Cremation has slowly been gaining popularity and becoming a common way families care for their loved ones remains. Over the past few years this option has steadily grown and is now chosen more often than traditional burial options.
The Rise Of Cremation Rates
Over the past few years, cremation rates have continued to rise and the projected numbers for the future are staggering. While Christianity has long supported the traditional burial as the means of caring for the deceased, our society and views about religion have changed.
While many people still identify themselves as being religious, we now live in a more secular society. Many people claim to be spiritual but not overly religious. This view has resulted in a transition away from religious and traditional ceremonies towards cremation and memorial services.
According to the NFDA, in 2010 the cremation rate in the United States was 40.4 percent. While this number shows tremendous growth from rates in the late 1990’s, the numbers continue to get more impressive.
Flash forward 5 years and for the first time in history, cremation rates surpassed burial rates. In Canada, it was a staggering amount that saw a 65.5 percent cremation rate and 33.2 burial rate. The United States mirrored similar results but by a smaller margin.
By 2030, the NFDA is projecting that the cremation rate could grow as high as 71.1 percent.
Benefits Of Cremation
There are many factors that have contributed to more people choosing to be cremated. Today’s society is more secular and not bound by religious traditions and beliefs when it comes to caring for the remains of loved ones. This has given families more options for death care.
Cost is another important factor to consider when choosing between burial and cremation. Traditional burials carry extra expenses resulting in a higher cost than being cremated. With a burial, you need to purchase products like a casket, burial vault, plot, and headstone. These charges are in addition to cost of the funeral home’s services. If you would like to hold a viewing, you must pay additional fees for embalming.
With cremation, the costs are much lower. Families pay a premium price for the cremation service, but the additional costs are lower. According to the NFDA, about 10% of families select to have a viewing before the cremation which requires embalming. The only other costs associated with being cremated are if you purchase an urn or other product to store the remains.
Commemorating the life of your loved one is also easier when you choose to have them cremated. Families are restricted by a window of time to care for the remains, plan a service, and invite guests if you want to have a viewing when planning a traditional funeral. Cremation offers a greater amount of time for planning as most families don’t hold a viewing beforehand. Loved ones are able to plan a memorial service after the body has been cremated. The result is a more meaningful celebration that is personalized to the deceased and is not rushed to be held right after death.
How A Body Is Cremated
While many people understand what being cremated means, they’re unaware of the process entails. Cremation is the process of reducing a body to fragmented pieces of bone through the use of fire and heat.
The process begins by the family first providing authorization to cremate the body of the deceased. This is a document provided by the funeral home which the family then signs.
The funeral director or crematory operator then removes jewelry and other items while preparing the body. Any medical devices the deceased might have had implanted like a pacemaker are also removed to avoid any potential hazards during the cremation.
The body is then placed in a cremation container typically made of cardboard and plywood. An identification tag is attached to the container to properly identify the remains of the deceased.
The actual process begins by pre-heating the cremation chamber and then placing the container inside of the chamber. Temperatures inside the change are anywhere from 1800 to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. After about 2 hours, the body is fully cremated.
Afterwards, the remains are cooled before being pulverized until they are dense and sand-like ashes. A magnet is then used to remove any metal pieces that were not destroyed from the heat before the ashes are transferred to an urn or temporary container.
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