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A Guide to Attending Funeral Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic

A Guide to Attending Funeral Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic

With respect to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic we’re living in, times are tragic, traumatic, and tricky. We are left with so many questions about how to console one another, and ourselves. People we love are passing away, friends are losing their loved ones. In addition to people we love dying of COVID-19, we are unsure how to lay to rest our departed and how to appropriately comfort those we love who are mourning. So, let’s take a minute to address the elephant in the room — should we be attending funerals during this pandemic?

Should I Attend a Funeral Service During the Pandemic?

There are two answers to this. First, it depends on your level of comfort being around others or if you prefer to stay at home for safety. Second, and even more importantly, it depends on what the family has decided to do for the funeral arrangements. Families are deciding between a few options for funerals. If the family does decide to hold an in-person service, they may limit the number of people in attendance or keep the gathering to immediate family members. Some might even postpone services until after social distancing guidelines are lifted.
Funeral home staff members have been particularly helpful with providing alternative solutions for funeral arrangements. Some funeral homes are offering virtual services, such as live streams of memorials or other tributes. Others are providing online guest books where friends can leave notes of condolences and other personal anecdotes.
If the family prefers to hold an in-person funeral service, whether you choose to attend in person will depend on your level of comfort. For instance, if you have a family member at home who is immunocompromised, you may not feel comfortable attending the service and potentially increasing you and your loved one’s exposure to the coronavirus. However, if you do feel comfortable with personally attending the memorial to offer your condolences and pay your respects, the funeral home will most likely be observing social distancing measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to increase the safety of all those in attendance.

If I Go, Do I Need to Wear a Mask?

Most likely, yes. However, beyond the practice of wearing masks, the most important factor to preserve yours and others’ safety while attending an in-personal funeral service is to engage in social distancing. In adherence to social distancing guidelines, you may be attending an outdoor funeral with seating, six feet apart from one another. You will want to keep distanced from anyone who does not live with you in your household. Make sure to wash your hands often as well. It is an unfortunate and difficult fact of these sensitive circumstances to not be able to show affection as support for your family members and friends, but it’s best for now. You can hug and kiss those in your household who are accompanying you to the service, but otherwise your presence will serve as the best demonstration of love and support you can give.

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A Closer Look at the Costs

A Closer Look at the Costs

Costs of Funerals rank among one of the most expensive purchases people will ever make. We take a look at the costs associated with funerals and what you need to know when arranging or preplanning a funeral.

Funeral costs include:

1. Basic services fee for the funeral director and staff

The Funeral Rule allows funeral providers to charge a basic services fee that customers cannot decline to pay. The basic services fee includes services that are common to all funerals, regardless of the specific arrangement. These include funeral planning, securing the necessary permits and copies of death certificates, preparing the notices, sheltering the remains, and coordinating the arrangements with the cemetery, crematory or other third parties. The fee does not include charges for optional services or merchandise.

2. Charges for other services and merchandise

These are costs for optional goods and services such as transporting the remains; embalming and other preparation; use of the funeral home for the viewing, ceremony or memorial service; use of equipment and staff for a graveside service; use of a hearse or limousine; a casket, outer burial container or alternate container; and cremation or interment.

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Things to know about preplanning

Things to know about preplanning

There are many reasons to consider preplanning your funeral. The most important one is that it takes away from your survivors the pressure of making a decision under very difficult circumstances.

Prearrangements also let you choose exactly how you want to be memorialized and allows for personal preferences in all aspects of the funeral service.

In years past, preplanning your funeral was considered taboo. However, more and more people are becoming educated about the funeral process. Learning more about what is involved in this event and planning ahead is a major benefit for your loved ones.

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