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How To Help Families Grieve In A Digital Age

It goes without saying but today’s world is vastly different than it was 20, 15, even 10 years ago. One thing that hasn’t changed though, is that the loss of a loved one is difficult and leaves us dealing with grief. In today’s digital age, the ways in which we can grieve is much different than it was before. Where offering condolences was once done face to face, and grief resources were accessed offline; technology has changed everything.

Helping families cope with death is one of the most important aspects of a funeral director’s job. The services below are resources you can use to help families grieve during a difficult time.

SafeBeyond

SafeBeyond is a digital time capsule service that allows a person to prerecord messages that will be sent out to their loved ones after they pass away. In a similar style to the movie “P.S. I Love You”, SafeBeyond allows you to communicate posthumously years after you’re gone.

The three main types of messages you can send are date based, location based, and event based.

Date based messages are ones that are sent on specific dates you decide. This could include a special date like a birthday, anniversary, or holiday. That first Christmas or anniversary  after the loss of a loved one can be hard. Date based messages allow the deceased to send a message to their family and still be a part of the day.

Location based messages are ones that are geo-tagged to be received at a specific location. Perhaps a mother and daughter always talked about taking a trip to Italy together. If the daughter decides to take that trip after her mother passes, she will receive a message when she arrives there based on the geo-tag.

Event based messages are ones that are set to be viewed on or after an event like a wedding. In the video below, a father is able to pre-record messages to his daughter, wife, and son that are shared with them before his daughter’s wedding.

Eternime

Artificial Intelligence Avatar
C/O Eterni.Me

Eternime is a start-up company currently accepting beta testers. The premise for the platform is that people will be able to curate information about their life including thoughts, stories, and memories. It also crawls through the person’s social media accounts to gather data about the user.

The company then creates a virtual avatar from photos of the deceased that uses artificial intelligence to communicate. Family members can then interact with the virtual user and feel like they are talking directly to the deceased. The idea behind Eterni Me is that by being able to continue communicating with loved ones, the grieving process and accepting their loss can become easier because they live on virtually.

So far the company is still in the start-up stage but has had over 36,000 people sign up and create virtual profiles. Eternime’s website says they want to “preserve memories, ideas, creations, and stories for billions of people”. The company boasts that their platform is “a library with people instead of books or an interactive history of the current and future generations”.

Facebook Memorial Account

Facebook Memorial Account
C/O Facebook.com

Facebook allows people to transform their profile into a memorial page after they pass away. Memorialized accounts feature the word “Remembering” in front of the person’s name. Friends and family can continue to post to the page often sharing stories about the deceased and offering condolences.

After someone passes away, Facebook offers different options for the family to decide what to do with the account.

A first option is creating a legacy contact. To do this, the user has to go into their security settings and select who they would like to have access and manage their memorialized account when they are gone. The legacy contact is responsible for responding to new friend requests and updating the profile and cover photo of the memorialized page.

If the person passed away without setting up a legacy contact, families can still request to memorialize their loved one’s account by completing this form. The family simply needs to provide the name of the user, approximate date of death, and proof of death (optional).

Memorializing a Facebook account is a great way to help families grieve. It serves as a place they can go to and reflect over stories and photos of their loved one. People use Facebook every day so having a memorialized page is an easy way to periodically visit it and still feel connected to a loved one.

 

What digital resources are you using to help families grieve? Let us know in the comment section below.

 

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