The Ultimate Funeral Aftercare Checklist For Supporting Families

As a funeral professional, you work hard to support your families through some of the most stressful and emotionally draining days of their lives.

And while a beautiful funeral service will always help them to heal, mourn or even celebrate the life of a loved one, for most people, their grieving process can continue to set -in well after the funeral service is over.

That’s where the power of funeral aftercare comes in.

We recently asked our community on Facebook to share their thoughts and opinions regarding aftercare. We wanted to know: Do you believe that supporting families through their grief journey is part of a funeral director’s role?

As it turns out, the opinions are very varied. However, it seems that those who are investing in the future of funerals seem to agree that aftercare and grief support is at the foundation of funeral service.

At funeralOne, we believe helping client families through their grief journey is one of the most influential roles of a funeral professional. It has become such an important space in the funeral profession because for many funeral directors, it is the biggest space they can show up most in as a leader in the community.

Not only does having a funeral aftercare plan allow you to continue caring for your families and make sure they have as helpful an experience as possible, but it also establishes trust and expertise between you. It forms a tighter connection, which helps encourage them to keep coming back for future funeral services.

Need help putting together a solid funeral aftercare plan? Check out our ultimate post-funeral aftercare checklist:

 

Before the funeral service….

It might be called “aftercare” but truly comprehensive grief support starts the moment you meet your families. Here are a few ways you can WOW your families by showing up and supporting them before the funeral service even begins…

 

✅Have a grief support guide ready for them on your website

Clora Funeral Home’s website offers up an entire Grief Support Guide on their website, packed with resources that families can use anytime. Their guide is pretty comprehensive, addressing every stage of grief so they can support their families across a longer time span.

As you can see, Clora Funeral Home’s Grief Support Guide is very thorough and provides grief support for every stage of grief.

 

✅Empower them with tools to support the whole family

Immediately after a loss, families are in a very vulnerable state, and yet they still may be faced with the task of supporting others, especially small children in the family. A few of our clients use this Sesame Street Grief Toolkit to address those tough topics with children in the family. Not only is it fun and “real”, but it’s incredibly interactive and makes the topic of death way less scary for all members of the family.

Sytsema Funeral Home’s offers The Sesame Street Grief Toolkit on their site. It’s full of videos, images, and even storybooks for parents and children to have difficult conversations about death, remembering the loved one.

 

✅ Create a grief support book library

Offering up a grief support library is a great way to keep your families coming back to you for support, and is a great touch point of communication to check-in with them when they bring the book back.

 

✅Offer them a way to share and read memories

Social memorial websites are an incredibly powerful online resource you can take advantage of even before the funeral service to offer your families grief support. These personalized websites remain online forever and add tremendous value and comfort to your grieving families.

Not only can your families view these memorials from the comfort of their home, but they can share their memories and thoughts directly to their loved one’s social memorial website. That way, other family members can see, comment and continue the conversation about their loved one well after their service has taken place.

 

Days after the funeral service…

 

✅ Send a thank you card

Another way you can show your support is to mail thank you cards to your families to thank them for choosing your funeral home and let them know you’re still thinking of them. These simple and timely gestures can be comforting when your families are experiencing grief.

Websites like Canva offer free stylized templates (like these)  that you can use with thoughtful design ideas that appropriately match the family or individual you are thanking (see below).

 

✅ Give them a grief counselor in the comfort of their own home

If there’s one glaring truth shared between funeral professionals, it’s that people grieve in different ways. And although there’s not a one size fits all solution when it comes to grief support and funeral aftercare, that doesn’t mean it has to be forgotten.  Interactive grief videos designed by funeralOne and seen here on the Sytsema Funeral Home website can offer crucial online resources for family members who are looking for information regarding their particular kind of grief.

Check out  Sytsema Funeral Home’s Grief and Healing section on their website here.

With the click of a button, your families can listen to bereavement care specialist, Dr. Virginia Simpson, provide compassionate counseling as it pertains to a variety of different kinds of grief. These interactive grief videos cover a wide range topics in a way like: experiencing a loss during childhood, grieving a suicide, grieving the loss of a child, parent or spouse, and many more.

 

Weeks after the service…

 

✅ Host a Grief Support Workshop

Grief support workshops provide a reason for grieving families to get together to honor their loved ones, share experiences and connect with others who are also going through similar grief. Erlewien Mortuary hosts regular grief seminars with a clinical psychologist to offer their families group-style, face-to-face support whenever they need it.

To check out Erlewein Mortuary’s Community Events Page, click here.

 

✅ Offer up a local grief support camp for children

March Funeral Homes taps into their community and invites their client families to support their children through grief by attending one of the largest bereavement summer camps in the US. By expanding their network beyond themselves, March Funeral Homes positions themselves as a grief support leader in their community.

You can learn more about this grief summer camp here.

 

✅ Help families remember through art

Aftercare workshops can also be creative and light-hearted. By partnering with your local florist or taking it on yourself, you may find that a sympathy flower DIY workshop may help ease your families healing process. By sharing tips to preserve these tokens of sympathy and by providing a workshop on how to craft DIY shadow boxes, memorial wreaths or  picture frame keepsakes, you can enhance the quality of your aftercare and continue to support your families through their grieving process in imaginative ways.

 

✅ Shine light on your community’s grief support network

Even if you don’t host these events yourself, you can help your families stay social by encouraging them to attend in-person support groups, meetings, conferences, and more. You can do this by featuring them on your funeral home website (see below), positioning yourself as a helpful resource to for families when they need that extra boost of support.

Schoedinger Funeral Home keeps a pulse on the grief & healing events in their community, making them a leader in this space.

Months after the funeral service…

 

✅ Start an Email Newsletter

Sending out a quarterly or even a bi-annual email newsletter can give structure to your funeral aftercare by keeping your community informed and providing them with substantial content related to grieving, funeral planning and upcoming events.

The Sproles Family Funeral Home in New Castle, Indiana has a “Circle of Friends” e-newsletter that can be sent to anyone who signs up for it on their website. It’s focused on grief and recovery and is full of inspirational quotes, poems, stories and great information to help their families through difficult times.

 

✅ Give them 365 days of inspiration and affirmations

Don’t have time to make your own newsletter? Funeral Homes like Posey Funeral Directors are using daily email affirmations to better connect and interact with their families online, offered through their website platform.

Once they subscribe, families can receive uplifting daily email affirmations that offer hope, quotes of inspiration and encouragement as they embark on their emotional journey of grieving in the days and months to come.

Here’s a preview of Day 1 of the Daily Email Affirmation feature offered on the f1Connect website platform.

 

✅  Maintain communication long after the service

Establishing a solid connection with your families after a funeral service is by far one of the most integral elements of funeral aftercare. Thankfully, there are many ways to stay connected with your families. Set reminders for your staff to make follow up calls approximately 4-8 weeks after a funeral service to reach out to grieving family members you’ve served who could use your encouraging words long after your work is done.

 

Funeral aftercare can be easy

That wraps up our post-funeral checklist for how to best support your families and remind them that you’re still thinking of them. However, we’d like you to know: while your job is already one of many hats, grief support does not have to be another huge responsibility for you. With so many third-party resources already available in your community, start by connecting with your network.

Another solution that makes funeral aftercare easy is choosing a funeral website platform that does the work for you. If you want a fully done-for-you website with a dedicated grief support section that will offer your families support from the get-go. get in touch with one of our Funeral Success Specialists!

When it comes to aftercare, do you have any additional tips or new grief support resources to share with us? Please feel free to comment below on our funeralOne blog and we might just write about it in a future blog post!

Rochelle Rietow

funeralOne

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