How Baby Boomers may change
the notion of ‘death’ in society
The Baby Boomer generation has
already made its mark upon the death-care industry, the first generation
to demonstrate a changing attitude towards funerals. This post-war
generation, that have been attributed with being radical and revolutionary
in all aspects of their lives, are now impacting upon the death-care industry
as they face their ‘final curtain’ or deal with the death of loved ones.
Baby Boomers do it their
way, and have personalized and customized rituals as they have used their
power of sheer numbers over the last three decades or so. Economically
they have reshaped our cultural landscape, leading the way towards the
consumer society we know today.
Baby boomers reshaping the end-of-life
Now as many Baby Boomers face
important decisions about their parents’ end-of-life and their own funeral
arrangements, the funeral industry has had to respond to their changing
requirements. No longer is the traditional funeral the preferred
option, Baby Boomers see death differently. They are not traditionalists,
and do not see a need to spend money on death. A simple cremation
is functional, and for those that do wish to mark their passing with distinction,
the many personalized memorial services make a very befitting and personalized
way to immortalize ones’ life! Ash scattering has developed into
a whole new business on the crest of the rise in cremations, and new technology
has brought about opportunities to create DVD tributes or even hold ‘online
Baby boomers as the last generation
with funds for lavish funerals
As the Baby Boomers face dealing
with their parents’ death rituals, and realize the ludicrous costs involved
with the disposition of a body, so they are faced with the uncertainty
of how their own children will deal with their passing. They may
be the last generation to have the cash means to cover the cost of an impromptu
funeral. And so many of this generation recognize the need to undertake
some preplanning of their funeral arrangements. Not only to ensure
that the costs can be met without burdening their children, but also to
ensure that their wishes are met.
The interesting new twist
in how Baby Boomers are reshaping the death-care landscape, relates to
how death now eludes some even when they seek it. Having lived life
to the full, many Baby Boomers are now realizing that an extended life
does not necessarily offer quality of life.
Euthanasia – the right to choose
a dignified death
Having lived life the way they
choose, Baby Boomers are now making demands on the very right to die as
and when they chose. This week a group of health professionals have
launched a campaign aimed at challenging the 1961 law on assisted suicide.
Euthanasia has long been considered an acceptable and humane way of caring
for our loved animal ones. Strangely it is still very controversial in
how it is employed to end the suffering of our human loved ones.
Now this is being more actively challenged by the generation who has provocatively
challenged many ‘norms’ and traditions of our modern culture.
The baby boomer generation
wants the right to end their life, as and when they wish, should they find
themselves suffering. Is this so difficult for our society to accept?
I suspect that more people have empathy towards euthanasia than is publicly
reported. Yet still it is only allowed in three US states (Oregon,
Washington and Montana), the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland.
Japan also currently has no law criminalizing euthanasia.
Mainstream media has given
some coverage to recent human stories relating to people who fight for
the option of voluntary euthanasia or assisted suicide, but in the main
it is a subject still viewed as taboo. It is a subject little discussed
or debated until it becomes personal.
In a world where pharmaceutical
companies are making millions offering us every remedy and cure on the
planet to sustain life, maybe we should look closely at why the ‘right
to die’ is so resisted. I have watched a close relative die painfully
from cancer within six months, and my elderly grandma eek out an undignified
and unnecessarily last years of her life in full-time nursing care in her
nineties. In each case, if either of them had felt that euthanasia
was an option, I would have wholeheartedly supported them. None of
us really want to watch loved ones suffer, and many departing rituals are
really more for the living than the dead.
Let us hope that the baby
boomer generation does leave their legacy mark on final rites of passage.
||Expert Author: Sara
Sara is the Editor in Chief
for US Funerals Online and has been researching and writing about the death
care industry in the US for the last 5 years.
is a baby boomer?
Last Revised: 01/06/2013