Cremation is fast becoming the
preferred choice of many families in America today. In fact, the
cremation rate is steadily growing and has now reached over 40%. There
are several reasons for this including environmental concerns, religious
beliefs and of course the costs. Cremations are generally far less
expensive than traditional funeral burial services. Cremation is
an age-old disposition tradition in many cultures, and as modern culture
and traditions are changing, so are attitudes to cremation. In many
heavily-populated metropolitan areas in the United States, we are simply
running out of room to bury bodies, which is driving up the costs for burial
plots, and is yet another reason why more Americans are turning to cremation.
The acceptance of cremation by the Catholic Church has also contributed
to a growth in cremation rates.
Most of us today are familiar
with what a cremation is. The Cremation Association of North America
(CANA) defines it as "The mechanical and/or thermal or other dissolution
process that reduces human remains to bone fragments." The “thermal
dissolution” is the typical cremation process that we are all familiar
with, which produces the cremated remains or ashes (the ground bone fragments).
Cremation is beginning to
be re-defined in modern culture as new means to conduct the “dissolution
process” are invented. For example, a few funeral homes in the U.S.
have now launched ‘Aquamation’ – a type of hydrolysis cremation.
You can read more by visiting our library section on Cremation.
You should be aware that
modern medical aids, such as pace-makers, need to be removed from the deceased
prior to a cremation being conducted. Some cremation providers will
charge an additional fee for this.
How does choosing Cremation
affect a funeral service?
In general the actual cremation
usually takes place after there has been a funeral service, it just replaces
the actual burial aspect of the disposition. So a viewing or visitation
can be held, a funeral service held with the deceased present, and then
the cremation is carried out and the cremated ashes are then given to the
family in an Urn. A cremation is just as dignified as a full-service
The Cheaper Funeral Alternative
The costs of a cremation can
vary quite significantly in the U.S. depending on which State you live
in and what type of memorial service, if any, is required. The actual
cost of the cremation can often be dependent on whether your selected funeral
home has their own crematory and can perform the cremation, or whether
they need the services of a local crematory. In the U.S. cremations
are generally least expensive in the states that have a higher cremation
rate, and in Florida for example, a cremation can be conducted for as little
A cremation is far cheaper
than a burial due to the fact that no casket is required - usually the
single most expensive item of a funeral. If you do decide you require a
viewing, or plan to have an open casket funeral service, many funeral homes
do offer a ‘rental’ casket, which enables you to have your loved one laid-out
without the large expense of purchasing a casket.
The type of cremation container
or Urn can make a huge difference to the costs. Some very simple
urns can be purchased for under $30, and the market is now quite saturated
with cremation urn retailers. Most funeral homes do keep a small
selection of urns, or of course you can purchase direct online, sometimes
with significant savings. You generally do not have to have an urn
immediately for the cremated remains (or ‘cremains’ as they are often called),
as the funeral home can return the remains to you in a basic container,
allowing you time to purchase your chosen urn without feeling rushed.
With the rise in cremation, there has also been a growth in customized
or personalized urns, which obviously can take longer to order.
Direct Cremation - The cheapest
Direct cremations, in which
there is no service included, is by far the least expensive option.
A direct cremation is just as it states, you deal directly with the cremation
provider, who simply collects the deceased from the place of death, cremates
the deceased, and then returns the cremated remains to the family, along
with the death certificates. Many may choose not to conduct any funeral
service whatsoever, but many families opt to arrange their own memorial
service once they have received the cremated remains. This drastically
reduces funeral expenses, and it also enables the family to gather to hold
a memorial tribute as and when it suits them. It is, in a way, returning
to how we used to practice death care, whereby the family looks after the
care and memorialization of their deceased loved one, not a funeral home.
How to choose a Cremation Provider
These days most funeral homes
can conduct a cremation for you, whether on-site or off-site.
DFS Memorials offer cheap cremations across the United States. They
are a network of local, independent funeral homes that understand the need
for simple, affordable cremations as an alternative to expensive full-service
funerals. The price of the direct cremation differs due to the location,
as mentioned above, the higher the cremation rate in a state and the more
competitive the industry is, so you will find a more competitive cremation
price. To find out who your nearest DFS Memorials provider is ‘click
here’, and search your state.
What to do with the cremated
remains, or ashes
The cremated ashes can be kept
in an Urn, keepsake or scattered in a favorite place of the deceased.
The ashes can also be buried or entombed at a local cemetery where other
family members are. In fact, more cemeteries are converting land
into ‘Memorial Gardens’ or Columbariums with cremation urn niches.
However, do beware, as in some cases the costs to inter ashes can be quite
expensive. A whole industry of niche products and services
for cremated remains is now evolving. Visit our section on ‘Ash Scattering’
to read further about what options you have.
A death away from home – transporting
Asides from having a large immigrant
population, we have become more of a transient society, so it is inevitable
that more people are dying away from home. Unfortunately, the transportation
of a body can be costly, especially if it requires international shipping.
For this reason, may families choose to have a direct cremation conducted
at the place of death, and then arrange for the cremated remains to be
shipped back home, or even collected in person. Cremated remains
can be carried on in hand luggage on most airlines. For more information
on transporting cremated remains, visit our section on funeral shipping,
or consult a shipping or courier company.
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||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.
Memorials – Network of low cost cremation providers in the US
Last Revised: 10/23/2014
a Funeral Home & Crematory