Technology changes everything. Back in the 1980s, who would have imagined that we’d all have miniature computers sitting in our pockets all the time? And who could have known decades ago that we’d be able to simply type all our questions in a little bar and immediately get thousands of answers?
As technology has changed our lives, it’s also changed the world of funeral services, giving you more options to celebrate your loved one than ever before. Let’s break down a few of the ways technology has affected funerals.
Technology That’s Changed Funeral Services
Do you have to attend a funeral in person in today’s day and age? While paying your respects to your loved one and their family and friends in person is better, you might not always have that option. Whether it’s disease, distance, or something else keeping you from going to a funeral in person, you may have another opportunity to view the ceremony.
If a funeral planner is aware that many potential funeral-goers will not be able to attend, they may opt to set up a livestream. Livestreaming years ago used to be a difficult endeavor, but today, you just need a smartphone or tablet. You’ll also need a place to livestream to, such as YouTube Live. Just be sure that your potential viewers know where to watch when the ceremony starts.
It's essential to keep in mind, however, that funeral homes are not professional videographers. Out of respect for the grieving family, a funeral home will not place multiple cameras around the ceremony, especially in locations that may interrupt the service. They will also not place mics around the room, which may mean that audio may occasionally be difficult to hear in the livestream. If you intend to watch a livestream of a funeral because you cannot attend in person, you should keep in mind that these limitations exist.
2. Memorial slideshows
Memorial slideshows aren’t a very new concept, but the way that they can be presented has grown over the years. Memorial slideshows show photos of the decedent, allowing funeral-goers to take a journey through the life of their loved one. But with more and more funeral homes investing in high-quality monitors and projection technology, you can make your slideshow even more interactive. You can add in videos, clips of their voice, their favorite songs, or any other media you think would enhance the experience.
Many people show their slideshow during the ceremony itself, but you could also opt to project it on a wall during a reception. Another option would be to put the slideshow in a digital picture frame, to be left nearby the decedent during a viewing. In that case, you would not be able to use sound, though you could still use photos and video.
3. Memorial websites or social media accounts
Gone are the days when an obituary could only live in a newspaper. Now, you could create a whole website dedicated to memorializing your loved one. Website builders, like Wix or Squarespace, make it easy for anyone to create a website for any purpose, including for celebrating the life of a loved one. On your site, you can write the obituary and list the events you’re planning, giving the dates and locations for the viewing, funeral, and reception. You can also include a section that would function as a virtual guest book, allowing friends to write down their memories of their loved one and send condolences to the remaining family. If you don’t want to build a website yourself, many funeral homes offer building an interactive obituary page as a service.
In addition to memorial websites, you can also convert your loved one’s Facebook and Instagram into memorial accounts. Making this change leaves a legacy of your loved one’s life, as their posts, videos, and photos will remain intact. Just like a virtual guest book, family and friends can take to the memorial account to share their favorite photos and memories with the decedent. It’s also a good idea to share a loved one’s obituary on social media. Doing so spreads the information to people you may otherwise have had trouble reaching.
4. Virtual funeral planning
Planning a funeral in person might not always be an option, just like attending a funeral in person might not always be something you’re able to do. Luckily, with today’s technology, you don’t have to be in a funeral home to work with a funeral home. With video conferencing applications like Zoom or Google Meet, you can schedule meetings with a funeral director from the comfort of your own home. Whether you can’t get to a funeral home to plan your own funeral or live miles away from your loved one’s funeral home, you can still make all the preparations you need to make virtually.
If you have the option to plan in person, taking advantage of the opportunity is a crucial way to be sure that the funeral home can suit your physical and emotional needs. But if you don’t have the option, you can still work with the funeral home over video calls. Funeral directors want you to have the funeral you envision, so don’t hesitate to ask for a video call instead of a phone call so that you can speak to them face-to-face and see the funeral home’s facilities.
5. QR codes for headstones
Gravesites are often designed to suit who the decedent was in life, with an epitaph that immortalizes their character. But what if you didn’t have to fit all that you wanted to say about your loved one in a short statement? QR codes can be affixed to headstones, which visitors can scan. The visitors can then be sent to anywhere of your choosing, such as the memorial website.
Technology is ever-changing, and thanks to all of these advancements, your options for funeral services are changing too. These are just some of the big improvements that have been made in the last few decades, but as time goes on, you can expect even more choices for technologically-savvy ways to say goodbye to your loved one.