In the last few years, many baby boomers have had the unfortunate task of making funeral arrangements for their parents. As difficult as it is emotionally, arranging a funeral for a loved one makes us confront mortality, which can be a good thing. Often it prompts us to get serious about specifying our own wishes.
That’s where many Baby Boomers find themselves. After having an up close and personal experience with a traditional funeral, some have decided to forgo the formalities for a greener funeral.
Baby Boomers Are in Funeral Planning Mode
Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) are now up to 76 years old. Like it or not, it’s an age when people begin to think about what will happen once they pass away. Even so, the majority of people never make funeral plans.
A recent survey from the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) revealed that only 17% of people under 65 years old make funeral arrangements in advance. But the number jumps to 34% after 75 years old. A study published in Health Affairs also had similar findings with 1 in 3 people having some sort of advance funeral arrangements. Other surveys suggest that a much larger number of people discuss wishes with a loved one at some point, but no arrangements are actually made.
However, now more Baby Boomers are planning their funerals because they don’t want their family to have to go through the hassle and stress of making all of the decisions in three days or less. What those advance funeral plans are revealing is a growing preference for nontraditional, green funeral services. Surprisingly, Millennials are actually planning their own funerals at a higher rate than Baby Boomers, and unsurprisingly, they too are interested in green funerals.
Discussing funeral plans with family is never easy, but in the long-run it makes the experience easier overall. Never is this truer than when family members disagree on how a funeral should be conducted. With funeral pre-arrangements everything is already specified so there’s no debate over how things should be handled.
Baby Boomers Are Gravitating Toward Green Burial
More and more Baby Boomers are warming up to the idea of a simplified green burial without all the fuss and expense of a traditional funeral. Cost is a major factor in the decision, however, many Baby Boomers say they like the thought of their remains promoting growth and a healthy environment rather than adding pollutants into the soil. They like knowing they’ll become part of the Earth after their death.
Nearly three quarters of green and hybrid cemeteries (73%) have reported an increased interest in green burial in recent years. And given that Baby Boomers are most likely to be reaching out to funeral homes to make advanced arrangements it’s safe to assume the trend is being driven by older Americans.
In 2008, a survey from Kates-Boylston Publications revealed that 43% of American adults would consider a green burial. In a NFDA survey from 2017, 54% of respondents said they’d consider green burial. An 11% increase in nine years makes it clear the green burial concept is catching on.
Other than environmental benefits and lower cost, another appealing feature of green burials is the unique memorial and graveside services. It’s a funeral option that offers a lot of personalization for an extremely meaningful memorial that’s more of a celebration than somber.
Cremation Rates Are Also on the Rise Among Eco-Conscious Baby Boomers
Like other generations, Baby Boomers are choosing cremation over burial at an increased rate. And many don’t want a funeral at all in order to minimize impact. A survey from FuneralWise found that while 31% of all respondents don’t want a funeral, 37% of respondents over 75 years old said the same.
Instead of having a funeral many people plan to use direct cremation for a simplified end of life service that’s as green as possible.
Reporting from the NFDA credits Baby Boomers as a catalyst for cremation outpacing burial in the last four years. At the time the report was released, the NFDA Vice President Mike Nicodemus stated, “Baby Boomers have been a significant factor in this shift and their preferences will inform decisions made by the funeral profession for years to come.”
If your funeral plans include eco-friendly cremation we can provide expert assistance. As the first and only carbon-neutral funeral home, Green Cremation Texas makes innovation and efficiency a priority. Learn more about our green cremation services and service areas.