Greetings! Welcome to
the new INSIDER newsletter.
We've been working on several projects to better promote the WCCFA and our members, and to enhance the value of your membership in the association.
Our web site is undergoing a complete re-design using newer, more user-friendly software. Its contents are being updated and improved. We have obtained the domain name "wccfa" to better enable people to find us. A new feature will be an interactive membership directory with links to your web sites, catalogs, or whatever else you want the end-user to connect to. We will shortly be soliciting your input for the directory.
Along with that web site rebuild, we have re-branded the association. We have designed all-new logos and a new color scheme, making their debut here!
And, at the urging of many of you, we are exploring the possibility of developing a campaign to enhance the value of the death care profession in the eyes of the consumer. We all know what kind of rap death care tends to get... the 0.5% who run afoul of ethics or the law often muddy the waters for the rest of us. Instead of ducking and carrying on with business as usual we need to go public with just what it is we are here to provide families in need... our compassion and care. For the truth is, we are not only professional death care providers, but we are professional caregivers.
WCCFA elects new directors, officers
During its business meeting August 23, the members of the WCCFA elected two new directors to serve three-year terms:
- Nancy Faaberg Hansen (Purdy-Walters at Floral Hills)
- Megan Carlson Field (Evergreen Memorial Gardens, Crematory and Funeral Home)
The Board then elected its officers for the 2013-2014 year:
- David Ittner, President (Fairmount Memorial Association)
- Scott Sheehan, Vice President (Evergreen-Washelli)
- Kirk Duffy, Past President (Hawthorne Memorial Park/Funeral Home)
| A Cemeterian's Best Friend|
Today's advice: Memorize this Cemeterian's Best Friend:
RCW 68.32.050 Affidavit of Authorization. Without a doubt the following brief wording, 74 words in all, found within the RCW, Title and Rights to Cemetery Plots section of cemetery law, is a Cemeterian's Best Friend when it comes to settling pending at-need burial questions: "An affidavit by a person having knowledge of the facts setting forth the fact of the death of the owner and the name of the person or persons entitled to the use of the plot or right of interment pursuant to RCW 68.32.010 through 68.32.040, is complete authorization to the cemetery authority to permit the use of the unoccupied portions of the plot or interment right by the person entitled to the use of it."
It often happens to cemeterians: a close relative of the original owner(s) dies, and friends are making the arrangements. They wish to use an unoccupied grave owned by folks now deceased. No records are found in the office as to whom title has descended. The only brother of the original owner is a missionary in Uganda and can't be reached. The funeral is scheduled for later in the week. What are you to do? RCW 68.32.050 to the rescue! A person having knowledge of the facts will do!
Just who is "a person having knowledge of the facts"? Must it be a relative or an attorney? Or how about a copy of a published obituary? Answer: just "a person having knowledge of the facts ..." that's who! Such a person could be a member of the clergy who knew the family, a long time neighbor or a family friend. Read it again ... "a person"... that's right, "a person." And you as a cemeterian get to determine who that person might be and you get to rely upon their signing of an affidavit. A Cemeterian's Best Friend ... you bet! BE SURE THEY SIGN!
Every cemetery should have a standardized form called an "Affidavit of Authorization." Keep them ready for easy use! You might want to include the 74 words-the Cemeterian's Best Friend- found within the RCW under the title of the affidavit form. Such a form should state the reason one is an authority, i.e. close friend, clergy, neighbor, etc.
What the Cemeterian's Best Friend in the law doesn't say is that the signer may transfer title, purchase second rights of inter-inurn-entombment, change existing memorialization, authorize disinter-inurn-entombment, or establish any restrictions as to future use. The wording is clear: "... to permit the use of the unoccupied portions of the plot or interment right by the person entitled to the use of it." Nothing else is so authorized.
While this writer is not an attorney, good sense tells him (and you) that one should always look first to relatives referenced throughout the title for authorization in making burials. Cutting corners by allowing "a person having knowledge" to so direct while you know that family members are well within reach might be called a little foolish or just plain sloppy cemetery management. BUT, absent relatives, the Affidavit of Authorization is the way to go.
In previous articles I have referenced "good common sense" as being a great guide for cemeterians in general. If you have read the RCW as it relates to your cemetery and picked up on the theme contained within, I believe you are generally safe using good common sense. Don't be bullied by the know-it-all family member ... just use your head.
