Category Archives: funeral home

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. 

funeral home in Newtown, PA

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.  

funeral home in Langhorne, PA

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.

funeral home in Washington Crossing, PA

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.

funeral home in Washington Crossing, PA

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.

funeral home in Newtown, PA

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.

funeral home in Newtown, PA

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.

funeral home in Langhorne, PA

Are You Serving as a Pallbearer?

A pallbearer is someone that helps carry or officially escorts a casket during a funeral at a funeral home in Langhorne, PA. 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.

If you were asked to be a pallbearer for someone’s funeral or service before a cremation service, you need these tips for serving as a pallbearer for guidance and inspiration. Hopefully these tips will help you calm your nerves and make sure you are ready to take on this honor. To begin, follow all instructions.

Always follow the instructions of the family, bereaved, and the funeral direction. This is true even if you’ve been a pallbearer before or have different ideas of how things should go. It’s not your time to shine, it’s your chance to be respectful and honor the deceased. Also, turn off your phone. It would be horrifying to have your phone ring during the service or, even worse, when you’re carrying the casket. Unless the bereaved specify otherwise, men should wear dark, solid suits with white shirts and conservative ties, and women should wear dark pantsuits or dresses. You really don’t want to trip when carrying the casket.

Be sure to wear sensible shoes that will help keep your feet firmly planted on the ground and will be supportive when you lift the casket. Remember, being nervous is normal. It’s true that all eyes will be on you when you carry the casket, so it’s OK to be nervous. Just follow the instructions, breathe deeply, and you’ll be alright. Turn off your phone completely or leave it in your car or at home. Being chosen as a pallbearer means that the bereaved trust you and care about you. It’s a privilege, so do your best to treat the honor with dignity and respect. This includes considering your attire.

Pallbearers need to dress appropriately. Also, be prepared to lift. The main job of a pallbearer is to lift and carry the casket, so prepare yourself. Remember, it’s OK to turn it down if you’re asked to be a pallbearer by can’t physically do the job. Don’t forget to stay back and support the family. Don’t rush out as soon as the service is over. Hang around for a bit to offer support, comfort, and assistance to the family. Lastly, be on time. You need to arrive at the funeral home or service location at or even before the time specified. This way you can be as prepared as possible and not rushing or worried after a late arrival.

funeral home in Langhorne, PA

Do you need more guidance or assistance if when it comes to pallbearers or Langhorne, 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 in your time of loss or of preplanning.

funeral homes in Washington Crossing, PA

Tips for Hosting a Wake this Summer

With everything from gorgeous weather and bright sunshine to vibrant flowers, summer wakes can be truly beautiful and meaningful, summer wakes after services at funeral homes in Washington Crossing, PA are very popular.

However, the summer also comes with variables that can quickly turn a wonderful wake into a disaster, like thunderstorms, heatwaves, and lots and lots of bugs. Here are some tips for planning a summer wake that will help you enjoy all the benefits of the season without fear of any of the pitfalls.

To begin, make a back-up plan. If you still want to have your wake service, scattering event or other kind of meaningful moment to honor the deceased outdoors, you definitely need a back-up plan in case of rain or other problematic weather. Think about where you can have the ceremony if you have to move things inside or get creative with other solutions like umbrellas or fans.

You can even order programs that list the agenda for the wake service that double as fans. You can still enjoy parts of the wake outdoors to take advantage of the beautiful season but having the reception inside will save you a lot of headaches and worry. One of the best parts of summertime is the abundance of bright, colorful flowers and rich greenery. Summer is the perfect time to go overboard with florals, especially when you’re bringing the outdoor feel indoors for an indoor reception after an outdoor wake service. You can also ask your florist about what’s locally in season for to save some money on the centerpieces, flowers for scattering, or other florals you may want for the wake.

