funeral home service in Washington Crossing, PA

Decorating a Gravesite After Funeral Home Services

You can recognize your lost loved one’s passing and celebrate their life by personalizing their graveside with decorations after a funeral home service in Washington Crossing, PA. Keeping your lost loved one’s grave beautiful can also go a long way towards helping you work through your grief and loss.

But how do you decorate or personalize a gravesite?

Use these tips to help guide you as you decorate your lost loved one’s gravesite and honor their memory. But remember, at the end of the day, whatever décor you choose should be focused on the deceased and their life. 

  • Consider Faith and Culture

    Another great way to find gravesite decoration inspiration is to look to the deceased’s faith and culture. Honor their heritage and beliefs with décor, and be sure not to leave something that would be offensive to their faith.  

  • Check Cemetery Rules

    Most cemeteries have guidelines for what can and cannot be left on graves. Be sure to check with your cemetery before leaving any decorations.  

  • Consider the Weather

    You want to avoid leaving something that will spoil in the hot sun during the summer, or something that will freeze and break during the cold winter. Think about the season and the weather when choosing your décor.  

  • Think About the Season

    A great place to start with gravesite décor is with the season. For example, create a Christmas or Hannukah decoration around the holidays or set up a pumpkin-inspired scene in the fall.  

  • Choose Durable or Permanent Decorations

    Don’t leave anything on the grave that will become dirty or damaged if left outside in the elements. Instead, opt for materials that are tough in the face of wind, rain, sun, heat, or cold.  

  • Come Back and Check

    If you choose to leave décor on your lost loved one’s gravesite, be sure to come back and check on it regularly. Replace worn out or damaged decorations so the grave doesn’t become an eyesore.  

  • Keep It Well Lit and Visible

    Small items left on gravesites are often accidentally stepped on or destroyed by the cemetery caretakers. Make sure your items are either big enough to attract attention or well-lit.

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While every cemetery will most likely have their own unique rules and guidelines for what can and cannot be left on gravesites, there are common items that you should always avoid using in gravesite décor, like glass can break and cause injuries. You should also avoid unsecured or lightweight décor. If the decorations won’t stay put, they could end up all over the cemetery, which is disrespectful to other mourners and causes extra work for the staff.

Don’t forget to skip mylar or latex balloons as well as fences. These materials are very dangerous for animals. Instead, try blowing bubbles, leaving garden spinners, or using biodegradable materials. Don’t put up a fence or blocker of some kind around the grave as it will prevent the employees from performing maintenance.

Do you want more tips on decorating gravesites or Washington Crossing, PA funeral homes? J. Allen Hooper Funeral Chapel is here to help. Call or visit us today to learn more about what we can do for you. 

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Cremation Vs. Burial

There are many who prefer cremation services in Newtown, PA even though traditional burial is still very popular for many reasons In fact, some might argue that cremation is quickly becoming the standard for final disposition. But why?  

To better understand cremation’s popularity and to help you decide if it’s the right choice for you, here are some of the benefits of cremation over burial 

  • Saving Land

    The world’s population is only growing, but the world itself is not. This makes land a very valuable resource that, in some people’s view, shouldn’t be used for burials. Cremation is a wonderful solution to this issue as it does not take up any land at all.

  • Choosing the Service Time

    With traditional burial, you’re pretty much limited to the standard service timeline of a few days to a week after the death. This can feel like a ticking clock that only adds to the stress of a death. However, cremation allows for much more flexibility when it comes to scheduling a service, providing you with the time and ability to plan a service that works with your needs 

  • Choosing the Final Resting Place

    A burial means that your lost loved one’s final resting place will be a cemetery. Cremation, on the other hand, allows for a low more flexibility when choosing a final resting place. From an urn kept at home or in a columbarium to scattering at sea or in a special location, your loved one’s final resting place can be almost anything with cremation.  

  • Portability

    Since cremation reduces remains into the smallest possible components, the process makes remains incredibly portable. This means that, unlike with burial, cremation allows you to bring your lost loved one with you if you so choose, whether that means on a hike for you to scatter them in a favorite spot or even when you go on vacation, so they’ll be always near you.