Editor adds: Don't be bullied by a know-it-all attorney, either. If your common sense gives rise to questions about instructions an attorney may be giving you, ask for the specific citation in the RCW that grants him the authority to so direct.
Next time let's look at RCW 68.32.060 Family plot - sale. There is a lot of interesting stuff in this one.
|DOL Funeral/Cemetery Board to meet September 10 |
The state Funeral and Cemetery Board will hold its quarterly meeting in Olympia Sept. 10 at 9:00 a.m. at 405 Black Lake Blvd. SW, Room 2209 on the 2nd floor.
Access the meeting agenda here.
WCCFA members are strongly encouraged to attend all Funeral & Cemetery Board meetings. They are very informational, and more importantly the WCCFA should be strongly represented at every meeting. Consider your attendance a mini-lobbying opportunity. Much of what is eventually proposed as fee increases or new/enhanced areas of oversight originates at these meetings.
Attendance also counts as CEU credit for funeral directors.
Access minutes of prior board meetings here.
Evergreen Cemetery, Everett hosts annual Civil War reenactment Aug. 17
A Civil War reenactment took place at the Evergreen Cemetery in Everett at the Evergreen Cemetery in Everett on Saturday, August 17.
The annual remembrance was not to forget the 620,000 Civil War veterans who lost their lives in the War Between the States from 1861 to 1863.
The Washington Civil War Association and the Sons of Union Veterans Isaac Stevens Camp #1 acted out a historical battle with heavy musket and cannon fire.
The Evergreen Cemetery Historical Committee have met over the past several years to preserve, promote and perpetuate the vast historical resources that are at the Evergreen Cemetery.
The event drew hundreds of spectators during the afternoon. Many camped out and lined up for a complimentary barbecue lunch.
About 156 Civil War veterans, both Union and Confederate, who survived the war and subsequently moved to the Puget Sound area have been identified as being buried at Evergreen Cemetery.
Each is intended to be remembered with a written profile of the unit or units in which they served, or in the case of a marine or sailor, the vessel or vessels on which they served.
In addition, the veteran's birth to death life story is chronicled. Some of these profiles are on placards located at the grave site. They are also available at www.CivilWarVetsWAstate.com.
To assist in the compilation of the profiles, individuals or groups are encouraged to Adopt-A-Vet with a donation of $25 or more. The funds [are] utilized to obtain available military service, pension, medical and court marshal records from the National Archives. In turn, the final profile, whether in placard form or on the website, features the sponsor's name and community of residence.
For more information contact Bruce Smith with the Washington State Civil War Remembrance Society at Smith.Bruce123@comcast.net.
The article and photos are from the Mill Creek View news publication.
The (news) cycle continues,
but it doesn't tell our story
There will always be another news program promising to "expose" funeral and cemetery service. There will always be anti-funeral "experts" ready to offer their opinions on how we should do our jobs. But those of us who are caretakers of the dead and caregivers of the living know what funeral service really is...
This time it was CNBC's turn. The network produced a program on our profession. Think of that - creativity at its best: another program broadcasted on the box of dots concerning the career and work of funeral directing, embalming and undertaking.
The program was touted as an "expose" into the murky world of undertaking. It seems to me, as I write these words, that this just might be the 20th time during my career that I have written assessments of the media's routine and predictable treatment of the funeral service profession.
Truth is, I was much more interested and absolutely entertained in the good old days when good old Jessica Mitford herself [was] still alive and was at the front and center of anti-funeral media attention, for at least Miss Mitford was not a bore. Miss Mitford was witty, quick and brutal in her assessment of people like you and me. I do miss her irreverence and blistering wit. The new anti-funeral people just give me the yawns.
Several weeks before the show aired, as these things always go, the word was leaked out that our profession would be the focus of yet another media program which finally, once and for all, would tell the true story about what funeral service is all about (the underbelly and all that), tell what really goes on in the back room of a funeral home.
Funeral and cemetery associations, funeral journalists and prophets and pundits in our profession prepared to get into high gear. Another media report was brewing.
Part of the media routine of course involves attractive reporters dripping with honey-soaked sincerity while claiming they are telling folks all this important stuff because they love the public and are doing it for their own good. Obviously, the public-you and I-are too naive and stupid to figure things out on our own, so we need the media to do our thinking. The media's message is so often condescending, arrogant and intrusive, but yet we watch.
On several occasions, I have noted that the first investigative report I saw on television concerning cemetery and funeral topics was hosted by Howard K. Smith on ABC in the early 1960s (before President Kennedy was assassinated).