Many people choose to serve food at the reception following a lost loved one’s wake. While a warm bowl of soup might be delicious, it doesn’t really work with the summer season or the summer heat. Instead, opt for more summer-friendly dishes like salads, fresh fruit, or a cooling gazpacho. What about serving cooling refreshments or skipping the soup course? Most wakes these days start in the heat of the day, so your guests will want something to cool them down when they arrive and during the service itself. Try serving cooling welcome refreshments right when the guests arrive so they stay comfortable and cool for the service and into the reception.

funeral homes in Washington Crossing, PAYou could also host the wake indoors. Indoor wakes are always a safe bet, but especially so in the summer. You don’t have to worry about pesky bugs swarming the food, heavy rain turning the greeting line into a mud put, or an unexpected heat wave sending your guests in search of air conditioning. You can also give out helpful handouts. Think about helpful favors or handouts you can hand out to your guests to help them beat the heat, like fans or koozies to keep drinks cold.

Do you want to make your lost loved one’s service the best it can be, or do you want more information on Washington Crossing, PA funeral homes? J. Allen Hooper Funeral Chapel is here to help, so call or visit us today.

funeral home in Newtown, PA

Prepping Your Home for a Wake

While there are many places to host a wake after a service at a funeral home in Newtown, PA, many bereaved prefer to have the gathering at their home. Whether this is because the deceased had a special connection to the house or because the bereaved want to keep the event intimate, a wake at home is a wonderful idea.

If you want to host a wake for your lost loved one at your home, you do need to spend time getting your home ready. Here are some tips for prepping your home for a wake, like organizing your cords. Cords hanging off the TV, tangled by the nightstand, or snaking around your desk look plain messy. Clear away and organize your cords by investing in some cheap cord organizers and power strips.

You can also update your furniture and change dated fixtures. A brand-new couch is pricey, but reupholstering your existing couch just takes a few hours and some creativity. You can update other furniture, too, like chairs and tables with a new stain or coat of paint. Want to make your home look updated for the wake? Change out the fixtures. It’s incredible how much changing fixtures can change a room. Whether you’re updating frosted glass pendant lights or ripping out nasty old ceiling fans in lieu of more modern ones, spend the weekend changing your dated fixtures for a quick home update.

The best way to prep your home for a wake is to do a deep clean. Start in the high traffic rooms like the kitchen, bathrooms, and living spaces, but don’t forget the extra rooms like bedrooms, offices, and basements. You also need to give your windows and window treatments some love. Window treatments can get dirty if left unattended. A quick way to make your home feel like new again is to clean your treatments. You can even repaint or re-stain them if you want to add a new pop of color.

funeral home in Newtown, PA

Don’t forget to add greenery and a fresh coat of paint. Plants, flowers and other greenery always add life and color to a space. Worried about watering? Buy some fake plants. Few things update a space more than a fresh coat of paint. You can totally change the color of a room for a super new look, or you can just give the existing color a refresh. What about cleaning tile and grout or making space for your pet? Nothing makes a bathroom or kitchen seem older and dirtier than stained grout or tile. Buy a cheap tile and grout refreshing kit at your local hardware store or online and spend the afternoon scrubbing. It might take some elbow grease, but your kitchen and bathroom will look good as new. Your home should be free from pet clutter for the event. Take some time on your weekend to carve out a dedicated space for your pet and all his accessories.

Do you want more tips or information on Newtown, PA funeral homes? J. Allen Hooper Funeral Chapel is here for you in your time of loss or of preplanning.

funeral home in Langhorne, PA

Tips for Visiting Someone Who Is Dying

What should you do if you have a friend or close relative who’s dying? While it’s hard, it’s incredibly important to visit them so you can show your love and support before your friend’s passing and service at a funeral home in Langhorne, PA.

But what should you say? How can you get through the tangle of emotions that comes with such a visit? Most people have never been in that kind of situation before and therefore lack the experience and knowledge to know what to say or do. People also don’t know what to say or do because death and terminal illnesses are somewhat taboo subjects in our society and are therefore often not really talked about or dealt with.

