General Questions:

What do Funeral Directors do?
Funeral Directors give care to families and handle many administrative tasks associated with death. They arrange for transportation of the body, complete all necessary paperwork, and see that the family's decisions for funeral arrangements and final disposition of remains are followed.

Funeral Directors are here to listen, advise and support you. They have years of experience helping bereaved people cope with death. Funeral Directors are trained to answer questions about grief, recognized when a person is having difficulty coping, and recommend sources of professional help. Funeral directors also link survivors with support groups at the funeral home or in the community.

What is the purpose of embalming
Embalming sanitizes and temporarily preserves the body, retards the decomposition process, and enhances the appearance of a body disfigured by traumatic death or illness.

Embalming makes it possible to lengthen the time between death and the final disposition, thus allowing family members time to arrange and participate in the type of service most comforting to them.

Does a body need to be embalmed following death?
No. Most states, however, require embalming when there is to be a viewing 24 hours after death, when the death was caused by a reportable contagious disease, or when remains are to be transported to another state, or if final disposition is not to be made within a prescribed number of hours.

If a loved one dies out of state, can my local Funeral Home still help?
Yes, your local funeral home should be able to assist you with out-of-state arrangements; either to transfer the remains from Pennsylvania to another state of from another state back here.

What should I do if the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?
Most funeral homes operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can generally call a funeral home as soon after the death occurs as you are ready.

If I call you, will someone come right away?
Most reputable funeral homes will typically arrive within an hour of your call. If the family wishes to spend a short time with the deceased to say good-by, that is fine as well and the funeral home can adjust their arrival to what is convenient for the family.

Questions Regarding Cremation:

Do I need to use a funeral home that has its own crematory?
No, any licensed funeral home can arrange and handle cremation services. If a funeral home does not have its own crematory, it usually contracts with a local crematory to handle the actual cremation.

Does cremation cost less at a funeral home that has its own crematory compared to one that uses someone else?
Not necessarily, frequently it could cost more. A funeral home that a contracts with a crematory pays a flat rate for the cremation. The crematory then has to handle all of the overhead associated with running a crematory, the maintenance and fuel needed, and also handle all of the regulatory needs.

Can I have a viewing and then still cremate?
Yes. Cremation is an alternative to earth burial or entombment for the body's final disposition. It is common to have cremation follow a traditional funeral service.

Cremation is the second most common form of disposition in the United States. In other countries, such as England and Japan, cremation is the most common form of disposition.

There are a variety of options for the final disposition of cremated remains. Urns or other containers my be placed in a niche at a columbarium, a structure or room designed to contain cremated remains. Families may elect to bury the urn in a family plot or cemetery or keep it in another place of personal significance, such as the home.

Subject to some restrictions, cremated remains can be scattered by air, over the ground or over water. Your funeral director can advise you on allowable practices in your community.

Scattering of cremated remains is often accompanied by some form of memorialization. Most people find consolation knowing there is a specific place to visit when they wish to remember and feel close to the person they have lost. Regardless of the disposition option selected for the cremated remains, families should choose one that best fits their emotional needs.

Why do people choose cremation?
Cremation is selected for many reasons ranging from religious beliefs or ethnic customs to cost. Cremation, or any other funeral service option, should not be selected in an attempt to hasten or circumvent the grieving process, which is a necessary part of re-adjusting to life after death has delivered a great sense of pain and loss.

Questions Regarding Viewings

Why have a public viewing?
Many grief specialists believe that viewing helps begin the healing process as the bereaved recognize the reality of death. Viewing is encouraged for children, as long as the process is explained and the activity voluntary.

Is it possible to have a traditional funeral if someone dies of AIDS, HIV, or some other communicable disease?

Certainly. A person who dies of a communicable disease is entitled to the same service options afforded to anyone else.

If a public viewing is consistent with local or personal customs, that option is encouraged. Touching the deceased's face or hands is perfectly safe.

Questions Regarding Death Prior to Any Pre-planning

  • What information should I bring with me to the funeral home to make arrangements following the death of a family member?

Questions Regarding Costs

Has the cost of funerals increased significantly?
Funeral costs have increased no faster than the consumer price index for other consumer items. Today, an average funeral costs about $7,000.

What contributes to the cost of a funeral?
Funerals are no more expensive than other major life events such as weddings and births. However, happy life events typically do not raise much sensitivity about cost.

Funeral homes operated 24-hours a day, seven days a week. This is a labor-intensive business, with extensive costs for facilities and real estate (viewing rooms, chapels, limousines, hearses, etc.), these expenses do factor into the cost of a funeral.

Funeral costs include not only items, like caskets, but also the services of a Funeral Director who handles legal documents and make many detailed arrangements. Your funeral director will assist you in dealing with doctors, ministers, florists, newspapers, death certificates; and seeing to all the necessary details.

Bernard Suess Funeral Home
606 Arch Street
Perkasie, PA 18944

Sadler Suess Funeral Home
33 North Main Street
Telford, PA 18969