A new report published by funeral provider Dignity found that 29 percent mourners who had recently organised a funeral felt that they were not given enough time to properly say goodbye to their loved one at the crematorium.
Some 36 percent felt the experience at the crematorium was like being on a “conveyor belt”. This is despite the fact that the research showed that for most people, having a private and uninterrupted moment to remember their loved one is the most important factor in a funeral service.
In the UK today, 77 percent of funerals are cremations, suggesting this conveyor belt feeling is experienced by mourners at more than 150,000 funerals every year.
The research revealed that 44 of the UK’s 290 crematoria offer time slots of 30 minutes or less, which 59 percent of people questioned believed was not long enough.
One participant in the research said: “When we got there, there were people coming out from the earlier one … and at the end there was another waiting to be done, so it was like, ‘get out of the chapel now’… Afterwards we were standing around talking and you really don’t want to leave.”
The report “Cost, Quality, Seclusion and Time: What do UK consumers want from a cremation funeral?” by research agency Trajectory found:
- 29 percent said that they did not get enough time at the crematorium.
- 36 percent had the feeling that they were on a conveyor belt and 70 percent of these people said that they would have liked more time at the crematorium.
- 59 percent said that 30 minutes is not long enough for a cremation service. However, time slots at 20 percent of crematoria are 30 minutes or less and 37 percent offer less than 45 minutes.
- 60 percent said that cost wasn’t a consideration when arranging the cremation. Moreover, the research showed that the length of a service impacted on whether people felt they had received value for money, whereas the price they paid made no difference.
Simon Cox, head of insight, Dignity said: “Today’s findings should concern us all. The funeral service is a critical time for people who have lost a loved one. Whether it is a solemn occasion or a celebration it is essential that we have enough time to say goodbye. The fact that so many mourners felt rushed at the crematorium should give pause to everyone in the funeral industry. The sector is letting down a third of mourning families.
“In response to these findings we are calling on all crematoria to commit to a minimum 45 minute time slot for a funeral.”
Prof Douglas Davies, director for the Centre for Death and Life Studies at Durham University, added: “At a time of unprecedented choice over many aspects of life this important research clearly maps many contemporary attitudes to funerals. In pinpointing the image of the ‘conveyor belt’ as a popular expression of how mourners can feel too processed at crematoria it brings statistical weight to my own observations of some 30 years ago that it was not actual machinery but that sense of being processed that made many unhappy.”