The focus of that program, which aired about 50 years ago, was on discovering the answer to this frightening question: "What will happen to the United States if we keep burying dead people at the rate we are doing it?" The answer he came up with was that, in time, the whole country would become a cemetery.
Now, I know that his conclusion sounds utterly stupid, and it sounds stupid because it is stupid, but that stupid conclusion ended up on television. And my parents (who are not stupid) out in Iowa took what Howard K. Smith told them very seriously.
We all know that television does not always judiciously weigh the truth, and the program CNBC aired was yet another example of not fairly weighing in on the truth and reality of what funeral service is all about.
Predictably, the standard anti-funeral people were interviewed, as they always are, and the standard funeral directors were interviewed, as they always are. "Experts" were interviewed who offered their opinions, and then a type of point-counter-point took place, as it always does. (Not much creativity is involved in these programs.)
Of course I side with the pro-funeral people every time, though I have to concede that Jessica Mitford made some points which stimulated reformation of practices in our beloved profession that were ancient and in need of overhaul, but that is another story.
Click here for the rest of this article.
OSHA Deadline is Coming...Are You Ready?
Does Dec. 1, 2013, mean anything to you? It should. Failure to act by then could have the Occupational Safety and Health Administration knocking on your door.
A bit of history first. In March 2012, OSHA revised its 1983 Hazard Communication Standard by aligning it with the United Nations' global chemical communication system. To help firms comply with the revised standard, OSHA is phasing in the specific requirements over several years.
The first compliance date of the revised HCS is Dec. 1. By that date, employers must train all who come into contact with just one chemical in the workplace to understand how to interpret hazards communicated through pictograms and standardized material safety data sheets, now called safety data sheets, or SDS.
Government officials say the revision is a way to protect workers from hazardous chemicals, and once implemented, will prevent an estimated 43 deaths and result in an estimated $475.2 million in enhanced productivity for U.S. businesses - including cemeteries - each year.
"Exposure to hazardous chemicals is one of the most serious dangers facing American workers today," said U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis. "Revising OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard will improve the quality, consistency and clarity of hazard information that workers receive, making it safer for workers to do their jobs and easier for employers to stay competitive in the global marketplace."
The revised standard is also expected to prevent an estimated 585 injuries and illnesses annually. "OSHA's 1983 Hazard Communication Standard gave workers the right to know. This update will give them the right to understand, as well," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.
Revised to align with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, the HCS will be fully implemented in 2016. Labor department officials say the revision will benefit workers by reducing confusion about chemical hazards in the workplace, facilitating safety training and improving understanding of hazards, especially for low literacy workers.
OSHA's standard will classify chemicals according to their health and physical hazards, and establish consistent labels and safety data sheets for all chemicals made in the United States and imported from abroad.
"This is the first big change in workplace safety regulations since the early 1980s," said Shannon DeCamp, client services manager with TechneTrain, which provides industry-specific OSHA compliance manuals and training programs nationwide. "If you use even one hazardous chemical in your workplace, this affects your business, and that includes cemetery operations."
DeCamp says it is important for cemetery operators and owners to understand the implications of the changes, and to begin transitioning their "Right-to-Know" program.
Still, DeCamp isn't sure that the word about the Dec. 1 deadline - or the revision to the HCS - is widely known. "A lot of people across all industries haven't heard about it," DeCamp noted. "We haven't been getting a flood of interest or questions, and what that says to me is that the word hasn't gotten out."
Robert Fells, executive director and general counsel of the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association in Sterling, Va., agrees. "There hasn't been a lot of talk about it," he said. "We want everyone to be up to date with what is required; we want everyone to be in compliance ... The key for us is to make sure we get the word out and make sure our members have the information they need to be in compliance. We don't want anyone to be fined."
Under the old HCS, chemical manufacturers and importers were able to convey hazard information on labels and material safety data sheets in whatever format they chose, DeCamp said. The modified standard, in contrast, provides a single set of criteria for classifying chemicals according to 10 health and 16 specific physical hazards, and specifies hazards communication language for both labeling and safety data sheets.
DeCamp outlined the major changes to the HCS:
Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to determine the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import. Hazard classification under the new, updated standard provides specific criteria to address health and physical hazards as well as classification of chemical mixtures.
Chemical manufacturers and importers must provide a label that includes a signal word, pictogram, hazard statement, and precautionary statement for each hazard class and category.
