Few things in life are certain, but your last wishes should be included amongst those that are. Though your funeral wouldn’t be considered your final sendoff as its an event you won’t consciously attend, deciding how you will be memorialized can bring peace of mind when thinking about death. One funeral option that few consider simply due to its lack of marketing is a home funeral. In this piece, we’ll look at what constitutes a home funeral and if planning to have one will help give you and your loved ones the most meaningful opportunity to say goodbye.

What is a home funeral?

While it may sound like a new-fangled trend, what is called a “home funeral” used to simply be called a “funeral” for most families. Funerals used to almost exclusively take place within the home of the deceased. Instead of professional mortuary specialists caring for the needs of the departed and those left behind, families would take on the responsibility themselves. The resurgence in the desire to take back outsourced duties has resulted also in what is now known as a “home funeral” — a funeral that takes place within a residential space and is sometimes conducted by the family themselves.

Why would one want a home funeral?

Home funerals certainly sound like a lot of work — work that is typically left to trained professionals to relieve the grieving families of such a burden. However, for many individuals and their families, they don’t see the need for personalized care to cease at the moment of death. For the person leaving this world, knowing they will receive a home funeral means that their bodies will be cared for by those who knew them and mourned for in a place familiar to them. This consistent familiarity gives many a great sense of peace and helps ease anxiety about such matters. For the loved ones of the deceased, caring for the body of a loved one could be seen as a continuation of the care they received in life. Home funerals also remove some of the restrictions on time with the deceased for loved ones to say goodbye to the earthly versions of someone. What may not be possible in a commercial funeral home environment (spending extended time with the deceased, certain respectful rituals, etc.) are usually much more possible with a home funeral.

Are there any health hazards associated with having a funeral in one’s home?

One common misconception about home funerals is that having such a display in a residential location may be a health hazard to attendants and mourners. Realistically, home funerals are just as safe and legal as funerals in designated funeral homes, chapels, or other places of significance. To further dispell insecurities about home funerals, there’s also no hard-and-fast rule that the attendants are on their own.  Many licensed funeral professionals are happy to help as little or as much of the process as needed. While some loved ones may feel that taking part in the washing and dressing of a deceased family member or friend may bring additional closure, many are not emotionally prepared for such activities and can leave this to trained professionals. Even though some funeral professionals may not offer help with home funeral arrangements, there typically will always be many more that will than won’t. Even if you elect to not use the body preparation services of a mortuary professional, you may want to seek their assistance for help with legal documentation and transportation of the body to its final resting place.

How can non-professionals care for a deceased loved one?

Even if someone is emotionally prepared to tend to the body of a deceased loved one, some may feel hesitant about having a home funeral because they simply feel materially unprepared. Because caring for the deceased has largely been outsourced to funeral professionals for the last few generations, the art of preparing a body for the next steps has largely been lost to the common person. There was a time when how to care for a deceased loved one was as common knowledge as a favorite family recipe or home remedy for an ailment. Because of renewed interest in home funerals in recent years, a large amount of training material and courses have been developed aimed solely at those wanting to know how to care for deceased loved ones at home. There was even a documentary made that followed a few families during their home funeral processes for loved ones.

Why talk about home funerals now?

For many, there are certain anxieties that surround the treatment of their own earthly remains or the remains of departed loved ones. Investigating the various options and coming to final decisions about such arrangements can help to relieve such anxieties at any stage in life.

As the end of life becomes more evident for a loved one, proper care throughout the process can relieve a great deal of anxiety. It’s for this reason that Cura HPC is dedicated to providing professional and nurturing hospice care for your loved ones.