New York, New York (PressExposure) September 25, 2008 -- Among successful baby boomers, now in their sixties and retiring, decisions about funerals are as commonplace as writing wills and setting up trusts and foundations.
Their decisions take into account contemporary influences as well as Biblical ones.
According to Herbert Klapper, president of Cedar Park and Beth El Cemeteries in Paramus, New Jersey, "Many successful baby boomers in their sixties are making plans for their cemetery property based upon values that they developed in the 1960s and 1970s. They are a generation that supports a positive use of the Earth. They understand that raw land is getting scarce and will continue to become even more scarce as the world's population increases and more land is necessary for producing food to feed billions of people. They like the idea of leaving the Earth in its natural state, as much as possible. To that end, they are choosing to be entombed in either family crypts or mausoleums, where numerous family members can be placed in close proximity. Rather than have six graves in the ground, one can place six people in closely positioned crypts, which take up much less space than graves. In addition, many people have an aversion to throwing dirt onto loved ones, for it strikes them as disrespectful."
Judy Welshons, the Executive Director of the New Jersey Cemetery Association, said: "In addition to crypts and mausoleums providing an efficient use of the land, there are also reasons of aesthetics and comfort for why people choose above ground entombments: such edifices that house the remains of one's family are architecturally pleasing and are climate controlled: one can visit in winter and not have to deal with snow, ice, and cold temperatures. Family crypts have all of one's closest relatives in a small space."
Indeed, trudging through a snow covered or wet muddy graveyard in inclement weather is no pleasure. One wants to visit loved ones in an environment that affords an opportunity for reflection and reverence.
And what of the Biblical element?
Matt Sweatlock, an authority on cemeteries who is often called upon to testify about the industry to committees of legislators, said: "Many people do not realize that in Biblical times, people were not buried in the ground; rather, they were buried in caves or crypts. There was an aversion to throwing dirt on the body of a beloved family member. It is as if a Biblical tradition has been modernized for baby boomers. Above ground entombments for baby boomers has increased by 20% a year for the last two years."
Cedar Park and Beth El Cemeteries, located in Paramus, New Jersey, is the choice destination of many successful baby boomers. It is considered an architectural wonder and is the final resting place for leaders in industry, entertainment, sports, and finance.