Due to the scarcity of burial sites, as well as a tight economy, one might think numbers of seniors considering cremation would increase. These numbers are rising, but not drastically. Changes in the way people act during life’s passages really take time.
Look at Cremation’s Past and Future
Almost 30% of U.S. deaths were cremated in 2002, and 48% in Canada in 2000. However, National Cremation claims that by 2025 fifty percent of all North American families will opt for cremation. This reflects a gradual increase over the years, including Canada’s rising numbers from 45% in the year 2000.
Seniors and the Rising Cost of Dying
Although many senior citizens are watching their budgets, the cost of traditional funerals has risen to $5,000 and over. A number of both Boomers and Seniors do not have adequate life insurance, partially due to a strained economy where daily essentials take over the budget.
There are expenses related to obituary placement in newspapers. Some bereaved persons choose to do this themselves to save a bit over the funeral home that offers to handle the matter. Even though there are a few points at which savings can be made, cremation offers an overall savings which is worth consideration for the many seniors living on a budget. (Also, some seniors at death who would rather see several thousand given to a charity than spend it on burial will opt for cremation even when finances aren’t an issue.)
Unexpected Costs of Untimely Death
Although all knows they’ll die someday, some seniors find themselves in the position of dealing with an untimely death. For example, an elderly person may lose a son or daughter. In some of these cases there may not have been any planning since the death is out of sync with expected life spans. In addition, many deaths are untimely when it comes to planning budgets and schedules.
Cremation as a Green Choice for Seniors
With rising populations, many older adults are looking at cremation as a part of an overall green lifestyle. Cremation allows land to be used for the living while still returning the departed ones to nature. Many environmentalists would rather see extra land used for conservationist purposes rather than increasing numbers of graveyards. (However, for those who still wish to visit a grave, burying the ashes is also an option.)
Why Boomers and Other Seniors Consider Cremation
Because the time lines are broader, cremation allows more involvement by family, church and community. With older adults who choose cremation, there is more time for the gathering of loved ones to participate in ceremonies of their choice. Taking this pressure off bereaved spouses and other family members at such a time is lifting a huge burden off their already troubled schedules.
Records Needed for Seniors Who Choose Cremation
Even with cremation, there is paperwork involved with basic life records. These are some useful papers to keep with one’s End of Life File. Such a packet should be known to family and kept in an agreed-on place.
- Military records
- Life insurance
- Mother’s maiden name
- Divorce or marriage documents
- Social security number
This information will be needed for death certificate and other paperwork involved in cremation.
There is a trend toward more older adults looking into the benefits of being cremated. The rising costs of dying and the worldwide economy provide motivation to consider not just the financial advantages, but also the opportunity to have wider choices in scheduling memorial events and gathering family together. Boomers and other seniors need to get paperwork in order to make passing a less stressful time for their loved ones. Maybe this is a good time to consider cremation as a choice to make dying easier on everyone.