According to Fortune, the number of cremations across the nation nearly doubled from 25 percent in 1999 to almost 47 percent in 2014. If you are a baby boomer, you might not consider yourself as elderly or identify as “senior citizens in your silver years.” However, baby boomers are not only living longer than past generations, but are also dying longer, sometimes in hospitals or nursing homes, where they have suffered for years. For these reasons, you might feel reluctant to talk about your own death. But some boomers, true to their reputation for tackling difficult issues without hesitation, want to break the unwanted traditions associated with dying and implement changes that reflect who they are.
Baby Boomers Take Initiative
You might not have developed a particular fondness for conversing about death, especially your own. However, it is important to address this issue head on. Moving past old taboos of talking about death can give you more control over the end of your life. What’s more, intentionally planning for it will help prevent you from becoming a burden to your family and loved ones later on.
Making your own funeral arrangements, for instance, can be a two-fold blessing: It gives you peace of mind that everything is taken care of according to your wishes, and it gives your families time to grieve your loss and celebrate your life. As difficult as the death of a family member is, the additional stress of planning and paying for a funeral service can often overwhelm loved ones at a time when they should not have to worry about these stressful decisions. It requires them to make confusing choices, deal with troublesome financial matters, and try to get everyone to agree. This can hinder the healing process and add unwanted anxiety. If you plan ahead, you can help alleviate many of these issues. Preplanning allows your loved ones to focus on working through their grief and spending time with other relatives, supporting each other during a difficult time.
Beginning New Traditions and Moving Past Funerals
If you are a boomer, the traditional funerals of your parents’ generation might not do. You might not want to be remembered lying stiffly in a casket in the impersonal atmosphere of a funeral home. Instead, you might prefer to be remembered as a loving and caring person. You might want your unique life to be recognized and celebrated by all of your loved ones and friends.
For these reasons, cremation has statistically emerged as boomers’ first choice when preplanning their funerals. Although cremation is usually about a third the cost of a traditional burial, price alone might not affect you. Instead, you might prefer cremation because you can easily personalize your preference. By purchasing different styles of urns, which come in all shapes and sizes that can be decorated and engraved, your individuality will be reflected and memorialized. In addition, your loved ones will have the flexibility of doing the following with urns:
- Placing them in cremation niches in cemeteries.
- Setting them upon the mantel.
- Putting them in backyard gardens.
- Keeping them in other unique spots.
You might request that your ashes be scattered over your favorite geographical location. However, keepsake urns are also gaining in popularity, especially if you want to split up the ashes among family members. Alternatively, cremation jewelry memorializes loved ones by placing a small amount of ashes into custom-designed necklaces, bracelets, and other keepsakes.
Additional Statistics about Cremation
In 2012, the rate of cremation varied across the nation from a low of 16.9 percent in Mississippi to a high of 74.2 percent in Nevada. Speculation for why there is a high cremation rate in Nevada includes a transient population with few family connections who are not tied to traditional values. Even so, both states – and nearly every state in the nation – saw an increase in the cremation rate between 2008 and 2012. Overall, the cremation rate in the East was about half of that in the West.
A Meaningful Reflection
Baby boomers often desire an elaborate memorial service that combines a beautiful celebration of life with a meaningful send-off. This can include a video biography, carefully selected music, and touching and humorous stories. You might want everything personalized, tailored to honor your life, family, and success. It can be nice to get your children and grandchildren involved as well. Whatever you do, it’s important to help those present begin healing after you are gone.
Additional Advantages of Preplanning
By planning ahead, you can ensure that your loved ones will not have to make challenging decisions later, especially during a difficult, emotional time in their lives. By prepaying funeral costs or opting for a payment plan, you can lock in lower prices, sparing loved ones from facing financial stress and ensuring that your end-of-life services will proceed exactly as you want. Planning for funeral arrangements is best done sooner rather than later. Your life reflects your individuality, and your death can similarly honor you as well.