  • No Embalming

    Embalming is almost always required for burial, but many embalming techniques use a chemical called formaldehyde that’s very bad for the environment. Cremation allows you to skip embalming entirely, which helps the planet in the long run.  

  • Cost

    In many cases, a full-service funeral with a cremation can cost about half as much as a full-service funeral with a traditional burial. Direct cremations and cremations with memorial services can bring that total cost down even further. 

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  • Keep Loved Ones Near

    Cremation also allows you to make cremation jewelry so you can always keep your lost loved one close to you. Cremation jewelry can be one of two things one, a jewelry item made with some kind of container that holds a small portion of the cremains or two, a jewelry item that was made with some of the remains infused with the metal.

There is nothing wrong with burial and it’s still a wonderful final disposition method if it’s what you want. J. Allen Hooper Funeral Chapel is here to help if you want to learn more about Newtown, PA cremation services. Call or visit us today for more information on what we can do for you.  

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Prolonged Grief After Funeral Home Services

There are many different kinds of grief that people can experience after a loss and a service at a funeral home in Newtown, PA, including prolonged grief.

Prolonged grief is when you continue to feel overwhelming or debilitating feelings of sadness and mourning over a loss that happened several months or years in the past. This kind of grief is very common when you lose a very close loved one, like a child or a spouse, and is sometimes referred to as Prolonged Grief Disorder because of its devastating effects on health, mental state, and overall wellness.

Here are some fast facts on prolonged grief to help you better understand the condition and its impact on someone going through a loss. First, the symptoms of PGD vary. The symptoms of prolonged grief include difficulty accepting the loss, irritability, loss of trust in others or oneself, and numbness to emotion as well as extreme anger or bitterness, loss of self-identity or self-worth, loss of purpose or direction, debilitating or unreasonable fear of more loss, overreactions to minor losses or issues, and fixation on the loss. You can also recover from PGD. While you may never “heal” from a loss, you can recover from prolonged grief disorder and be able to cope with the loss while living your life. The best ways to recover from the condition is to seek professional help, join a support group, and put an emphasis on your own personal stress and grief management.

Counseling goes a long way. One of the best ways to get through PGD is by seeking professional help early and often. Talking through your grief can help you accept it, which in turn can help you move forward in life. There is no shame in seeking help for any kind of mental distress, including grief. Also, some people are more likely to experience PGD than others.  Some people are predisposed to prolonged grief, such as parents who have lost a child, women, people who have lost someone suddenly or violently, and those that are already suffering from other hardships like divorce or depression. Time doesn’t necessarily heal. The old adage “time heals all wounds” might be true for some, but it isn’t true for all people or all grief. In fact, for most people, grief over a loss is never fully “healed,” but rather it just becomes a part of life that they carry with them.

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Also, Prolonged Grief Disorder is a real diagnosis. Prolonged Grief Disorder, or PGD, is a real diagnosis recognized by the World Health Organization and most mental health professionals. It’s defined through symptoms, their severity, and their length. In fact, PGD is well on its way to being classified as a mental disorder. It has been suggested for inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or the DSM. Finally, prolonged grief isn’t just about death. People who have suffered other kinds of losses besides death can suffer from PGD. These losses can include loss of a job, divorce, or even loss of a dream.

Loss is never easy, but with the right support, you can get through prolonged grief. J. Allen Hooper Funeral Chapel is here to help if you want to learn more about grief, loss, or Newtown, PA funeral homes. Call or visit us today.  

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What is Abbreviated Grief?

Whether you’re planning a funeral or a cremation service in Langhorne, PA, you should be aware of the different kinds of grief and how to handle them. For example, one kind of grief is abbreviated grief.

Abbreviated grief is mourning that doesn’t last a long time. Though its short, or abbreviated, this kind of grief isn’t any less real than other kinds. Abbreviated grief is most common when there isn’t a close relationship with the deceased or when there’s an immediate replacement of the deceased.