Safety data sheets:
The new format requires 16 specific sections, ensuring consistency in presentation of important protection information.
So what do employers have to do by the Dec. 1 deadline? According to OSHA, label elements and SDS must be completed by the deadline.
Link here for the rest of this article.
Call for Speakers!
The 21st Annual Spring College will be held in March and we're looking for speakers and topics.
The College features three separate "tracks" of concurrent sessions which change hourly, allowing for up to 18 sessions in total. We cover cemetery operations, death-care issues, sales, governmental and legal affairs. We try to have all our presenters from within the association because who knows more about what we do than we do?
Here are some of the requests and suggestions for topics and speakers from the last two years' worth of post-conference surveys. If you see a topic that's near and dear to your heart and would like to be a speaker, or have a speaker to suggest, please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Panel of cemetery presidents and managers discussing their issues
- Marker care
- Office politics/inter-office drama
- V.A. Benefits
- How to work with TV and print news media - dos and don'ts
- More from Elvig
- Sales opportunities - 20 ideas in 20 minutes - door-knocking
- Laws - rules - funeral director apprentices
- Retired death-care employers
- How media, public opinion, societal mores and government all contribute and dictate how one works in the profession
- LGBT issues in family law in regards to next of kin rights of disposition
- Burial at sea
- Green funeral homes
- OSHA, WISHA and funeral home standards
- History of our profession
- Mock legal setting
- Cremation options
- Marketing that works
- Employee growth
- More connection between funeral & cemeteries
- More on governmental affairs & DOL
- Comparison between private and public cemeteries - different hoops
See you in the Spring!
Welcome new member:
My wife Christina and I are honored to be accepted into the WCCFA!
Through our company Artful Ashes, we offer a very unique product to help your grieving clients heal. We use a small amount of their lost loved one's cremated remains and a combination of clear and colored glass to create a beautiful handmade glass art memorial.
It's so difficult when you lose a loved one. You want to hold on to the memories. Artful Ashes' hearts allow you to hold and treasure your memories forever. Most clients tell us that receiving their hearts helped them start the healing process. We sometimes hear "closure".
Christina and I are very proud of Artful Ashes and the deep emotional value they bring to grieving clients. Our partner is the Glasseye Studio in Ballard, in business since 1978. The owners Dale and Ruth Leman are also very proud of what we create together.
Your clients are encouraged to visit our studio to watch their heart's creation in person. Our viewing area will comfortably accommodate up to 40 people. Due to the nature of "immediate disposition" cremations, many if not most cremation families never hold a memorial ceremony, or if they do it is at some distant date. Some families treat these viewings at Glasseye Studio as memorial ceremonies, to take the place of the services they never held. We're happy to work with families to schedule their viewings.
The process takes four people to create one heart. One person's sole responsibility is to track cremated remains and identification marks. The first and last person have production sheets that clearly show client name, product, color, assigned order number and sequential identification mark that the last person stamps into the hot glass memorial for perfect flawless identification.
If you're within approximately 60 miles of our studio, I will pick up your clients' cremated remains and return their hearts in person or through a courier. We are fully insured. When your clients' cremated remains are in my control they are in a tethered safe in my automobile, fire proof safe in my home office or in a fireproof safe at our studio. We understand there can be and ensure there will be no mistakes.
When you submit an order, I will respond with an order number, the identification mark that will be stamped on the glass memorial and a production date so you and your client will know approximately when to expect their treasure. The turn around is worst case 4 weeks. You will find in most cases under 3 weeks will be the norm. Our studio would need to add three additional staff for every increment of 150 glass memorials per day.
With Washington approaching 75% cremation and your clients looking for "Celebration of life options"... Our glass memorials are a perfect choice. Our experience is each family generally orders two to three hearts, and it is very common for other relatives around the country to order additional hearts after seeing them on Facebook, pictures or in person.
What we create is amazing, and how they help your families heal is powerful...
Contact us to explore the possibilities and create a system that's perfect for your organization. You will find our prices extremely reasonable and the quality of our glass pieces second to none.
