Coping with grief does not end after the service is over and the family goes home. As funeral professionals, it’s important to be there to continue supporting the bereaved in the days, weeks, and months after they have said their final goodbyes. Supporting the family after the funeral not only maintains a relationship with the family, it shows your firm’s commitment to going above and beyond.
Many families find themselves being introduced to a funeral home during their time of need. As you know, this is often an emotionally overwhelming and stressful time for the bereaved. Hosting events and organizing groups throughout the year allows families you’ve served the chance to reconnect with your firm during less stressful times. Aftercare events also allow you to network with other groups and form new connections.
Having a great funeral aftercare program can be very beneficial to your firm, the families you serve, and the community as a whole. The journey of coping with grief is different for everyone. For those who need more support and help with their grieving, aftercare helps support them and shows they’re more than just a client for your business.
Depending on the type of aftercare events or services you offer, you can make your firm stand out in the community. Advertise your events and services. Not every funeral home in your area will offer the same things. By promoting what you’re doing to help those who are grieving, you may find yourself connecting with people who worked with your competitors. It also allows you the chance to build relationships with other local groups who can then send more families your way when your services are needed.
There are many different ways to approach aftercare services. Most funeral homes have some sort of aftercare services or resources, but to varying degrees. If you really want to differentiate your firm from the rest and build stronger connections with the community, here are 8 different funeral aftercare program ideas to start planning at your firm.
If the loss was unexpected, the family may be dealing with a whirlwind of feelings. Maybe this is the first loss they’ve experienced. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to help them grieve in healthy ways. There are many vices and different ways someone may cope with their loss and these aren’t always positive or healthy.
Consider hosting healthy grieving workshops where you can talk about the different types of grief and offer different ways to cope. Here are a few different topics your healthy grieving workshops could cover:
Sometimes just getting out of the house for a bit can make all the difference in a person’s mood. Aftercare doesn’t just have to be about coping with loss and sharing memories. Some people enjoy learning new skills and trying to keep themselves busy during this new period of adjustment. A great way to help with this is by offering monthly drop-in classes at your funeral home or local community center. Holding these types of classes not only help people learn new skills, it let’s your firm connect with other local groups and start forming new relationships.
Here are a few different classes you could organize for families to take part in:
When a loved one passes away, they usually leave a lot of items behind. I remember cleaning out my grandma’s condo after she passed away. My mom and her siblings couldn’t believe how much stuff my grandma had. We all found ourselves wondering, what are we going to do with all this stuff? Naturally there are some things the family will want to keep, but there’s often plenty of things to giveaway.
Some people will donate items like clothing to Good Will or other organizations. A great community event your firm could plan would be semi-annual rummage sales. Families could bring in items to donate and the proceeds of the sales could be used to donate to a local cause and give back to the community.
Most funeral homes have some sort of aftercare resources to share with families. Some even have grief counsellors on staff to help out. Families in need of support and help with coping are likely going to turn to your firm first when seeking advice. Offering therapy for grief is another way for your firm to go above and beyond.
A few different ways you can do this include:
There can be many big adjustments after the loss of a spouse or close loved one. Widows who now find themselves living alone might not be able to do the different things their spouse took care of around the home. One way you can build relationships with your community is by planning an aftercare support fair.
Invite other local vendors to setup up booths at the fair to connect with community members. This could include local community or support groups, landscaping companies, personal shoppers, attorneys and accountants, realtors, cleaning companies, and many more.
Sometimes the little things can make all the difference. Something as simple as sending a card or flowers on the anniversary of the deceased’s passing shows you care and want to keep in touch. Attach a hand written note to let the person know you’re thinking of them and took the time to sit down and prepare this gift for them. Of course, it might be hard to remember some of those details about the family after a year has gone by, so make some notes after completing the arrangement and service. You could even write the note during this time and save it for when you want to follow up on the anniversary.
If you’re looking to improve the family aftercare experience online and help with the grieving process, consider the Book of Memories. The Book of Memories features a library of over 150 themes. Each memorial website provides a place for loved ones to turn to before the service and in the years after. This interactive memorial website allows loved ones to leave condolences, share photos and videos, send memorial flowers and more. To learn more about the Book of Memories, contact us today.
Tommy holds a Communications degree from Laurentian University and an Integrated Marketing Communications Graduate Certificate from St. Lawrence College. He is a Content Marketing Specialist at FrontRunner and focuses on producing engaging content that funeral homes can use to connect with families. In addition, Tommy crafts SEO content for clients and specializes in helping the general public connect with the death care industry as a whole.