For example, it can occur when a widower remarries quickly after the death of his spouse, or when a distant relative dies. It can also occur after a terminal illness because of a phenomenon called anticipatory grief, which is when you do part of your grieving before the person actually dies so you don’t grief as long after a death.

Here are some fast facts about abbreviated grief to help you better understand and cope with your own loss. To begin, children often feel abbreviated grief. Its normal for children to feel abbreviated grief depending on their age and relationship with the deceased. Also, abbreviated grief is grief. While this kind of grief may not seem real or standard, it’s still very real and does happen often.

Plus, everyone grieves differently. Though abbreviated grief is short you still need to remember to take care of yourself. Eat, sleep, and exercise if you can, as keeping your body healthy will make it easier for you to feel better. Also, feeling your grief is always best. While it may be very tempting to numb your grief and pain with drugs, food, alcohol, or distractions like work, it’s always best to feel your feelings. It might be uncomfortable or painful, but you won’t be able to properly heal if you don’t allow yourself to truly grieve. Abbreviated grief can affect your health. No matter how short or long, grief has been shown to affect health by causes issues like increased blood pressure, poor sleep, physical aches and pains, trouble concentrating, and even heart palpitations.

There is no shame in seeking help for physical grief manifestations. It’s important to note that you don’t need to lose a loved one to grieve. People can experience abbreviated grief, and other kinds of grief, after a loss that isn’t a death. These can include divorce, loss of a friendship, job loss, or learning you can’t have kids. Finally, don’t feel pressure to prolong your grief or feel guilty over the length of your grief.

cremation service in Langhorne, PAEveryone grieves in their own unique way and in their own unique timeframe. Don’t compare your grief to someone else’s or judge another person for the way they mourn, even if you or they are dealing with abbreviated grief

Do you want to learn more about grieving or about Langhorne, PA cremation services? J. Allen Hooper Funeral Chapel is here to help in any way we can. Call or visit us today for more information on what we can do for you in your time of loss or of preplanning.

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Your Last Wishes Document

Your last wishes are your requests for what you want done after you die, generally regarding funeral or memorial arrangements and final disposition, and a last wishes document is how you can tell your loved ones what you want done after you die, from a cremation service to a funeral at a funeral home in Langhorne, PA.

Here are some common last wishes questions and their answers to give you more information on these important documents.

To begin, what should you include in a last wishes document? Your last wishes can include anything you want, including funeral or cremation preferences and plans, body disposition preferences, obituary information, messages to your loved ones, requests for your final days, and personal information like where your will is. Some people also choose to include what they want for the time leading up to their death as well, like who they want to see, if they want to pass at home or at a care facility, or even what they want their surroundings to be like in a last wishes document.

Are last wishes the same as a will? Last wishes are not wills. Wills are legal documents that deal with your estate, belonging, or finances, while last wishes are non-legal documents that deal with the funeral or service arrangements. It also does not make sense to include your last wishes in your will as the will is generally read after the funeral, thereby making your last wishes useless.

Is a last wishes document the same as an advance directive? Advanced directives are legal documents that details someone’s wishes when they are terminally ill. Last wishes are not legally binding and deal more with how you would like to be remembered, what you would like to say to your loved ones, and other practical things.

Are last wishes legally binding? Last wishes documents are not legally binding, but most family members or loved ones at least feel morally obligated to see your wishes done.

How do you make a last wishes document? You don’t need to do anything fancy to write down your last wishes. The document should include your name, the details you want your loved ones to know, and who you want to tell them to. It can be a few sentences or several pages, typed and printed, or just written down in a notebook. Just be sure it’s kept in a safe place and that the people it addresses know about it and where it is.

funeral home in Langhorne, PAEveryone dies eventually, so, no matter how uncomfortable it might be, it’s a good idea to be as prepared for the eventuality as possible. It’s always best to tell your loved ones about these wishes in addition to writing them down. That way you can make sure they understand what you want, and they can ask any questions they may have.