Greg and Christina Dale
WCCFA board, members
meet during convention
The board of directors of the WCCFA held two meetings during the convention in August (Aug. 21 and Aug. 23). Among items covered at the Aug. 21 meeting:
-Approved minutes of March 12, 2013
-Approved Executive Committee actions that had taken place between the March meeting and the Aug. 21 meeting including:
- March 21: $10 K CD rollover: First Savings Bank , leaving minimal interest-to-date in the CD
- April 17: Fortune Bank, Supplier Member (Steve Brinton)
- April 17: Enumclaw Evergreen Cemetery: Voting Member (Russ Weeks)
- July 3: Approval of award of student scholarship to Brenda Perez, PIMA
- July 30: Pines Cemetery and South Pines Cemetery, Voting Members (Fairmount Memorial Assn.)
- August 20: Artful Ashes, Supplier Member (Greg Dale)
-Heard a report from the Legislative and Governmental Affairs committee regarding legislative activities YTD (attached here)
-Reviewed current P & L and balance sheets (here and here)
-Discussed association re-branding, new web site progress and possible advertising campaigns
-Discussed ways to increase number of members and member involvement
The members of the WCCFA held their annual business meeting Aug. 23 prior to the second board meeting. Among items covered:
-President Kirk Duffy thanked outgoing directors Scott Sheehan and Pat Hollick, who had both completed their three-year terms.
-Elections were held for the two open three-year positions. Nancy Faaberg Hansen and Megan Carlson Field were elected to the board.
-The association's financial status was reported
-The WSFDA was responsible for this year's convention, and WCCFA will handle the 2014 convention
At the Aug. 23 board meeting, following the business meeting:
-Officers were elected by the board including:
- David Ittner, President
- Scott Sheehan, Vice President
- Kirk Duffy, Past President
-President Ittner appointed George Nemeth to continue serving as Secretary/Treasurer
-President Ittner appointed committees for 2013-2014 including:
- Executive Committee: Kirk Duffy, David Ittner, Scott Sheehan
- Governmental and Legal Affairs Committee: J.C. Barr (chair), Scott Sheehan, Kirk Duffy, Dennis Boser, Nancy Faaberg Hansen, Paul Elvig. Possible items for review or action: Pet cemeteries legal feasibility study, cemetery water run-off fees.
- Membership Committee: Nancy Faaberg Hansen, Pat Hollick, Denny York. Goal: generate new members for WCCFA.
- Advertising/Branding Committee: Dave Ittner, Kirk Duffy, Pat Hollick, Denny York, Nancy Faaberg Hansen, Dennis Boser, Judy Faaberg. Charged with reviewing branding, advertising proposals and making recommendations to board/membership.
-heard ad campaign proposals from Mike Pursel/Mike Pursel Advertising (Spokane) and Dan Katz/LA Ads (Los Angeles). The proposals differ significantly in approach and the board and committee will require more time for further review and discussion.
Acacia's Jessie Hansen:
SCI's "Living the Brand"
2012 Major Division Winner
Jessie Hansen, funeral director at Acacia Memorial Park and Funeral Home in Seattle, was the Major Division Winner in SCI's 2012 Living the Brand competition*.
The Perfect Score
It was a scorching hot afternoon at Acacia Memorial Park & Funeral Home in Seattle, Wash., when funeral director and embalmer Jessie Hansen was preparing for the service of a gentleman who loved restoring old vehicles. Jessie personalized his service by incorporating one of his vintage trucks into the service. The 1950s Ford truck led the procession to the cemetery for his final ride.
After the graveside service, the casket was lowered into the vault and then the unthinkable occurred-the lowering device malfunctioned-and the casket dropped. Jessie calmed the family members, offered her sincerest apologies and promised to resolve the issue. She quickly established a game plan and proposed a second service, which included ordering a new casket and bringing back the officiant and honor guard. After the second service one week later, Jessie and the entire Acacia team received an unprecedented 1000 J.D. Power score from the family. General Manager Vince Larkin shares, "I truly believe it was because of Jessie's attentiveness, prompt response and compassion that the family gave us such an exceptional score!"
The Ultimate Personalizer
Known as "The Ultimate Personalizer," Jessie listens to families' stories and creates a special and meaningful experience from everyone she serves. She incorporated one person's love of bowling into her service by setting up a bowling alley in the chapel including 10 bowling pins. The service began with the sound of a bowling ball rolling down the lane and getting a strike. The deceased's bowling paraphernalia accompanied her urn, including bowling balls set atop ornate platforms, her bowling shoes and her favorite bowling bag.
Jessie joined the Acacia team in 2011, and "she is always willing and eager to take on new projects. Her innovative ideas help us run our operation more productively," adds Vince. "Her natural talent for organizing has transformed our office for better efficiency from a well-developed labeling system to a structured product and supply system."
