2010-10-28 “Polara Report”

Recently there was an online study of Canadians 35 years of age or older to measure their knowledge of and attitudes toward various aspects of a funeral as well as the funeral industry in general.  Here are a few excerpts from that study:

–          Respondents generally have positive experiences with the funeral preparation process.

–          Only 8% of respondents reported having a negative experience organizing a funeral.  Of those, about one in five attributed this to the financial burden associated with the funeral, as well as the poor service received.

–          There is a need for greater flexibility and more options in funeral preparation.

–          Professional services, out-of-pocket expenses, and the resting place are the more valuable aspects of the funeral service.  On the other hand, items such as memorials, transportation, casket/urn, or vault have less value to respondents.

–          Organizing a reception following a funeral is generally very prevalent (80%); the Atlantic Provinces being the exception with only 52% holding a reception following the funeral.

–          Many feel that funerals should celebrate life (not dwell only on its loss).  This is expressed in people’s views on their own funeral:  they would want to focus the celebrations on their life.

–          Incidence of cremations over burial has increased considerably in the past six years, from 38% in 2004 to 53% now, and this upward tendency for cremation is likely to continue into the future as 70% of respondents declare preference of cremation over burial.

–          The majority of Canadians over 35 are open to the idea of considering a more environmentally friendly funeral.

–          Few Canadians (12% age 35 or older) have pre-planned their funeral.  However, a majority (75%) have put some thought into their own funeral.  For most, those thoughts and decisions are limited to discussions with family, creating a will or completing a donor card.

I have listened to many folks who say that they want information and so I want to spend some time over the next few weeks talking about some of these things from the study.  I promise I won’t bore you but I hope that I will make you think.