Do you want to learn more about last wishes or Langhorne, PA funeral homes? J. Allen Hooper Funeral Chapel is here to help. Call or visit us today for more information on what we can do for you in your time of preplanning or of loss.

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Ideas for Out-of-Town Guests

It’s common for memorials after cremation services in Washington Crossing, PA and other locations are much more than one-day events. This is especially true if people are traveling from out of town for the service. You want your friends and family to have a nice time while they travel, even if it’s for a somber event like a memorial.

There are tons of different activities you can set up for your guests before or after the service itself. Keep reading for some helpful ideas.

For example, you can see a show! Who doesn’t like live theater? If there’s a theater in your area, set up a night where everyone goes and sees a show. Bonus: many theaters offer group discounts, so try and buy all the tickets at once. If there’s no live theater in your area, go see a movie instead. You can also try taking in the arts. Out-of-town visitors almost always enjoy art and history. Plan a trip to a local art gallery or museum so your guests can enjoy the arts. Try an art museum or science museum, antique shop, or art gallery. Got lots of time? Why not try and take in all three!

 

Try shopping at local shops or hitting an amusement park. Bring guests to a local mall, shopping area, main street, or wherever there are lots of fun and unique stores and boutiques. Who doesn’t like a little shopping? This is a good idea because everyone will get some time to explore on their own plus pick up a souvenir or any last-minute items they might need for the service. If there’s an amusement park in your area, be it a Universal Studios or a Six Flags, your guests will be in for a nice break from grieving and thinking about the loss. Even if everyone doesn’t like rollercoasters, amusement parks generally have other kinds of activities and attractions like shows, carnival games, and even face painting.

You can also go on hikes. People will want to stretch their legs and get some activity in while they’re traveling or grieving. So, plan a hike! Choose a nearby trail or walking path that’s not too difficult so everyone can participate. What about picnics or local foods? Most towns have lovely local parks full of sunshine, green grass, and shady trees that just scream picnic. Have your guests pack their own lunches and then tell everyone to meet at a certain area of a local park for a picnic, some relaxing, and even a few lawn games.

cremation services in Washington Crossing, PAFinally, after busy days of shopping and sightseeing, your guests will probably be hungry. Set up reservations or make recommendations for all the must-eat restaurants and bakeries in the area so everyone can refuel and treat themselves to something delicious.

 

Do you want more tips on Washington Crossing, PA cremation services? Just get in touch with J. Allen Hooper Funeral Chapel. Call or visit us today to learn more about what we can do for you in your time of loss or of preplanning. We’re honored to do whatever we can to help.

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Embalming and Funeral Homes

Whether you’re having a cremation or a service at a funeral home in Washington Crossing, PA, it’s helpful to be aware of the basics of embalming.

To begin, embalming is the preservation of human remains to slow decomposition and disinfect the body. The process is thought of as both an art and a science as it requires great skill and experience. Bodies are usually embalmed so they’re suitable for a viewing before a cremation or funeral service. They are also used to preserve bodies for medical purposes, whether for a laboratory or a medical school.

Embalming is frequently required by state law or funeral home regulations. Some states legally require refrigeration or embalming if a body is not cremated or buried within a certain period of time after a death, while other states leave the requirements up to the funeral homes. While the exact laws and regulations vary, best practices are to bury or cremate a body within a few days of death or embalm it.

There are two main kinds of embalming, arterial and cavity, but both are usually used in the standard embalming process.

  • Arterial embalming involves removing the blood from the veins and replacing it with the embalming solution. In other words, the blood is flushed out of the veins and arteries by the fluid.
  • Cavity embalming is when the internal fluids are removed with tools called trocars and aspirators.

While each embalming expert might have his or her own preferred technique, here are the general steps of the embalming process.

The first step is to wash and disinfect the body. The embalmer will also massage the arms and legs to ease rigor mortis and perform any necessary shaving. Next, it’s time to set the features. The embalmer sets the body’s features by closing the eyes and positioning the mouth. The eyes are often held shut by plastic caps and the mouth is usually wired or sewn shut.