Congratulations to Jessie Hansen for her well-deserved award!
* Annually, Service Corp. International rewards and recognizes three outstanding individuals from within the entire company in its Living the Brand Program. One of the three wins the Overall Winner designation in addition to his or her Division title. Associates from any part of the company, whether on the front lines or behind the scenes, who embody SCI's Dignity Memorial® brand in all that they do. Now in its fifth year, the program was awarded a new group of All-stars who:
- Outshine the competition with service excellence
- Build enduring relationships
- Guide with integrity and respect
- Tackle obstacles that come their way
- Exceed the expectations of those they serve.
It's a three-step process:
Round 1: Preliminary. Location management nominates their top-notch associates. For the 2012 competition, 224 associates nationwide were nominated.
Round 2: Semi-Finals. Market leadership narrowed the pack to 67 heavy hitters.
Round 3: The Championship. Three division winners and one overall winner were named Dignity MVPs by senior management.
|AARP: Fewer people will take care of baby boomers|
2030 Problem: Report predicts there will be four potential caregivers-down from seven in 2010-for each person at least 80 years old.
WASHINGTON-Americans should expect an enormous shortage in caregivers for older people in the coming decades, with a dearth of friends and family members available to care for the baby-boom generation as it ages, according to a report being released Monday [Aug. 26] by AARP.
"The Aging of the Baby Boom and the Growing Care Gap" projects that by 2030 there will be only four potential caregivers available for each person 80 or older, down from a high of more than seven in 2010.
By 2050, when boomers are between 86 and 104, the ratio will drop below 3-to-1.
Currently, about 14 percent of potential caregivers-defined as people 45 to 64-provide care for someone 80 or older, 9 percent care for someone 60 to 79, and 7 percent care for someone 18 to 59, said Ari Houser, one of the authors.
The "2030 problem," as researchers have defined it, stems from a combination of factors, including the large number of baby boomers, the fact that boomers had relatively fewer children than earlier generations and increased longevity for both men and women.
In 2010, the United States had 78 million baby boomers, or people born between 1946 and 1964. About 65 million will still be alive by 2030 and about 20 million by 2050, according to projections AARP used from REMI, a company that does economic modeling.
There are 42.1 million adults in the United States caring for friends or family members. Nearly two-thirds of those caregivers are women, and more than 80 percent of the people they care for are older than 50, according to the report, which defined the "average" family caregiver as a 49-year-old woman who works outside the home and spends about 20 hours a week caring for her mother without pay.
But two decades from now, there will be far fewer of these caregivers available and more need for them.
"It's a wake-up call for aging boomers," said Lynn Feinberg, a senior strategy-policy adviser at the AARP Public Policy Institute and an author of the report. "We're really moving toward an uncertain future, as...relying on our family and friends to provide long-term care isn't going to be realistic anymore."
Baby boomers caring for friends and family have been "the cement" of long-term care in recent years, Feinberg said, adding that their unpaid care was estimated to have been worth the equivalent of $450 billion in 2009, more than the cost of Medicaid and approaching the cost of Medicare.
But as later cohorts reach caregiver age, they will not be able to provide the same level of care, the report predicts.
To make up for this, the country needs policies that would provide for better support for caregivers and more affordable options for home care, Feinberg said. A federal commission on long-term care is expected to unveil recommendations this fall. Women in particular will be affected, as they typically live longer, but men are catching up, the report said.
In other countries with high proportions of older people, more has been done to prepare for their long-term care, said Robyn Stone, senior vice president for research at Leading Age, a national association of aging services providers.
"Our country is sort of a muddling-through country, and we tend to respond more to crisis situations than long-term planning," she said. "We're right now in the kind of halcyon days of caregiving because we have a lot of caregivers...How do you get policymakers to respond to something that's not till 15 to 20 years from now?"
Article by Tara Bahrampour for the Washington Post, sourced from the Seattle Times for 8/26/2013 with permission.
News Cycle continued...
|I always side with the pro-funeral people because I love funeral service; I will stand by funeral service; I will stand up for funeral service and try to protect the ethic of reverence for the dead and compassion for the living. What exists in our profession are some very kind, dedicated and mission-minded people who thrive by simply helping people. What a grand idea-just helping people.
Of course, the program had to give time to the folks I call the anti-funeral people. This group annoys me. They are interesting, but I have to confess that I'm afraid of them. One day, I shared this feeling with a famous anti-funeral representative, who said, "I really scare you?" "Yes, you sure do," I replied. "So, I really scare you? Wow!" I got the distinct impression that for that person, hearing that was a power trip.
