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Helping Your Family Through a Funeral During COVID-19

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, funerals are happening more frequently than usual. However, these ceremonies are also happening differently than they have in the past, which can make them difficult for children and older adults. Spending some time learning about the specific changes to the funeral service or memorial service that you’ll be attending may be able to help everyone feel more comfortable.

If you’ll be attending a funeral, spend some time preparing your family for what will happen using the following tips.

Tell Your Kids About What Will Happen

Spend some time explaining death, burial, and cremation to your kids before attending a memorial service. Cremation is becoming more popular throughout the pandemic, for the aftercare of the remains of pets and humans alike. With cremation, you have the option to keep your loved one or pet with you, while remembering them.

Check the Attendance Restrictions Before You Go

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many states and municipalities have restrictions about the number of individuals who can be gathered indoors in one place. They also have specific restrictions about weddings and funerals, often limiting the buildings’ occupancy dramatically. Before you plan to attend a funeral in person, check the attendance restrictions at the funeral home to make sure that there will be enough space available.

Be Prepared For a Virtual Service

Many modern funeral homes have made the switch to hosting memorial services online, streaming the services via video conferencing or social media. Around 90% of modern memorial services have loved ones who would like to attend the ceremony but are unable to, so a virtual service helps include these individuals. In addition, it allows those who must isolate due to the potential risk of viral exposure to stay home and stay safe. If you are experiencing any symptoms like a cough, fever, or fatigue, it may be best to stay home and attend the service virtually.

Avoid Sharing Common Objects

If your family attends a funeral service in person, it’s important to avoid touching or sharing communal items like hymnals, prayer books, and collection plates. These items can all carry surface contamination. If you do touch religious aids during the service, be sure that you use hand sanitizer or wash your hands immediately afterward, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Washing your hands with soap and water and scrubbing for at least 20-30 seconds is one of the best ways to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Follow Health Guidelines For In-Person Ceremonies

When attending a funeral or memorial service, be sure to follow all current health guidelines as presented by the CDC. Even if you’ve been vaccinated, you’ll still need to social distance and wear a mask. If you’re in an area where one of the new COVID-19 variants has spread, double masking may be advised. Masks are not a substitute for maintaining your social distance, however, and you should still stay at least six feet away from others. This is especially important when you’re in an indoor space, like a church or funeral home, and around people that you do not live with.

Spending some time preparing your family in advance before attending a memorial service can help everyone feel more comfortable in the era of COVID-19. Indoor services like weddings and funerals can have a high chance of spreading the virus, so it’s important to take as many precautions as possible. Use these tips to memorialize your loved one, limit the spread of COVID-19 in your community, and keep your family safe throughout the process. Helping to stop the spread of this highly contagious virus in our communities through careful social behaviors is one of our best tools to get back to normal as soon as possible.