The next step is to inject the embalming fluids and cavity embalming. An incision is made in the right common carotid artery and the right jugular vein in order to pump about two gallons of a formaldehyde solution through the body. As the solution is injected, it pushes the blood out of the veins and into a drain attached to the jugular. Bodily fluids and remaining gas are removed from the internal organs, like the bladder, intestines, and stomach, by a suction hose and a trocar. A trocar is an instrument with a three-sided point attached to a tube for removing fluids.

After the fluids are removed, the embalmer injects embalming fluid to preserve the body and help it hold its shape. Finally, the embalmer then closes up any incisions made in the embalming process, gives the body a bath, and then dresses it. After about 24 hours, he will return to seal the incisions with a bonding adhesive to prevent leaks, apply makeup, and fix the hair.

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Do you have more questions on embalming or Washington Crossing, PA funeral homes? Just reach out to J. Allen Hooper Funeral Chapel. We’re happy to offer our expertise and compassionate services. Call or visit us today to learn more about what we can do for you in your time of loss or of preplanning.

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How is a Body Prepared for Cremation?

What happens to the body after the death? How long before the cremation takes place? What happens after the cremation? Your loved one has died, and they chose a cremation service in Newtown, PA.

Here are all the details of how a body is prepared for a cremation.

First, the funeral home or crematory picks up the body. After the death, the funeral home or crematory of your choice will usually pick up the body and bring it to the funeral home or crematory. Once there, it will be placed in a prep room or in refrigeration. Next comes service planning. The bereaved will then meet with a funeral director or cremation provider to plan a service, if desired, and determine the cremation details. During this time, the body is kept in a refrigeration unit between 36 and 39 degrees to slow decomposition.

If the deceased or bereaved chose direct cremation, the body will stay refrigerated till the cremation. If they chose a public viewing, the body will be placed in a prep room for embalming. The cremation provider will then prep the body by removing all jewelry, pacemakers, or medical devices in order to prevent melting or explosions during the cremation process. Jewelry is returned to the family and medical devices are often recycled or returned to the family. If the family or deceased chose direct cremation, there is no other preparation required.

If the family chose a public viewing, the body will be embalmed, bathed, dried, dressed, and put in a casket. Next comes identity verification. A family member or next-of-kin will complete and ID Verification form after preparation to signify that the body has been properly identified and is ready to be cremated or viewed at a service. Each facility and state have different procedures, but your funeral director or cremation provider will walk you through each step.

Finally, there’s the cremation itself. After the body is identified and after any chosen service, the body is then placed in a cremation container. Cremation containers can be solid wood caskets designed for cremation or corrugated cardboard boxes also designed for cremations. The cremation container with the body inside is then put into the cremation chamber and heated between 1400 and 2000 degrees for about two hours. Some crematories allow family members to view the cremation itself. If you wish to view the cremation, speak with your provider.

After the cremation, the remains are cooled for about an hour and then processed through a machine that grinds remaining bones into powder. These powdered remains are returned to the family in an urn of their choice or in another kind of container.

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J. Allen Hooper Funeral Chapel is here to help if you want to learn more about the cremation process or Newtown, PA cremation services in general. Stop by and pay us a visit or give us a call today for more information on what we can do for you in your time of loss. After all, this is only the basics of how a body is prepared for cremation.

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Between Death and Funeral Home Services

No matter how unsettling or uncomfortable it might be, it’s important to know what happens to a body after a death if you’re planning service at a funeral home in Newtown, PA.

Here is a breakdown of what happens to a body after death, from death pronouncement to final decomposition. The first step is death pronouncement. The death pronouncement is when the person is officially declared dead by a medical professional. It can be different from the actual time of death as sometimes doctors are not present when the person actually dies. Instead, the death pronouncement is given after the doctor examines the body and determines that death has occurred. Next comes body transportation to the funeral home.

After a death, someone has to notify the funeral home or cremation provider and then have someone come to the place of death and transport it to the funeral home or cremation location. There’s also the option to preserve the body. There are several ways bodies are preserved before a cremation service or funeral including refrigeration and embalming. Bodies are kept cold with ice, dry ice, air conditioning, or refrigerators.

