July 21, 2006

Funeral Director or Party Planner?

Early on in Boomer Remains, I wondered how boomers were going to change the way we think about death, dying and funerals. 

Ken Dyctwald, wrote in Age Power that

Boomers didn't just eat food -- they transformed the snack, restaurant and supermarket industries.
Boomers didn't just wear clothes -- they transformed the fashion industry.
Boomers didn't just date --they transformed sex roles and practices
Boomers didn't just go to work -- they transformed the workplace

Well, have you heard of funeral concierge before?  I didn't until I read this piece in the New York Times.

It's My Funeral and I'll Serve Ice Cream if I Want to

As members of the baby boom generation plan final services for their parents or themselves, they bring new consumer expectations and fewer attachments to churches, traditions or organ music — forcing funeral directors to be more like party planners, and inviting some party planners to test the farewell waters.

Mark Duffy, who runs a funeral concierge service is interviewed.

What they want, he said, are services that reflect their lives and tastes. One family asked for a memorial service on the 18th green of their father’s favorite golf course, “because that’s where dad was instead of church on Sunday mornings, so why are we going to church,” Mr. Duffey said. “Line up his buddies, and hit balls.” Another wanted his friends to ride Harleys down his favorite road, scattering his ashes.

Apart from boomers wanting more services to reflect their lives, services can be more fun!  if the icky dead body isn't around.  Wouldn't want to cast a pall on the party.

The biggest change, Mr. Duffey said, is that as more families choose cremation — close to 70 percent in some parts of the West — services have become less somber because there is not a dead body present.
“The body’s a downer, especially for boomers,” Mr. Duffey said. “If the body doesn’t have to be there, it frees us up to do what we want. They may want to have it in a country club or bar or their favorite restaurant. That’s where consumers want to go.”

Posted by Jill Fallon at July 21, 2006 2:14 AM | TrackBack | Permalink