Tips and resources to help you throughout your caregiving journey

Cremation services and funeral planning tips

Our partnership with Eirene continues with a discount of $500 to use their cremation services, from which we may receive a commission.

We recently highlighted the fact that cremations are now more popular than burials. If you do choose cremation,  Elizz gives their seal of approval to Eirene, which offers cremation services that are affordable, flexible and simple.

We asked the CEO of Eirene, Mallory J Greene, about (their) cremation services and what funeral shopping tips they can offer our Elizz readers.

What is Eirene? What was the motivation behind its creation?

Eirene allows families to plan an affordable cremation entirely online — all at their convenience. There’s no shopping around, up-selling or in-person visits required. It’s the peace of mind that you’re receiving the best care for your loved one, with a focus on your experience during an incredibly difficult time.

We started Eirene to provide families with a better funeral arrangement experience – one that is different from the traditional, expensive and complicated process that exists today. We provide simplicity through our online platform, affordability with all-inclusive pricing, and transparency through education to better understand your options.

Eirene currently operates in Ontario, and our team of licensed funeral directors are on call for you and your loved ones — whenever you need it. We are licensed and regulated by the Bereavement Authority of Ontario, and our industry partners are licensed and vetted to deliver the best service to you.

What does a cremation package at Eirene include?

Eirene’s package includes everything you need to ensure your loved one receives the highest quality death care without surprise costs or hidden fees. It’s one package – suited for all.

Our price includes:

  • Services of a licensed funeral director and care team
  • Transfer of your loved one to our secure facilities
  • Completion of all required government paperwork and permits
  • A private, dignified cremation
  • The cremated remains hand-delivered to you in a simple container

We also provide unlimited proof of death certificates, can help you navigate CPP and OAS paperwork, and offer a free estate administration tool to notify credit bureaus, financial institutions and the government of the death.

Why should people plan ahead regarding this end-of-life decision?

We’re all touched by death – both in regards to our mortality but also with the people that we love. Despite this commonality between us, we rarely talk about it. When we normalize conversations surrounding end-of-life and prepare for it, it can teach us a lot about how to live.

Sharing your wishes for end-of-life care will allow you to access quality care as you age, achieve a sense of control over those final moments, and die with dignity. It will remove many of the fears associated with death, strengthen relationships with your loved ones, and ensure that you provide stability for the people you’re leaving behind. It will allow you to decide how you’re remembered, your legacy, and what stories you leave behind. There are countless positives to having end-of-life discussions.

If I’ve sparked your interest, there are interesting tools that you can tap into to start those conversations. You can attend a Death Cafe, host a Death over Dinner event or even spark the conversation at your next board game night. Once you open that dialogue, I guarantee that you’ll be able to live life with a tremendous amount of gratitude.

How do people make cremation arrangements using Eirene? What is the process?

When you choose Eirene as your cremation provider, rest assured that we’ll provide Canada’s simplest arrangement service. We’ll keep you informed throughout the process, so you’ll have a clear understanding of what stage of the process we’re at.

Here’s how it works:

  • You enter all required information on our online platform
  • We bring your loved one into our care from their place of passing
  • Our licensed funeral director completes all required paperwork
  • We register the death with the Office of the Registrar General
  • We transport your loved one to our partner crematorium
  • Your loved one has a private, dignified cremation
  • The cremated remains are ready to be picked up or delivered at your earliest convenience

What if I need to speak with someone – how does that work with Eirene?

For most Canadians, the first time making a funeral arrangement is complicated and overwhelming. While our process is digital, human connection is at the core of what we do. That’s why we have licensed funeral directors on staff to help you throughout the arrangement, available to speak to you whenever you need it. We’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, via email, phone or live chat.

Eirene’s arrangement experience allows families to be as hands-on or removed from the process as they’d like to be. Whichever you choose, we will keep you informed every step of the way. It’s an online experience to provide simplicity, with the personal touch of having someone there to guide you through the process.