They can also be traditionally embalmed or eco-embalmed, which is a method that does not use formaldehyde. Most people choose to have some kind of memorial event for their lost loved one. The most traditional events are viewings, visitations, and wakes. A viewing or wake is when the embalmed body is present, and a visitation may or may not have the body present. Viewings and wakes are also generally more religious than wakes.

There are also traditional funerals, which are services in which the body is present in a casket. Funerals are also usually religious events held at funeral homes or churches. Families can also choose to less traditional and host a memorial. Memorials are services at which the body is not present, either because the body was cremated or because the body was already buried. Lastly, there’s the service and the final disposition. The body’s final disposition is where the body will be put to rest. Whether the body is buried or interned in a tomb or mausoleum, the service for final disposition is called a committal.

When a body is cremated and placed in an urn or scattered, the ceremony is called a cremation ceremony or a scattering service. There are many different ways to put a body to rest, but the most common include burial and cremation. Bodies can be buried in the ground at a cemetery, above-ground in a mausoleum, entombment in a lawn crypt, or naturally buried in other locations. Final disposition options for after cremation include cremation with burial in a cemetery, above-ground burial in a columbarium, scattering of ashes, and inurnment with the urn kept at home. There are also alternative disposition methods such as alkaline hydrolysis, burial or scattering at sea, and body preservation.

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J. Allen Hooper Funeral Chapel is here to help if you want to learn more about the process or Newtown, PA funeral homes. Call or visit us to learn more about what we can do for you in your time of loss.

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Pallbearer FAQs

A pallbearer is someone that helps carry or officially escorts a casket during a funeral or service. While pallbearers are traditionally used when the body is buried in a casket, people can choose to have pallbearers carry the casket at a funeral before a cremation service in Langhorne, PA. They can also carry or walk alongside the urn before or after a memorial service.

Their duties traditionally consist exclusively of carrying the remains from the hearse to the church or funeral home before the service, and then back into the hearse after the service. If the remains are to be buried or inurned, the pallbearers also carry them from the hearse to the final resting place.

As intense or scary as the job of serving as a pallbearer seems, it’s not as overwhelming as you might think. If you were you asked to be a pallbearer for someone’s funeral, here’s everything you need to know about pallbearers in order to prepare you for the task:

  • What Should Pallbearers Wear? Its best for pallbearers to dress conservatively, ideally in a dark suit and tie, dress, or pantsuit. However, be sure to wear clothing that is comfortable enough for you to move and lift in. Don’t forget to wear flat or low-heeled shoes so you don’t trip while carrying the casket.
  • How Heavy is a Casket? Caskets can weigh as little as 60 pounds up to 400 pounds or more depending on the type of casket and the size of the remains inside. For example, pine caskets generally weigh about 150 pounds, while mahogany can weigh up to 250. Metal caskets, on the other hand, can weigh between 160 to 200 pounds depending on the kind of metal and the metal gauge.
  • What Is an Honorary Pallbearer? An honorary pallbearer is someone who will not actually carry the casket but is still recognized in some way. This title is usually used for older friends or relatives who might not be able to physically carry the casket. Sometimes people even choose to have deceased friends or family members as honorary pallbearers, as they don’t have to carry the casket or even be physically present to have the honor.
  • Who Can be a Pallbearer? Pallbearers can be anyone the bereaved or deceased choose. However, they are usually close family or friends like siblings, older children or grandchildren, colleagues, or friends. And yes, women can be pallbearers even though it doesn’t happen very often.
  • How Many Pallbearers are There? While there can be as many or as few as desired, there are traditionally six to eight pallbearers. If there are six, three stand on each side of the casket. If there are eight, the extra two stand on the front and back.

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J. Allen Hooper Funeral Chapel is here to help if you have more questions about pallbearers or Langhorne, PA cremation services. Call or visit us today to learn more about what we can do for you in your time of loss or of preplanning.