Our society is advancing technology at an amazing pace. These advances cause big shifts in the way we do things: Cell phones vs. landlines, Laptop vs. Desktop computers, Televisions vs. Radio. However, when looking at the Death Care industry I think it is easy to see that in many aspects we are behind when it comes to technology. The reasoning for this, I think, can be spread across many factors but the common answers I get when asking staff is, “our work is too personal to use technology” or, “we have done it this way for [insert number] of years and it works, why change it?”
I think we can all agree that doing things the way they have always been done without adapting and changing is dangerous and will eventually put you out of business, but is our work really incompatible with technology just because it is sensitive and personal?
I have to disagree with this statement. I think technology had created a smaller more interconnected world. It has allowed people to be more personal, not less. My argument for this is relatively simple; Funeral Homes and cemeteries used to be utilized almost exclusively by the families in their communities and today we know that is no longer the case. Just because you were born in Pennsylvania, it doesn’t mean you will be buried there. Our society is in transit and constantly in motion, death doesn’t wait for us to stop moving; unfortunately, it will come at any time. How many families have you served that had loved ones who weren’t able to attend the service due to distance, health, or finances? Shouldn’t we be giving our families an option to be able to have out of area loved ones participate and witness the celebration of life? Technology can allow us to do this!
Imagine your family loses a loved one and you are unable to attend due to the distance, but the funeral home will allow you to watch the service as though you were there, this is the power of live streaming!
Imagine several years from now you are thinking about some of the photos you saw at the service while remembering a loved one, technology now allows you pull up those photos at any time, a la PICLIF!
Imagine that you would like to see the cemetery your loved one is buried in but you cannot make the trip due to poor health, GPS and Imaging can allow you to see and tour that cemetery!
I think the case for introducing technology into our Funeral Homes and Cemeteries has never been clearer! There are thoughtful and sincere ways to implement technology to assist families and help them with the grieving process. Not every family will want to live stream, or GPS, or even digitally record photos, but we should still be giving them that option. Granted, some of this technology can be expensive so you will need to choose what is right for your families and what you can provide access to; however, I think you will see a return on your investment if implemented and presented to your families properly as an option, every time.
It comes down to this question when dealing with technology: Would you rather offer the family technology as a way to assist and have them decline, or not have a way to help them when they request it?
Written by PICLIF Guest Blogger
Forest Park Cemeteries & Funeral Home
Vice President of Operations & General Manager