What is Death Care?

Understanding the death care industry can be confusing, but it’s something everyone will need to navigate at some stage.
What is Death Care?

When a loved one passes away, it’s natural that you’ll need to navigate many different services and providers – ugh, admin. This can be confusing to navigate and chances are, you’ll receive a range of different opinions, options and ideas to consider. We’re here to help you navigate this, so that a hard time doesn’t need to be made any more difficult.

Death care – What does it mean?

Death care’ refers to the array of providers of funeral, cremation and burial goods and services that you’ll need to deal with after a loved one passes away. This can include funeral homes, burial directors and memorial dealers.

While these service providers won’t make all the decisions for you, they’ll provide you with the options that exist, as well as the knowledge you’ll need to make the decision yourself.

The technical side of death

When a loved one passes away, there are a number of steps that need to be taken to ensure the body is laid to rest ethically, hygienically, and humanely. This is known as the technical side of death and falls under the ‘death care’ category.

There are several different ways someone can be laid to rest. In some cases, the person may have put plans in place before they passed away (for example, they might have prepaid their funeral). Sometimes, however, this choice will need to be made by you.

If you’re unsure where to start, there are a range of providers in the death care industry who can assist you in making this decision – so do a little research and reach out to them if you require some extra guidance.


Burial is one of the more traditional forms of death care and is a well-known process. Typically it comes with a number of expenses though, including the extensive services of a funeral home, a casket and chemical preparation.

There are a number of different financial options associated with burial,  but due to the requirement to purchase a plot of land, as well as the typical fanfare of a traditional service, burial does tend to be the most expensive option for post-life services.


We’ve written a few guides on cremations and burials – learn more about them and how they differ here.

But if you’re a little short on time and don’t feel like heading over to a new link (we feel you), we’ll give you a few pieces of cremation-related info right here.

Cremation is the process of transforming a human body into ashes, through either heat-based processes or liquid-based processes. All cremation styles have varying financial commitments, but it means that the deceased’s loved ones are able to keep their ashes for memorial purposes.

After the cremation has taken place, families may choose to hold a traditional memorial service (like a funeral, without the burial), or they may choose to do something more personal to the person who has died. This could involve gathering together to scatter the ashes, or creating portable items that hold the ashes, such as a piece of jewellery or urns that can be worn or displayed in the home.

Donating to science

Some people may choose to donate their body to science after they pass away. This is a decision that must be made by the person while they’re still alive, as it requires their consent.

Donating your body to science is an incredibly selfless decision and can result in lifechanging findings. However, it’s definitely not for everyone.

The good news is that donating your body to science is free, unlike a burial or cremation. But the bad news (for some people) is that the family and friends of the deceased will be unable to hold a traditional memorial service with the deceased remains present.

The commemorative side. 

Once you have dealt with the technical aspects of post-life care, it will be time to move on to the commemorative side. This refers to the way we honour our loved ones and the way we choose to remember them.

This part of the death care industry does not just include the time immediately after the person passes away, but also the ongoing way they’re remembered. After the technical aspects have been dealt with, you’ll be able to decide on the memorial service you’d like to hold – and this is entirely up to you and their other loved ones!

And if you’re on the hunt for some unique ways to honour and remember a loved one, we’ve written a quick guide for you here.

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