Would you watch a funeral for a loved one that was streamed online? According to new research from Royal London, an insurance company in the UK, a third of millennials would "attend" a live-streamed funeral.
More and more funeral homes and crematoriums have been offering live-streamed services for those whose loved ones have passed away, but who aren't able to physically attend the funeral. Royal London spoke to 50 funeral directors in the UK, and more than half said that they offer live-streaming because of people who might want to attend the service, but can't make it for some reason.
And there are plenty of reasons. Some people may not be able to take the time off of work needed to travel to the funeral, some may be sick, some might feel too emotional to attend the service in person, and on and on.
"It is understandable that most people would prefer to attend a funeral in person wherever possible," Mona Patel, Royal London’s consumer spokesperson, said in a statement. "But with so many people saying they have been forced to miss a funeral, live-streaming could be an option for those who would like to pay their last respects."
More than half of the people Royal London surveyed, however, said that watching a funeral from home, on a laptop, would be "insensitive" or "morbid." And four out of 10 (that's about 40%) said that watching a live-streamed service wouldn't capture the emotion of being there in person. About 27% said that they wouldn't be able to process their grief in the same way.
Yet, younger survey participants were more open to the idea.
"Many older people are not comfortable with this, but it is noticeable that younger people are much more open to paying their respects in a different way,” Patel said in the statement.
Royal London theorizes that given the greater numbers of young people who would watch live-streamed funeral services, as well as the growing numbers of funeral homes that even offer live-streaming, this could be the funeral of the future.