Whether you’re a fan of the HBO series Six Feet Under or you’re just a curious person, you might have wondered whether people really live in funeral homes, and, if so, why?
The answer, in many cases, is yes! While some modern-day funeral homes are commercial buildings only, many still double as homes for the owner and their family.
There are several reasons for this arrangement. Keep reading to learn more.
One of the primary reasons for this living arrangement is that death doesn’t wait for regular business hours. People die around the clock, which means that funeral directors are always on call. When a loved one dies, the family often wants to body removed right away. They’re often in a state of panic or extreme grief, and need to be able to make one call and have someone get to them as fast as possible.
In the era of cell phones and instant communication, this isn’t as big of an issue as it once was, but in the past, it was necessary to have someone available to answer the landline around the clock.
Even now, if a funeral director or staff member is on-site they can get to the deceased much faster than if they needed to get up and dressed, drive to the funeral home, pick up the removal vehicle, and then head over to the deceased’s location. The extra 30 minutes or an hour that already being at the funeral home when the call comes in might save can mean the world to the deceased person’s family.
Up until the 1970s when the modern-day paramedic services came to be, many funeral homes also provided ambulance services. This was one more reason why someone needed to be on-site around the clock. Whenever assistance was needed, no matter what time of day or night, they had to be ready to jump in their vehicle and head out.
Someone also had to be available to answer the phone all of the time. In fact, it was very common to find telephones mounted on the wall in the bathroom next to the toilet!
Believe it or not, some drug users actually use embalming fluid to get high. Having the funeral home owner or an employee live on-site reduces the chances that someone will break into the funeral home to steal chemicals.
There’s also the chance that vandals could break in and do damage to the funeral home’s interior. Since there’s typically a lot of expensive equipment, caskets, floral arrangements, and other important items in a funeral home, this extra security is important.
Many families also feel more comfortable knowing that their loved one’s body isn’t “alone” in an empty building while they’re waiting for the funeral and burial. The idea of holding a funeral in a grand “home,” rather than a sterile commercial building, is far more appealing for many families. This is likely a holdover from past times when funerals were actually held in the deceased’s home.
When a loved one’s body is brought into a funeral home where a family actually lives, there’s a much more personal touch that many people find comforting.
When you’re on call around the clock, it’s simply more convenient to live on-site. Since funeral homes are typically very large, particularly the old Victorian-style funeral homes that are popular in many areas of the United States, there’s usually plenty of space for an entire family to live in the upstairs area.
In almost all cases, the embalming and body prep will take place in the basement, the funeral services are held on the first floor, and the family lives on the second story. Some modern funeral homes don’t have living quarters inside but still have a small apartment attached where the owner or staff live. This helps to ensure that there’s always someone responsible on-site.
Some modern funeral homes choose to offer an on-site apartment to be used by the on-call staff rather than have someone live there full time. Either way, however, the reasons for this arrangement remain the same.
Many funeral homes are small, family-run operations. In some cases, it just makes more sense financially to make the best use of the space and use it for living quarters as well. Often, once the funeral home is established and the family has started to earn a larger income, they’ll decide to move off-site.
At that point, the space becomes available for another staff member to move in. This way, the funeral home still enjoys the same benefits and it can be an extra perk for a loyal employee.
Many employees enjoy the convenience of not having to commute to work and the cost-savings of living rent-free. This ends up being a win-win for everyone involved and may help funeral home owners recruit and retain top-notch staff members who are more likely to remain incredibly loyal.
Green Cremation is Here to Help with Your Cremation Needs
Losing a loved one is always difficult but finding a compassionate and affordable funeral home can help make things a little bit easier. At Green Cremation, we’re here to guide you through every step of planning environmentally sustainable funeral services.
Does Melissa Live in The Funeral Home?
Uhm, no. In case you haven’t noticed, we are not a “traditional” funeral home. We do things much more eco-friendly and efficient.
We also offer 100% online service so you don’t have to go through the extra stress of visiting a funeral home in-person. Contact us today to learn more.