I see that you currently serve the Greater Toronto area. Are there plans to expand in the province and across Canada?

Eirene’s mission is to unpack difficult conversations around end-of-life planning and help families navigate the complexities of death care. There’s an ample opportunity to educate consumers, help families understand their options and discover new and unique ways to commemorate their loved ones.

We’re starting in Ontario, but we have big ambitions to expand our offerings across Canada. We want to ensure that everyone can access simple, compassionate and transparent arrangement services.

Are cremations cheaper than burials?

Cremations are an affordable alternative to burials. Today, it is the preferred method of disposition across North America. The decision to choose one over the other is ultimately an individual choice.

Here are some essential points to remember on cremation

Cremation is NOT:

  • the opposite of a burial
  • less than
  • a way to avoid grieving
  • only about the lowest cost

Cremation IS:

  • a simple disposition
  • more flexible
  • less expensive
  • a way to stay connected to the deceased

Ultimately, cremation vs. burial is a personal choice for you and your family. You’re the one who can determine the most loving and meaningful way to say goodbye.

Cremations are now more likely to be chosen over a burial in Canada. Why do you think that is?

Today, over 72% of Canadians choose cremation. Cremation is preferred for various reasons, but most prominently due to its simplicity, flexibility, and affordability.

Affordable: With the reasonable cost of cremations, families can feel like smart consumers without foregoing quality death care for their loved one. For some families, keeping to a specific budget is essential throughout the funeral arrangement process. It happens to be one of the most significant expenses Canadians will incur, and most often, it is a surprise expense that hasn’t been budgeted for. Other families choose to spend money elsewhere, such as putting the money towards a handcrafted urn or unique memorial service.

Flexible: Memorialization options become more flexible with date and location, and you have time to bring in family and friends from out of town. You can choose to keep the remains, spread them at your favourite location, bury them or divide them into smaller portions. It allows families to have more control over their farewell but doesn’t involve making hasty decisions at a time of mourning.

Simple: This is the word most commonly used to describe cremation. It’s a simpler choice for families as it involves fewer immediate decisions to make, including decisions around memorialization and final resting place. It allows end of life decision to be open, continual, closed, or finished. It’s a straightforward option during a stressful time.

There are other reasons, such as the idea that keeping cremated remains with you provides an emotional need for some families. There are also, of course, cultural and religious specific practices to consider, too.

I see that you have to pre-pay in full for cremation services? Are there plans to provide flexible payments in the future?

Most families are not prepared for end-of-life costs and are often shocked at the price tag when it’s presented to them. On crowdfunding platforms, funeral cost campaigns are the fastest-growing category. With the cost of dying increasing, Canadians can not afford quality death care.

Ensuring that our services and products are accessible and affordable for all Canadians is our top priority. It’s about providing high-quality death care at a cost that won’t break the bank. Flexible payment plans and more affordable options will be launched in the near future.

Do you have any funeral shopping tips for families?

Most people forget that a funeral is not just an emotional ritual; it’s a business transaction. Doing your research, specifically on prices, could save you thousands of dollars. And of course, the most effective way to avoid overspending during a time of emotional vulnerability is to speak to your family about your preferences ahead of time and put your wishes in writing.

Here are some tips:

  • Shop around and compare pricing. Funeral homes are legally required to provide a detailed price list of what their package includes.
  • If your loved one is nearing death, start looking at options ahead of time, when you’re not under as much pressure to make a decision.
  • Ask a friend to help you – specifically, someone who is not as emotionally invested. They’ll likely be able to help you make better choices and ask the right questions.
  • Receive an itemized statement of your final choices before entering into a funeral contract. It’s important to ask what parts of your package are mandatory. For example, most Canadians aren’t aware that embalming is not a legal requirement in Canada and is not required for cremation.
  • Keep information about any inheritance or insurance policies private. This could impact what the final price will be.

Which funeral shopping tip do you find most valuable? Let us know.

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