The COVID-19 pandemic may have prompted consumers to reconsider ‘no fuss funerals’, according to new research by leading independent funeral plan provider, Golden Leaves.
The research, which surveyed over 500 participants between the ages of 50 – 85, found that 80.43% of respondents believed that restricting the number of mourners at Funerals to just 10 people would have been challenging for the loved ones of COVID-19 victims; with a further 73.73% believing it to be unfair that some victims were either cremated or buried alone without any family members present.
This comes just 4 years following the unfortunate death of David Bowie in January 2016, who set a new trend for ‘no fuss funerals’, after his family members were simply handed his ashes following a ‘direct cremation’ with no funeral service or mourners present.
Since this time, the popularity of direct cremations has experienced exponential growth, with consumers deeming it a low-cost alternative to the conventional funeral for both themselves and their loved ones.
However, the tragic impact of COVID-19 has made consumers question whether this process is fair on the deceased, or on the loved ones of the individual left behind, by eliminating the option of a funeral service. This confirmed by 82.61% of respondents, who believe that funerals play a significant part in the mourning process and not being able to say goodbye to a loved one via a funeral service will impact how people grieve.
After seeing the impact that ‘direct cremation’ has had on the family members of COVID-19 victims, 45% of respondents advised they would no longer consider this as an alternative to the traditional funeral for either themselves or a loved one, with 33.21% ‘unsure’.
Other key take outs from the research include:
- 91% of respondents believe that despite being cheaper, a ‘direct cremation’ would actually prove challenging for loved ones left behind by completely removing the option of a funeral service.
- 4% believe that a ‘direct cremation’ would actually add to the emotional stress of loved ones left behind.
- Over a quarter [26.55%] of individuals would still opt for a direct cremation with no funeral and no family members present.
- 86% of respondents advised that they always thought a traditional funeral was important, with nearly one fifth of individuals advising that the COVID-19 pandemic has actually changed their opinion on funerals for the better.
- 36% of respondents believe funeral directors have and continue to play a fundamental role during the pandemic and perceive them as ‘key workers’ alongside healthcare professionals.
In discussing the research, Barry Floyd, Managing Director of Golden Leaves said, “In recent years, there has been an upward trend in individuals choosing a direct cremation as their funeral plan to save money. In this regard, there will always be a place and an audience for this type of service as it does, of course, provide a simple solution to the age-old issue surrounding the cost of a funeral. However, it does come with a bit of a trade-off and that is the cost saving weighed against what kind of impact it may well have on the grieving and healing process of those loved ones left behind.
The COVID-19 pandemic has proved incredibly tragic for tens of thousands of people across the UK, with the majority either buried or cremated with either no family members present or very few. The national media reported heavily on the emotional distress that these forced unattended funerals have caused for the family members of COVID victims.
It is a matter for some considerable debate as to whether the “Direct Cremation” unattended type funeral service will be more or less attractive in the new post COVID world.
Whatever the outcome, one thing that is absolutely certain is that this type of service will always be a consideration when purchasing a funeral plan for oneself or for those requiring an at-need funeral service for their loved one.”
Headquartered in South London, Golden Leaves has been at the forefront of the Funeral planning sector since 1984 and has played a major role in the development of FPA (The Funeral Planning Authority).
One of the UK’s Market leaders, the firm is responsible for the launch of the industry’s only Guaranteed Funeral Plan product and prides itself on being the only independent funeral planning provider to have achieved BSI ISO 9001 for Business Excellence.
Issued in July 2020, the recent survey questioned 553 participants between the ages of 50 and 80, with 277 respondents male and 275 female.