How to Choose a Funeral Home
Dealing with a loss is never easy. Even when you lose a loved one to an extended illness and you think you’re prepared, dealing with the details of that loss drives home the grief in surprising ways. Unexpected or sudden tragedies that tear beloved family members away are even more difficult on the family members left behind. In this time of grief, then, how does a family select the right funeral home?
Select a Caring, Compassionate Professional
Above all, a funeral home should be staffed by caring, compassionate professionals able to mitigate the stress of planning a funeral, and deal with loss. An experienced funeral home provider helping you navigate the funeral planning process is an invaluable partner as you wade through things like death announcements, obituaries, arranging a viewing, selecting burial or cremation, and planning the funeral itself. Your funeral director should take time to answer your questions, and may have helpful templates or forms that can easily guide you through the paperwork associated with arranging a funeral.
Consider Caskets, Viewings and Facility Amenities
When you select a funeral home, you’ll be buying a casket, arranging a viewing, and conducting a funeral with that provider. Take these arrangements under consideration when selecting a funeral home. Ask a few important questions:
- Are you happy with the selection of caskets available, or will you want to choose one from a third party?
- Do you like the facility?
- Does the funeral home have a small room or chamber where immediate family can view the remains, and/or a larger room where you can conduct a public viewing or funeral?
- Does the facility have other services available on-site, such as cremation?
- Is the funeral home at a cemetery? If so, are you happy with the available plots?
Think about the Desired Type of Funeral Service
When selecting a funeral home, think about the type of service you want to have. Do you want a big religious service, or a smaller secular service? Do you want to do any special multimedia presentations, such as a video or slideshow - and does the funeral home have the facilities to handle these special remembrances? Some families choose to have the remains prepared at the funeral home, then transported to a church for a religious service - or have a religious service, and then follow with a public or private viewing or service at a funeral home. Decide what you want to do for the service, and whether the funeral home can accommodate your needs.
Evaluate Funeral Cost - But Don’t Make it the Deciding Factor
Funeral cost is an important part of the funeral home selection process for budget-conscious families. If cost is a factor for you, ask for a written estimate of all costs associated with the funeral. Many families are surprised by the unexpected costs that come with funerals, like preparing the body or facility fees. Getting a detailed breakdown ahead of time can give you a good basis for determining whether prices are comparable.
Price shouldn’t be the deciding factor in selecting a funeral home, though. Bereaved families often find themselves in unpleasant positions when they go with the cheapest provider; they may encounter unexpected fees tacked on later, or may find themselves working with uncaring or inexperienced staff that create unnecessary stress and emotional turmoil in a time when families are already grieving.
Ultimately, families should select the funeral home that has the facilities they prefer, and whose caring staff eases the pain of going through the funeral process.