Some of my colleagues are working on a series of features about the current American way of death.
It hit me: One of the barriers to selling private long-term care insurance (LTCI) and LTC planning services is that, let’s face it, use of LTC services is often a prelude to death, and our society’s approach to handling death has all of the charm of a box of dollar-store mothballs.
Typical funerals, funeral homes, caskets and urns are in need of a makeover.
Of course, members of the baby boom generation, and later generations, have been dying in small numbers for decades, but the real baby boom boxy boom is still coming up.
Members of my own generation — the skeptical, coffee-swilling, distressed wood buying, “the flaws in the garment are part of this charm” Generation X generation — aren’t expecting to die in large numbers for another 30 or 40 years.
Maybe, in fact, some of the older attempts at “makeovers of death,” to adapt to the tastes of earlier generations have made death — and pre-death — less appealing to baby boomers and GenXers than if we were still using the classic seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth century customs.
Think about it: Kindergarteners now wear pictures of skulls and demons on their tennis shoes.
Maybe, if we, as a society, found ways to get past the current colorless, too-soothing, elevator-music approach to death and dying, and were a little more open and extreme about those topics, we’d have an easier time thinking about those stages of life, and planning for them.