Helping Bereaved Families Overcome Harsh Economics of Death


AORORA, Ontario - Date, 2008 - Coping with a a death is never an easy experience. For those who have no financial resources to fall back on, the stress is enormous.

Canadians on social assistance will receive minimal government funding to cover a portion of the funeral and burial expenses, if they qualify. In spite of economic hardship, funeral homes go to great measures to assist families to provide a meaningful farewell for their loved one. If a family has not qualified for social assistance, such as recent refugees to Canada, funeral homes will often partner with the family, their community, and their faith group to provide a proper funeral. The funeral home's priority is on assisting families to experience a meaningful celebration of life.

Pierson's Funeral Service Ltd. in Calgary, Alberta handles many social service funerals. One of every six funerals held at Pierson's is for a family receiving government assistance. For Michael Pierson, President, the families they serve all have one thing in common - they are bereaved and in need of care.

"We do our best to never discriminate between the families we serve," noted Pierson. "Every life is unique and everyone deserves a dignified farewell. We are here to help these families out and fulfill their needs."

Professional services are the most essential element of the funeral process. Planning and executing a funeral is a complex and demanding task, requiring the services of a licensed professional. In addition to handling disposition of the deceased, funeral directors must call upon their professional expertise to offer each family a dignified, unique and meaningful occasion.

"Funeral consultations involve much more than giving basic information about caskets and cremation," said Peter MacDonald, Co-Owner, P. & K. MacDonald Funeral Home in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. "We educate families to ensure they are making informed choices that reflect the life of their loved one. We listen to families and lean on our expertise to determine how we can best help them within the parameters they have set forth."

Canadian funeral directors share a belief in the profound value of marking the death of our loved ones. They also share a passion for supporting the communities in which they work. Consequently, funeral directors will go the extra mile to help families in need. This is true, not only for the families on social assistance, but also for parents who thave suffered the heartbreaking loss of an infant.

It is not unusual within the funeral profession for merchandise to be discounted and professional fees to be waived for infant funerals. All funeral are demanding for the funeral diector - professionally, physically and emotionally - and a child's even more so.

"The title, 'Funeral Director' means that we help the family 'bear' the emotional burden they are under," said MacDonald. "When we, Funeral Directors, fulfill our calling, it is the greatest community service we can provide."

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