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- Posted by Josh Slocum, Executive Director, Funeral Consumers Alliance
I was delighted to see the latest issue of your magazine, The Director, staring at me with its inviting cover. "The Growth of Green" leaped out. NFDA is getting behind green funeral options? Great! FCA hears from so many consumers who want an ecologically friendly send-off, and the more mainstream funeral businesses that get on board, the easier it will be for us to help them.
As usual, Chris Raymond's editorial was spot-on:
Whether you're aware of it or not, presently strive to offer green options or just hope the whole thing will go away, I urge you not to dismiss growing consumer consciousness of the burden of their "ecological footprint" will have on future generations as a mere fad . . . .jump on the green bandwagon by making sure your firm offers a variety of green products/services at a range of prices and advertise this fact to your community.
Click "read more" for our dissection of the unfounded nonsense NFDA has published about green burial. . .
FCA is on the air! Listen to this hour-long interview with FCA Executive Director Joshua Slocum on Utah's KRCL Radio. Slocum joins casket-maker and consumer activist Dave Robles from Bannock Pride, and FCA of Utah President Joyce Mitchell to discuss consumer rights, funeral industry scams, and the pernicious influence of the funeral industry lobby.
TO LISTEN: Just click the button on the player, and it will stream to your speakers.
TO DOWNLOAD TO YOUR MP3 PLAYER OR COMPUTER: Right-click this link and choose "save as."
Journalist and longtime hospice volunteer Judy Bachrach has another column for us in her signature, no-nonsense style. Got a question about dealing with dying, or what to do and not to do with the terminally ill? Visit her site The Checkout Line and click "Ask Judy."
FIVE HOSPICE MYTHS
Every time I tell people I volunteer at a hospice, the reaction is the same. Isn't it awfully depressing for you?
The answer is no - I'm not, after all, the person who's actually dying. If I were the person dying then, yes, probably I would be pretty unhappy about the situation, although not necessarily depressed. Hospice care can treat depression extremely effectively - in fact, since no one seems capable just yet of curing death, that's a lot of what hospices do: alleviating the many unpleasant side-effects of dying.
The Top 10 Things NOT to Say to the Terminally Ill
Dear Judy (one of my readers writes - a woman, I'm afraid), my husband's mother has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, not in its last stages but bad enough. Her short-term memory is totally shot. My husband doesn't want to reveal the diagnosis to his mother; he says it's cruel. I'm tempted to tell her what she's got right now, behind his back. After all, she needs to start making plans. Besides in my experience, secrets are toxic.
Of all the remarks I regularly read regarding how to deal with the terminally ill, it's the secrets-are-toxic slogan that drives me totally nuts.. . .
UPDATE - No sooner had we posted the story below about Louisiana trying to stop a Catholic church from selling caskets to the public, but we discovered the State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors is up to even more shenanigans. The minutes of their March 5 and 6, 2008 meeting, contain these gems:
Discussion re: the FTC and their regulations concerning when to present a GPL to a possible consumer ensued. It was suggested by Mr. Pellerin that our State consider, and actually apply for Federal Exemption if our State laws as they relate to the FTC are equal or greater than the FTC regulations. “FROP” is a term meaning Funeral Regulation Offense Program and is used by the FTC when making visits to funeral homes where a violation of the Rule is found.
So the state thinks its consumer protections are so good that it should be exempted from the FTC Funeral Rule? Funeral Consumers Alliance will certainly oppose such efforts.
It was also suggested that the State Associations be contacted and informed that the FTC will be visiting Louisiana funeral homes as mock consumers, in the very near future. Mr. Rasch was requested to write a letter to the FTC inquiring what the time frame is to provide consumers with a copy of the GPL.
In case that wasn't clear - at least one member of the state board (which is legally required to protect consumers) thinks the government should warn the funeral directors' trade associations that the Federal Trade Commission is going to conduct secret shopper visits to make sure funeral homes are complying with the law. (Read the whole story by clicking "read more" below). . .