It’s no secret that 67 percent of American adults are overweight, and of those, 34 percent are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And some people are just really large or tall. These bigger bodies need bigger caskets for burial, and that has implications for Boomers with bad backs who may be pallbearers.
Standard caskets are between 24 and 27 inches wide, and 80 to 88 inches long. Anything larger is considered an oversize casket, and most major casket manufacturers carry a line specifically for those massive folks who won’t fit into standard sizes. The Goliath Casket Company, “Standing in the Gap for the Big and Tall,” makes caskets that range from 29 to 52 inches wide, and up to eight feet long.
Goliath offers some points to consider when funeral planning for “one of the bigger people.”
- Let the funeral director know that your loved one is one of the bigger people.
- Sometimes special arrangements must be made to accommodate the size of the casket.
- The service may need to be moved to another location due to doorway restrictions for the size of the casket.
- You may need to think of a different method of transport that honors your loved one, because the casket may not fit into a traditional hearse.
- You may need to be prepared to buy two grave plots for this one person. Check with the funeral director and/or the cemetery operator about preparing a correctly sized gravesite.
- If you are considering cremation, have your funeral director confirm this option is available.
And if you are asked to be a pallbearer for “one of the bigger people,” find out how the funeral director is going to help you carry out this honor without damaging any vertebrae. Between the weight of the person and the casket, you may be looking at moving 400 to 500 pounds – a quarter of a ton. Distributed among six people, that’s still 66 to 83 pounds each.
In many cases, pallbearers will simply escort the casket, which is on a special gurney, out of the service and help transfer it into the hearse – or whatever mode of transportation will be used. You might check if a similar arrangement can be made for transfer from the hearse to the grave, as that’s where the real heavy lifting and carrying takes place. Perhaps a graveside service is the answer, so the funeral home takes care of all the moving and positioning in advance.
For more information, check out the post on Obesity Increases Burial Costs.