HASTINGS, N.Y. -- Funeral homes are bracing for an increase in the amount of "death calls" that they receive due to the baby-boomer generation, eyeballing the three-year period between 2013 and 2015, said Terri Flynn, executive director of the Westchester County Funeral Homes Association.
The county's funeral homes vary in size and traffic, with smaller homes averaging between five to ten funerals each month and larger homes pulling in close to 30.
"We've kind of been able to stagger the funerals to where our staff can handle it," said Frank Sinatra Jr., President of the Sinatra Family of Funeral Homes in Westchester.
Sinatra's business deals with about 30-40 funerals a year, spread out across its five funeral homes. There hasn't been a drastic increase in deaths yet, rather a steady rise in the last few years, according to Sinatra.
"We're able to handle it with the staff we have now, but anything more than that we'd probably have to hire more people," he said.
As culture changes over the years, so do the funerals that people give their loved ones. Wake times have shrunk as well, allowing funeral directors to handle the work load better.
"When I started out, wakes were two to three days sometimes and the third or fourth day was the actual burial," Sinatra said. "Now it's down to one [day] -- 90 percent of people have [a wake for] one day the day before and some people have a service or a wake the day of the burial or cremation."
Over the years as technology has become increasingly more advanced, funeral homes have started to offer different services for its customers. Sinatra offers video tributes using old photos and even live webcam footage of the service. The biggest difference seems to be the way people advertise the services though.
"The technology has helped, more and more people are not putting notices in their newspapers," Sinatra said. "They're putting their loved ones obituary on our website, so people from all over the world can actually see and read about that person that died even though they may not be able to make it to the funeral."
If someone close passes away, Flynn shared a key piece of advice for a smooth arrangement. After leaving a message for the funeral director, wait for their response, which usually takes ten minutes. Calling family and friends is moot, Flynn said, since service times have not been set.
Besides Hastings, the Sinatra Family of Funeral Homes also has locations in Yonkers, Mt. Kisco, and Troy.
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