Live Streaming Funerals during the Pandemic: Five Questions for Families to Consider
Even before the pandemic, many families opted to live stream the funeral of a loved one so those who couldn’t be there in person could attend remotely. In fact, 9 out of 10 funerals typically have loved ones who are unable to attend due to distance, illness or other commitments. Today, because of pandemic-related restrictions, live streaming funerals has taken on even greater importance. If this is the first time you’ve considered adding a live stream to a funeral you may be wondering: What’s next? How do we make this live stream or webcast decision and if we decide to do it, how do we make it private so it isn’t broadcast beyond family and friends if we don’t want it to be and as meaningful as possible for those who can’t be at the service in person? Below are five questions you need to ask before you live stream a loved one’s funeral or memorial.
1. Who are the people that may want to attend the funeral or memorial remotely?
It’s important to ask this question – and then start making a list. Chances are high that your loved one had friends and family members who will want to attend but can’t. This is particularly true today as we navigate the concerns and constraints created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Think about all the people whose lives your loved one has touched, including relatives and friends they may have lost touch with. Use their address book or holiday card list or ask other friends and loved ones to make sure you don’t leave people out who cared about your loved one. You may also consider including a link to the live stream of the service on the funeral home’s website or in the obituary.
2. What kind of live streaming service does the funeral home use and how does it work?
This is a very important question. Some funeral homes and churches can live stream funerals already. But can they guarantee the live stream of the funeral will be private and personalized? How do they monitor their live stream to help ensure video and audio quality issues are addressed quickly? Who do remote attendees call if they have an issue accessing a funeral live stream? Do they only offer funeral live streaming or does their service allow families to provide context about the deceased’s life? What if the service is in a funeral home or church that doesn’t have live streaming capabilities or what if the service is graveside or at some other location?
The TribuCast® Remote Attendance System offers a private, secure and dignified way to attend a funeral or memorial service remotely. Each TribuCast® is monitored by TribuCast personnel for video and audio quality (so they can help remote attendees if needed). Each TribuCast has a unique distribution link (private web address) that is provided by the funeral home to family and friends and acts like a key for access. All a remote attendee needs to do is click on the link which opens a web browser and takes them directly to the service they wish to attend remotely. Mourners don’t have to join a third-party platform, download a new app, or remember a new user id and password they may only use once – something particularly important for the older generation. In addition, TribuCast® is totally portable and mobile making it possible to live stream or webcast from just about anywhere there is cellular or wifi access and TribuCast® offers the opportunity to add content and context about the deceased (more on this later).
So, ask your funeral home director what live streaming service he or she uses – and more importantly, ask them about TribuCast®.
3. Should I reach out to the Director of my loved one’s senior living facility?
If your loved one was elderly and lived in a senior living community, you have yet another important group of people who probably want to pay their respects but can’t, due to issues with mobility, transportation, or illness. Reach out to the Director of the facility and see if there might be a way to share the funeral live stream with their community.
Nursing and assisted living facility directors have told us that having access to a TribuCast® is profoundly important for residents when a member of their community dies. These Directors see TribuCast® as a critical tool for helping residents to cope with a loss. Participating in a TribuCast® allows nursing home and assisted living residents to feel like they are really at the funeral or memorial. TribuCast® provides them with an autonomous, independent and dignified way to honor a friend that has passed away. In the words of one director, “I can honestly say that once we experienced a TribuCast, and really understood how it worked and its impact, we never want our community to do without it again. It has been that important.”
At one assisted living facility that recently used TribuCast®, 100 percent of residents and staff attended the funeral service of a fellow resident remotely. And, the outpouring of appreciation shared with the family is often profoundly heartwarming.
4. Which portions of the funeral or memorial service do family and loved ones want to make available via live stream?
The answer to this question varies quite a bit and depends a great deal on how the service itself is organized. Some families and loved ones only want to film the church or temple portion of the service. Others want to be able to live stream the rosary at the wake or the last prayers and farewells at the grave site. Those who opt for a Celebration of Life service may have completely different requirements (one family did a scattering of cremains ceremony from a boat). The person or persons planning the funeral need to be clear and precise about their wishes and expectations – and funeral directors need to be clear as well about whether they can meet those expectations.
Some funeral live streaming systems use fixed-camera solutions, meaning the camera will only be operable from one location – usually the ceiling of the funeral home. The TribuCast® Remote Attendance System™ utilizes smartphone or iPad/android tablet technology making it completely portable and much more flexible than fixed camera systems that can only provide one point of view.
5. What kind of information do you want to share with those participating remotely? What will in-person attendees have access to that remote attendees might appreciate having as well?
We have learned through research and experience that it is far more meaningful to remote attendees to share personalized content with them that they can engage and interact with that was close to the deceased’s heart – the same sort of content that makes attending a highly personalized service in-person heartwarming and transformational.
If you choose to use TribuCast®, take some time to think about what kind of content you would like to use to frame the service for remote attendees. A picture of dad hiking the Appalachian Trail? The lyrics of mom’s favorite song or scripture verse? Information about an award that meant the world to your sister? A basketball trophy? A family tree? A wedding photo? A vacation home photo or video? A link to a beloved charity in lieu of flowers? A fun-loving childhood video or maybe a tribute video?
The possibilities for providing context are endless with TribuCast® and, like the eulogy, this content provides a series of windows into the life that was lived. You can learn more on using interactive touchpoints HERE.
Does your funeral home offer TribuCast®?
As you can probably tell from the above questions, we think TribuCast® is uniquely equipped to manage the nuances and sensitivities involved in a funeral live stream in a superior way to traditional live streaming. TribuCast® offers privacy, flexibility, dignity and context. It was designed with the needs of remote attendees in mind and enables loved ones to take part in a service remotely without having to use a highly impersonal social media platform or download an app. It has unique interactive touchpoints to enrich the experience of the service and reflect on the life that has passed. It can be infinitely personalized and is easy to use.
In short, tribucasting can play an important role in helping all the people whose lives a loved one has touched to grieve effectively at a time of significant and life-changing loss. Don’t settle for less than what the TribuCast® Remote Attendance System™ has to offer. Learn more about TribuCast® at www.TribuCast.com.