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Cremation is already on the increase across all of North America, and forecast to rise considerably over the next fifteen years. There is a distinct trend changing the landscape of the funeral industry. A number of cultural shifts can be seen to have influenced why North Americans are modifying their end-of-life choices. As outlined below, the Cremation Association of North America (CANA) conducted research that identified the following nine points as reasons why cremation is now on the increase:

1. People are dying older and choosing cremation for themselves.

2. Migration to retirement locations is on the increase.

3. Cremation has become more acceptable.

4. Environmental considerations are becoming more important.

5. The Level of education is rising.

6. Ties to tradition are becoming weaker.

7. Regional differences are diminishing.

8. Religious restrictions are diminishing.

9. Greater flexibility in memorialization services.

CANA’s research fails to identify the one most significant reason why North Americans are now turning more to cremation – cost.

A report in 2006 sponsored by the funeral industry (Wirthlin Report), provided five principle reasons why cremation is chosen as:

1. Saves Money (30%)

2. Saves Land (13%)

3. Simpler (8%)

4. Body Not in Earth (6%)

5. Personal Preference (6%)

This report clearly highlighted that cost is a primary reason why cremation is on the increase. Cremation is most certainly a personal choice, but the decision to opt for cremation is increasingly one of cost as well. A simple, or direct, cremation can start at as little as $695, whereas a basic burial will incur costs of around $2,500. [These prices are generalised examples, and funeral costs do vary considerably by State or Province.] It is therefore quite understandable how cremation is on the increase, as tough economic times impact upon North Americans’ pockets.

A global economic crisis takes its toll on all aspects of life…and death, and there certainly cannot be a truer phrase than it is “becoming too expensive to die” these days! When cost is of paramount importance, and with little help offered by State Welfare, it is quite understandable to see why more and more people are turning to ‘basic funerals’ or direct cremations’ as a solution. A direct cremation or simple burial can be just as dignified as an expensive so-called ‘traditional’ funeral.

A simple burial includes the transfer of remains to the funeral home, embalming, dressing, the basic services of a funeral director and staff, the use of facilities for viewing and the funeral ceremony (or supervision of ceremony at other facility), a utility vehicle and hearse, and the obtaining and filing all necessary certificates. Variations on whether a simple graveside, or chapel service, are conducted may variate prices.

A direct or simple cremation involves the collection and cremation of the deceased without any form of faith or memorial service. It usually includes the basic services of a funeral director, transportation of the remains, the crematory/crematorium fees, a basic receptacle for the cremated remains and obtaining and filing all necessary certificates and permits for cremation. The inclusive fees may vary between providers, so do check the specifics of a direct cremation from the provider. Although a faith or memorial service is not included as part of a direct cremation, you can arrange a service separately. Alternatively, you may wish to arrange your own memorial at a place and time convenient to family members. Many families are now choosing to conduct their own, personalized memorial service in a befitting way, and place, to their lost loved one.

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