There is a lot of awkwardness that comes from talking about death, but it may be helpful to remember that your friend or loved one might feel just as awkward about the subject. Here are some tips for what to say. To begin, all you have to do is listen. Sometimes it’s more about what you don’t say than what you do say. They might just need someone to listen to them, hold their hand, and be their shoulder to cry on. After all, what they are going through is scary and overwhelming.

Just being there to sit with them and let them express how they are feeling can be more than enough comfort. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Face the elephant in the room head on and ask questions about how they’re doing. They may not want to answer them, and that OK, but just having you be there to ask the questions is often comfort enough. Always let them decide how much they feel like sharing. Finally, be honest. Always be honest about your own feelings and experience.

Feeling nervous, sad, or scared? Say so. Human connection is so important, and the best way to connect is through honesty. Also, don’t wait. You never know which conversation or visit might be your last, so don’t wait too long to make your visit and be sure you remain as heartfelt and loving as you can. Don’t you want your friends and loved ones by your side when your time comes? The answer is probably yes, so you need to extend that same grace to your friends and loved ones as they pass. Also, friendship and family means being there to support a person through the good times and the bad. Yes, you may feel uncomfortable, but image how scared or uncertain they are.

funeral home in Langhorne, PA

J. Allen Hooper Funeral Chapel is here to help if you want more information on death or Langhorne, PA funeral homes. Stop by and visit us or give us a call today to learn more about what we can do for you. Remember, this is the moment they need you the most. It’s understandable and even normal to feel uneasy or anxious about visiting with someone who’s dying.

funeral home in Washington Crossing, PA

Caskets and Funeral Homes

What do you know about caskets? If you’re planning a service at a funeral home in Washington Crossing, PA, you will most likely need to choose a casket for your lost loved one.

The best place to begin is learning about the most common types of caskets, casket features, and casket materials. To begin, there are wood caskets. Generally, wood caskets are made from solid hardwoods like mahogany, walnut, cherry, maple, oak, and pecan. Much like furniture made from harder woods is more expensive, the harder the casket wood the more expensive the casket will be.

Other woods such as pine, poplar, and willow are generally the most affordable, and the least expensive wood casket option is wood veneer, pressed wood, and cloth-covered fiberboard. There are also metal caskets. The most common metals used to make caskets are bronze, copper, stainless steel, and carbon steel. Bronze and copper are the most durable as they will not rust over time, but they do tend to cost. Stainless steel and carbon caskets come in different thicknesses, each with their own price point.

Metal caskets are usually more durable than wood, which is why they’re often marketed as “protective.” Though they do come with a rubber gasket to seal the casket, they do not slow down the decomposition process.

You also need to consider the size of the casket before you commit to choosing one. A standard casket is generally 84 inches long, 28 inches wide, and 23 inches tall. While the length of a casket is rarely an issue – as most bodies comfortably fit within the standard size – you may need to look at an “oversized” casket that have an extra width of 31 inches.

What about features? Caskets come with two basic types of lids: half couch and full couch. Half Couch refers to a two-piece lid that’s usually partially opened (from the deceased’s waist up) for a viewing. Full Couch refers to a one-piece lid extending the length of the casket. Don’t forget to think about additional features like lining, memory drawers, and casket corners. Casket interiors, or linings, come in a variety of materials. The most common are crepe, velvet, satin, linen, and velour. Memory drawers are special compartments built into the casket that hold small personal items you wish to bury with the deceased. These are special attachments to the outside of the casket that help denote the deceased’s life in some way, like a golfing or fishing symbol.

Finally, cremation caskets are used to support the body while its being cremated and therefore need to be combustible and cannot have any metal parts. In fact, unless you would like a casket because you have a funeral before the cremation, you don’t have to have a true casket at all. You can choose a cremation container, or simple box, in which to cremate the body.

funeral home in Washington Crossing, PA

Do you want to learn more about caskets or Washington Crossing, PA funeral homes? J. Allen Hooper Funeral Chapel is here to help. After all, there are a lot of different caskets out there, all in different materials, shapes, sizes, and price points, so it can be hard to get started on choosing one for your lost loved one.