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Choosing Cremation
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The Cremation Association of North America supports its members in providing the best service to those seeking cremation. There are numerous reasons why people choose cremation, and the decision is a very personal one. Whether you are a family member choosing cremation as a loving and respectful way to memorialize your loved one, or you are planning your own arrangements to alleviate the burden on your family, research has shown the following nine factors as considerations in the cremation decision:
  • People are dying older and choosing cremation for themselves.
  • Migration to retirement locations is increasing.
  • Cremation has become acceptable.
  • Environmental considerations are becoming more important.
  • Level of education is rising.
  • Ties to tradition are becoming weaker.
  • Regional differences are diminishing.
  • Religious restrictions are diminishing.
  • Greater flexibility in memorialization services.

CANA does not believe that cremation is final disposition. It is preparation for memorialization. Cremation offers a way to memorialize a loved one in a context that is meaningful to the loved one and to the survivors.

What is cremation?

People generally understand what the term cremation means. When we are asked for a detailed definition, however, we tend to hesitate while searching for appropriate words. A suggested definition of cremation is "The mechanical and/or thermal or other dissolution process that reduces human remains to bone fragments." Cremation often includes the processing and pulverization of the bone fragments.

This definition covers a variety of technologies that may be applied in order to achieve reduction to bone fragments, including traditional flame-based cremation, calcination and alkaline hydrolysis.