In Colorado, virtual funeral services may be here to stay

State

DENVER (KDVR) — The future of funerals will likely remain virtual in some form or fashion even after the pandemic is over, according to some Colorado funeral directors.

They say the process of hosting a service online is going so smoothly now, many Coloradans are simply requesting them before they’re even offered.

“Never in a million years did I think I’d be having families sign a release to do a Facebook Live livestream,” said Andrea Thomas, General Manager of T.G. McCarthy Funeral Home and Imperial Funeral Home & Cemetery in Pueblo, Colorado.

The funeral business is a $20 billion industry.

At the beginning of the pandemic, there was so much concern over how many people could attend a service in person it really stressed a lot of Coloradans out.

But now it appears that anxiety is subsiding.

Local businesses such as Imperial Funeral Home and T.G. McCarthy Funeral Home started offering virtual services back in April.

Since then, they’ve been doing about two livestream services per week.

A survey from the foresight companies, a consulting firm in the funeral industry, shows: 40% of consumers expect live-streaming of services to continue permanently.

Industry insiders say the evolution is important to meet the changing desires of the customer.

The first virtual funeral held at Imperial Funeral Home in Pueblo was actually a service for the funeral director’s grandmother.

“We actually used my grandma’s service after she passed and would sit my daughter down and [we] watched her service. Just so that we could take that time to reflect. So I think a lot of families are using them far beyond what we intended or what we realized they would. It’s very cool!” said Thomas.

The convenience is especially great for folks who live out of area and can’t travel, Thomas added.

“That’s the coolest thing. Is those folks who may not have been able to travel across the country or around the world, were still able to be there. They could sit later in the evening and watch that,” Thomas said.

Depending on the funeral home, there might be a livestream fee you’ll have to pay for the service.

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