I tend to conclude that people who constantly attack, see nothing good about much of anything, and just rant on and on are people I want nothing to do with. I know some want to take a diplomatic approach and extend an olive branch, invite the anti-funeral people to our meetings, but I believe that's led to us being burned time and again.
I once mustered the guts to ask one of the anti-funeral people why someone with such obviously intense interest in all things funeral didn't bite the bullet and go to mortuary school, get licensed and play hardball like the rest of us instead of hiding behind a computer screen all day living in a funeral fantasy world. This person looked at me like I had lobsters crawling out of my ears.
To me, the message was simple. The anti-funeral people get their kicks from kicking people like you and me. I also notice that when things are going smoothly, when there are no national tragedies in the news, they like to go off on diatribes against our profession. But when something like the shootings at Sandy Hook happens, they are quiet, and for good reason. How can you criticize funeral directors when the whole world is watching the funerals of all those children and teachers? I heard from scores of funeral professionals who went to Connecticut to help. This has always been a hallmark of our grand profession, helping people. I didn't hear about any anti-funeral people showing up to help.
The CNBC show is history now. Maybe it is still on YouTube and certainly it might be on the minds of some people, but not many. That box of dots truly offers a fleeting experience.
No doubt we will have to wait another year or two for the next eagerly awaited show about funeral service after a really sincere reporter gets the brainstorm of doing a program that finally exposes the underbelly of our careers, our lives and our ministries, like no one else has ever done before.
This is the way of things in the world of funeral service; we are easy targets and always have been because we deal with death. We can be easily laughed at, easily misunderstood.
Until, of course, someone dies.
The reality of funeral service
The morning following that CNBC program, I drove into work at the funeral home I manage in Memphis. During the night, seven people had died. We already had 10 funeral services under preparation, so this morning we had 17 bodies and 17 bereaved families who required immediate professional attention. And when I drove into the mortuary parking lot, there was not one anti-funeral person in sight to offer me insight, assistance and suggestions as they had so boldly done just 12 hours earlier on that television show.
On average, 10 family members come to the funeral home to help in the decision-making involved with each deceased person. That equates to about 170 people who required our immediate attention. In each case, we had a window of three days in which to accomplish the important professional tasks involved.
So within 24 hours of the CNBC program airing, our funeral home was abuzz with professional activities in our sacred ministry to care for bereaved families. This particular funeral Memphis funeral home has been doing this since 1885, when Grover Cleveland was president. Since 1885, this funeral home has not once closed its doors.
During the next three to four days, we scheduled a dozen-plus funerals. These funeral rituals and ceremonies were sometimes simple, sometimes not-so-simple, but not one person involved made any reference to the presumed ground-breaking report on funeral service that had just aired on CNBC -not one.
These good folks entered into the funeral experience, trusted their funeral professionals, purchased memorial items (the kinds of things that seem to drive anti-funeral people to distraction) and took their loved ones to the grave or the retort.
The next day, five more people died and were entrusted to us, and we answered the call and served. The day after that, we were called by three more families, and the day after that, by eight families. We were called, we answered and we served.
This is funeral service.
Know what? During all these funerals, I did not even think about calling one of the anti-funeral experts to ask their expert opinions on how I could do my job better. I doubt very much if any of them would have had any valuable advice. I also believe it is safe to say that not one of the hundreds upon hundreds of people who entered our funeral homes doors to voluntarily participate in this therapeutic (and therapeutic the funeral certainly is) ritual called any of the anti-funeral people to ask for advice or to seek protection from anyone on our staff.
In fact, later we received cards and letters of thanks, a bunch of them, from those bereaved families. They expressed sentiments such as, "If it were not for you folks and the guidance and support you gave us, we don't know how we would have gotten through this."
That, my colleagues, friends and associates, is funeral service.
The death rate has always been 100 percent, and the legacy of service goes back much longer than the 150 years cited in that television report. The ancient Roman undertakers were called the libitianrius . In the early days of Christianity, the fossores took funeral care of the catacombs. All over the globe, people have sought and received the devoted service of people like us whose mission in life is to live the ethic of caretaker to the dead and caregiver to the living.
Friends in funeral service, there is so much good and right about what we do, and I declare it an example of a worthy ideal. Few professions carry such a mantle of quiet and deep responsibility.
