In the past, death involved active participation from the community, with deaths occurring mostly at home.
However, in today’s society, most people die in hospitals and nursing homes and the deceased are transferred directly to the funeral director’s mortuary with limited involvement from the bereaved family and community. Since the 1960’s, the funeral service industry has shifted from a traditional community base to an industry monopoly. As a consequence, bereaved families or communities are left with the difficult task of planning and organising a funeral with a funeral business they know little about, but who have a loved one in their care.
The funeral industry consists of four broad sectors:
- Funeral directing
- Cemetery and crematorium operations
- Coffin and casket manufacture
- Monumental stonemasonry
Third party services (separate from those of funeral directors) include advertising, flowers, stationery, death certificates and the services of stonemasons, celebrants and clergy.