6 Amazing Ways Funeral Homes Are Responding to COVID-19

With all of the strict safety regulations and social distancing, how can we still honor our loved ones properly?

This is a question many funeral homes are asking themselves, faced with the challenge of forced innovation.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has its negative traits and unfortunate implications, we like to see the silver lining in all. And that’s why we’re here to share with you the amazing ways funeral homes are innovating and adapting their services in light of COVID-19.

Check out these 6 ways funeral homes are innovating and adapting below:

1. Getting creative with the idea of long distance hugs

Milner & Orr Funeral Home recognizes the challenges of being isolated, especially following the death of a love done. Which is why they created the program “Hugs From Home”. The program allows friends and family to write a message of condolence for the grieving family, and Milner & Orr Funeral Home will tie the message to a balloon that hangs in their funeral chapel. Each balloon will represent the community members who cannot make it to the service due to restrictions of COVID-19. Many funeral homes are taking a page out of their book, using this program in similar ways. We love seeing this kind of innovation spread!

 

2. A place to grieve and honor in isolation

As a pillar of inspiration in their community, Unity In The Gold Country Spiritual Center often relies on in-person interactions to create a healing space for their members. However, due to social distancing rules, no one is able to gather in-person. To honor those lost, they’ve created a Wall of Remembrance for everyone lost during the virus, so people can individually come to honor them, in their own time. Unity has also taped the faces of those in the community onto the chairs they usually sit in, so their presence is still, somehow, there. 

 

3. Inviting the community to contribute to the service through live streaming funerals

Although funeral webcasting has been around for many years, this service is gaining popularity because of its relevance to the times we’re facing now. Below, in the video, one doctor describes his experience webcasting his father’s funeral, and how healing it was for all: 

You can also read about the power of webcasting in the New York Times article “The Surprising Intimacy of the Live-Streamed Funeral”. 

Note: Fortunately, funeralOne is offering free webcasting services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to learn more and start using this form of support for your families at this time. 

 

4. Understanding the importance of presence through video

In addition to livestream funerals, churches and funeral homes are opening up a space to interact with each other through video with video conference tools such as Zoom. This gives participants a chance to see each other, almost like they’re in the room together. 

Minister Eileen Wiviott of the Unitarian Church of Evanston, for example, put together a Zoom call to memorialize someone in the community. Describing the experience on NPR, she says: “90 people showed up!” noting that it turned into an unplanned memorial. “And that included people from his work life who talked about their memories of him and how he had been a mentor to them.

Source: NPR

 

5. Tapping into the new art of the drive-through funeral

Usually, the idea of a drive-through funeral would seem creative at best, and creepy at worst. Now, however, many funeral homes are using this innovative option to offer friends & family of the departed to pay their respects, while respecting federal social distancing regulations. Curious how it works? 

Here how it works, according to Howard Fields, creator of The Promise Land drive through video service:

“I have a TV screen in that window. And then, you can see the remains in the casket in that window on TV screen. You just drive through and you view the date and time of the service. The first time I used it, probably 50 people came through that area to view.We provide masks and gloves, as long as we have them, for people who come in, family in particular, who will come in to make arrangements and to see their loved one,”

According to Howard’s local news station, the drive through allows visitors to come through 24/7, with the families approval. 

To watch the video on Howard’s drive thru operations, click here.

 

6. Offering an online space for postponed and cancelled services 

For those who are opting to postpone or even cancel services, funeral homes around the country are also encouraging families to spark conversations through the loved one’s tribute wall. It’s very easy to access the tribute wall, which is right on the loved one’s obituary page. A tribute wall works much like a Facebook feed; giving the surrounding community an online space to post photos, memories, videos, light a candle, and even purchase flowers and gifts in honor of the loved one. 

We love seeing the healing power of the tribute wall in action, like the example below: 

This is an example of a social memorial website, courtesy of Neidhard-Young Funeral Home

 

We encourage you to use these ideas or inspiration at your own funeral home or funeral-related business! 

Want to know how you can help families during this time, with the help of your website? Contact one of our Funeral Success Specialists today by clicking here or calling (800)-798-2575.

 

Let us know how else you’re innovating and adapting in light of COVID-19 in the comments below!

Rochelle Rietow

funeralOne

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