Sourced from the March-April 2013 ICCFA Magazine with permission.
|Knock Knock continued... |
Training on label elements must include the type of information an employee would expect to see on the new labels, including:
How the hazardous chemical is identified. This can be (but is not limited to) the chemical name, code number or batch number.
Used to indicate the relative level of severity of hazard and alert the reader to the potential hazard on the label. There are only two signal words - Danger and Warning. "Danger" is used for the more severe hazards and "Warning" is used for the less severe hazards.
OSHA's required pictograms must be in the shape of a square set at a point and include a black hazard symbol on a white background with a red frame. Eight pictograms have been designated.
Describes the nature of the hazard(s) of a chemical, including, where appropriate, the degree of hazard. For example: "Causes damage to kidneys through prolonged or repeated exposure when absorbed through the skin." All applicable hazard statements must appear on the label.
A phrase that describes recommended measures that should be taken to minimize or prevent adverse effects from exposure to a hazardous chemical.
- Name, address and telephone number of the chemical manufacturer, distributor or importer.
In addition, training must also be provided on how an employee might use the labels in the workplace. Employers need to:
- Explain how the information on the label can be used to ensure proper storage of hazardous chemicals.
- Explain how the information might be used to quickly locate information on first aid when needed by employees or emergency personnel.
- Explain that where a chemical has multiple hazards, different pictograms are used to identify the various hazards.
- Explain that when there are similar precautionary statements, the one providing the most proactive information will be included on the label.
Employers must also provide training on the format of the revised SDS. According to OSHA, the training must include information on:
- The standardized 16-section format, including the type of information found in the various sections. As an example, employees should be instructed that with the new format, Section 8 (Exposure Controls/Personal Protection) will always contain information about exposure limits and ways to protect yourself, including personal protective equipment.
- How information on labels is related to SDS.
Although the HSC does not require pictograms on all labels until Dec. 1, 2015, manufacturers are beginning to produce products with the labels. "Since the new labels and SDS could start arriving shortly, employers must train employees by the deadline," DeCamp pointed out.
Although training has not started yet, Anthony Desmond, vice president of field operations at Canarsie Cemetery in Brooklyn, M.Y., says it is on the cemetery's to-do list. "It's a small thing, but something we have to do," Desmond said.
Like the majority of cemeteries across the country, staff at Canarsie handle everything from degreaser, oil and antifreeze to weed killer and fertilizer. "It's a good thing there are going to be changes so there is one standard," Desmond said. "I think it will be easier for everyone; everyone will be on the same page."
And the use of the pictograms can only make things easier. "It's like letting the pictures tell the story," he pointed out. "All the important information is right there in an easy-to-read and easy-to-understand format."
And while there has been no official word from OSHA about how the training should be documented, Desmond said Canarsie will follow standard operating procedure: recording the date, time and names of staff. "We definitely want to have that record on file," Desmond said. "We will do everything to be compliant."
It's a smart move, DeCamp noted.
"Typically when a new standard comes out there is a focus... 'This is what you have to do' and 'Are you doing it,'" said DeCamp, who works with ICCFA on OSHA issues. "And since this is the first big change in the communication standard since the 1980s, I wouldn't be surprised if there is increased attention."
And cemetery owners and operators could save themselves a lot of unwanted attention by conducting training and then have a log where staff can sign and date that they received the training. "Then you just file it away," DeCamp said. "If someone comes around asking, you have the proof."
Because the revision is complicated, TechneTrain has created a program to help employers conduct the training effectively and efficiently. "There's a ton of legalese in there," DeCamp said, "and we just want to make sure employers have the tools to cover OSHA's expectations for training, documentation and compliance."
Bottom line, DeCamp said, is that time is running out for cemetery owners and operators to train employees. "It's not something you want to put off...it's time well spent now to avoid a possible fine later."
article by Pattie Martin Bartsche sourced from the July 2013 American Cemetery magazine
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The White Eagle Memorial Preserve, a Green Burial Ground in South Central Washington near Goldendale, is seeking a cemetery manager who will oversee the legacy, the spirit, the business and the success of White Eagle Memorial Preserve. This role is vital to the future of the not-for-profit organization Sacred Earth Foundation, of which it is a part.
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We are in need of a caring, experienced individual with strong communication skills and works well in a team setting. This person will interact directly with families during their time of need and will be responsible for creating and maintaining a premier level of family satisfaction.
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