5 ways COVID-19 has changed the way we think about the inevitable
Death was already an inevitable part of life, one that people rarely like to talk about – and then the pandemic happened. We had no choice but to confront our mortality as an unknown virus spreading around the world and increase life as we felt it.
Data show that the pandemic has changed many of our behaviors, especially when it comes to end-of-life planning. For example, the austerity measures went through the roof during the pandemic, which is not a surprise since so many were laid off (or risked being fired) when the country was closed.
But how have attitudes and customs changed when it comes to health care, death and funerals? We spoke to end-of-life experts — the so-called final responders who, after all, have witnessed the full effects of the deadly virus — to find out what has changed in terms of life care and other planning costs in advance since the pandemic struck. .
In this article:
More people are planning for death
The fragility of life is now at the forefront of our minds, and more of us are actively planning for its end. "People have become hyper-focused on getting their affairs in order and have realized now more than ever that tomorrow is never promised," said Jaclyn Strauss, CPA and creator of My Macro Memoir®, a digital folder where you can store important information including information you want to leave behind to loved ones.
Not talking about death can make you (or someone you love) struggle to solve life planning deals while grieving, which can be less than ideal. Now, instead of looking for real estate lawyers only after someone has passed, younger people are looking for real estate planning services to make sure they know where certain documents are before people die, according to Strauss. This type of health care planning is very practical and can help a loved one with decision making in the future.
"But there is always a human nature that has given us the syndrome" short memory ". I hope people do not return to the pre-COVID way of avoiding being organized and prepared for the end of life.
Cremation rate increases rapidly
During the pandemic, more than half of funeral directors reported an increase in cremation rates, according to a 2020 survey by the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA). For 2020, the estimated burial rate was 37.5%, while the cremation rate was as high as 56%.
"Cremation had already become more common than burial a few years ago, but without the possibility of having a traditional funeral during [the pandemic] even more people turned to cremation," said Alison Johnston, CEO and co-founder of Ever Loved, a website that helps families to plan and pay for funerals.
"However, there is always a human nature that has given us 'short memory' syndrome. I hope people do not return to the pre-COVID way of avoiding being organized and prepared for the end of life."
The cost of cremation versus burial may be a major reason for its popularity over the years. Just take a look at the price tag: An average viewing and funeral costs $ 7,640 to $ 9,135 in 2019. In comparison, the average viewing and cremation cost $ 5,150 the same year. Choosing cremation when organizing your life care planning can alleviate a certain financial burden for family and other loved ones you leave behind.
Small funeral services are popular – but it may not last
Social events have been reduced or postponed during the pandemic. Experts are up in the air about whether small funerals will still be common, but they believe that intimate affairs can linger for at least a while until the pandemic is completely in our rearview mirror.
"I do not think large funerals are a thing of the past, but small funerals continue to be a trend, partly because some families are hesitant about unvaccinated family members being exposed to the virus because of travel, and partly because of it. increasing demand for working life, says Gabby Martin, a supervisor at Bio Recovery, a company that empathetically provides bio-cleaning services.
Demand for labor is high as some companies struggle to find workers. Those who return to work near other people may be reluctant to attend large events with family members as it may put them at risk. Until more of the population is vaccinated and the number of covid-19 variants decreases, people can continue to hesitate before large gatherings.
People remember loved ones in new ways
During the pandemic, we became creative out of necessity. "When people worked around health care concerns and restrictions during [the pandemic]families came up with lots of innovative ways to hold a memorial, from Zoom memorials to gathering in a favorite park," Johnston said. This allows loved ones to celebrate a person's life without making traditional funeral arrangements.
An advantage of that creativity is that we have learned that physical presence is not required to participate in a special occasion. Johnston said it is now common to provide a way for people to livestream services from home and watch it later, even when there is a large personal service. Johnston predicts that this will continue since it is very meaningful to be able to stream a funeral.
Another tradition that Martin has noticed is that annual memorial rituals seem to increase in popularity. Instead of having a big celebration, people find ways to remember and celebrate loved ones on an ongoing basis, which can also continue after the pandemic.
"When people worked on health issues and restrictions during [the pandemic]families came up with lots of innovative ways to hold a memorial, from Zoom monuments to gathering in a favorite park."
Online shopping for baskets is one thing
You can buy food and toilet paper (and even life insurance) online, but did you know that you can also buy baskets online? Another byproduct of people becoming more technically savvy during the pandemic of end-of-life planning is that it changes the way people plan and organize their funeral arrangements, according to Johnston.
“More people than ever book cremations online, buy coffins online and create memorial sites for loved ones. “Funeral and care planning for the future can be more like shopping on Amazon. So if you prefer not to take a trip to the funeral home, you have other options.
Death is a challenging topic to talk about, but you can not avoid it
The pandemic may have started conversations at the dinner table about death, and it's not necessarily a bad thing. It is inevitable to write your will, buy life insurance and prepare a power of attorney document can ensure that your loved ones are supported and know what to do when you are away.
The good news is that much of the planning you can now do digitally. For example, you can apply for life insurance online and at a low cost within minutes. When you have an obsolete plan, you can be sure that your base is covered if something happens to you.
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Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance company that is fully supported. owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe that navigation decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall well-being can be refreshingly easy.
Our editorial policy
Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance company backed and 100% owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe that navigation decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall well-being can be refreshingly easy.
Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not support the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less difficult if they suit your situation.
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