 70’s medical science has managed to postpone death’s visit to us, so now we experience the death of someone close to us, on average only once every 13 or 14 years. Death’s out of sight, out of mind status has taken it from our conscious concerns, relegating it to an interesting abstract thought for most of us.

Death will make a dramatic comeback over the next 30 years. Most of us are not prepared. We have no idea of what we are even supposed to know about it. Unfortunately, most of us have avoided even the thought of death because it is so frightening.

Despite our hope death will just go away and not come our way, it is coming and with a vengeance. The death rate currently at approximately 2.4 million per year will surge to over 3.5 million between now and 2035. This translates into an unprecedented 50% increase in the US death rate. The return to our lives being affected by a death every seven years will again be part of our lives in the coming decades.

The why death is making its comeback is very simple, Baby Boomers. Beginning in 1946 and continuing through 1963 the United States experienced an unprecedented increase in live births. This bulge in a particular stratum of the US demographic has affected every aspect of our society from its favorite movies to its attitudes in politics and religion.

As this enormous bulge in population moves through the timeline of life, it is now poised to dominate life’s final fact, the inevitability of death to all living things. A fact the medical profession has been able to postpone and extend up until now.

The hourglass has now been turned over for the last time and the remaining sands of the baby boomer’s generation allotted amount are beginning to slip through. Over the next thirty years the actuary tables will again reassert themselves into the American vernacular and its very fabric. The problem is we as a society are not prepared nor much interested in facing this truth.

Studies have shown that most married couples, on average, have never spent even 20 minutes discussing the subject of death on a personal level. That fact is an astounding and revealing statistic when you think of all that results from death’s inevitable occurrence.

If you asked most us what the phrase “final arrangements” means, most of us would say it had something to do with our hotel reservations or plane connections. Most would never connect “final arrangements” with its true meaning, the systematic and thoughtful preparation for our own or a loved ones funeral, cemetery burial or cremation.

Because we don’t connote these “final arrangements” with the subject of death and ourselves, we go ahead making sure we have taken care of those hotel accommodation and airline tickets. We never take, even a moment, to even think about making sure we have an itinerary for the most important trip we will ever make, save the one we came into to the world on, namely our own birth.

Many of us would be surprised to find that thinking and doing something about our own “final arrangements” isn’t really all that morbid nor unusual. We just witnessed how “final arrangements” is used by some of the most influential and respected in our world. The death, funeral and final resting of Pope John Paul II is a prime example of “final arrangements” practiced in its purest form. It isn’t the only example as Prince Renair’s final arrangements showed.

There really is little difference in the mechanics of making final arrangements for a Pope, King, Prince, Pharaoh or ones self. It simply is that someone must do it.

Finding out how is not hard; if we can get over the fear of what it is we are trying to make final arrangements for, specifically ourselves. Funeral directors, clergy and books are all available to help ferret out what we need to know.

Even the Internet has now become a good source for getting the necessary information to help make plans. Try typing the phrase “final arrangements” into Google, MSN, Yahoo, AOL or your favorite Search Engine and just follow the links to a wealth of information.

Many people, besides fear, don’t try to make final arrangements because they expect it cost money and they don’t want to tie up their savings on something that has nothing to do with living. There are pros and cons as to whether someone should fund their final arrangements once they are made. Some say use insurance instead while others say insurance should be for our survivors and funding our final arrangements plans should be done separately. It really should be an individual decision based on our own financial situation.

The key thing to remember about why one should make final arrangements is that when our loved ones face the terrible anxiety and fear that inevitably accompanies our death, the most critical question they always have is not can they afford this for us but rather is this what we really would have wanted.

If we haven’t given the simple knowledge they are doing what we wanted, by not leaving, at least, some kind of final arrangements guidelines, we have squandered one of the most precious gifts one can give to a loved one in distress, comfort in the face of the loss of us.


For More Details on Information and Advice in the article please visit one of the following: 

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About the Author
RW Ward, Essexville, Michigan, USA
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RW Ward is Founder and Managing Director of The New Concept Consultants Organization which conducts Death Care, Senior and Mature Adult consumer market trend research and consulting from its offices in Essexville, Michigan, USA. The author writes and studies marketing and consumer trends in the death care industry as well as the Senior and Mature Adult markets and around the world. His industry experience includes some of the world's largest death care providers.

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