The rise of the death wellness movement

A designer death industry has come to life to cater to the growing number of people seeking alternative approaches to dying.

You know what they say: You only die once (YODO) — so you might as well do it right. Or so the thinking goes in the “death wellness movement.” 

A growing number of services in the dollars-for-death business are shifting the focus from funerals and services to designer death experiences.

The death business is killing it 

It sounds creepy, but there’s a thriving cottage industry around dying. Death doulas — who, like birth doulas, support patients — operate in at least 6 states. 

Death Cafes across the country let people gather over tea and cake to talk candidly about dying. A number of companies help elderly people produce “legacy videos” before they pass.  

There’s even a death festival of sorts in San Francisco, Reimagine End of Life, that offers spiritual and scientific programming to end taboos related to death. 

But can everyone afford a designer death? 

Dying isn’t always cheap. The average American funeral costs about $9k, and although death doulas’ fees vary, some packages could set families back a few thousand dollars a week. 

Other death services like legacy videos can cost as much as $7k, pushing premium postmortems out of reach for many.

But even if not everyone can afford the white-glove dying experience, the death wellness movement wants to shift culture to provide support and positivity to all people in their final days.

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