CNBC’s Documentary “Death: It’s a Living” Response

cnbc_deathOn Thursday, January 31, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, 8 p.m. CT, CNBC will air a one-hour documentary Death: It’s a Living, which explores funeral service, a business that CNBC says “everyone confronts yet few understand.” Without knowing exactly what this documentary will entail before it airs, we do know that respected funeral professionals from the NFDA and other funeral service associations, funeral homes, suppliers, industry consultants and mortuary science educators assisted CNBC in preparing this documentary. While these representatives cannot control how productions are edited, we feel confident that these individuals provided CNBC with accurate information concerning the death care industry.

After the airing of this documentary, the AFCCA is prepared to answer any questions and respond to any inaccuracies, should they arise. Read below from our Vice President, David Long, a few tips that will be helpful now and after this documentary airs when meeting with families concerned with pricing.

We know that families need to consider cost when planning a funeral. Before discussing any services or products, Funeral Directors MUST give families a General Price List, which contains an itemized listing of costs. Thus, families have cost information available as they’re making decisions. What they choose determines the final price.

It is important for families to know that reputable Funeral Directors will work within the budget they have. Families should feel free to tell the Funeral Director about their budget up front. The Funeral Director can then let the family know what the funeral home can provide within that budget. When families look for a Funeral Director who truly cares about them and their loved one, they will also find someone who will respect their financial situation. Families now have more control of the type of service they want.

As Funeral Directors, we are meant to guide families during a difficult and emotional time. It is our duty to be informative and educate families on the various service options available, while making a family feel comfortable, understanding and confident in the decisions which they are making to honor their loved one.

Cremation rates do exceed 40% nationally and those rates hold true and higher here in Arizona. While many funeral homes have traditionally served “burial” families; with the acceptance and popularity of cremation growing and the variety of ways individuals are memorializing themselves and their loved ones, funeral homes are now becoming more attuned to the needs of individual families and finding ways to offer meaningful options.

It is true that many cemeteries are revitalizing and updating their current look. Although cemeteries have typically been seen as a solemn place of grief and loss, for many it becomes a place of remembrance and respects. In efforts to provide a comfortable atmosphere, many cemeteries now provide for the “living” so that they can be more at ease when remembering their lost loved one. It also allows cemeteries the opportunity to encourage “would be” visitors who may not have set foot onto those hallowed grounds for some time.

Of course the “death care” industry has changed tremendously in recent years; greatly expanding the range of products and services which are available to meet the needs of consumers today. As providers of these products and services, it is our responsibility to educate and inform those families which we are allowed to serve.

~ David Long, Vice President

Arizona Funeral, Cemetery and Cremation Association