funeral homes in Beltsville, MD

Who Will Take Care of the Dead?

After funerals at funeral homes in Beltsville, MD, the deceased are taken to their final resting places, which could be at cemeteries in small, rural communities, where the population is decreasing because younger people move away in search of more opportunity and the elderly people who stay began to die.

When the population of one of these communities declines, the question of who will maintain the cemeteries in the community becomes an issue. Combined with weather challenges, climate change, economic hardships, and the oddities of human behavior, the problem of who will maintain these rural cemeteries becomes even more complex.

Family and church cemeteries are usually maintained through contributions of members or others who have relatives buried there. These are the most likely cemeteries to fall into disrepair when people move and people die. There’s no more money to maintain the cemeteries.

The people who maintain cemeteries are called caretakers. Some live near the cemetery they maintain, while others have a residence on-site. In rural communities, if the caretaker of record dies then no one knows who’s responsible for maintaining the cemeteries. Many times, no one takes over the responsibility and the cemetery gets overgrown and essentially disappears.

For example, in Nebraska, if no one in the community informs the legal authorities that the cemetery has been neglected or is abandoned then local governments don’t have too many options to make sure that the cemetery is maintained. A lot of people don’t know that they can report neglected or abandoned cemeteries to local authorities and some people think it’s disrespectful to the dead to complain about the state of the cemetery. Occasionally, another member of the community will take over upkeep of the cemetery without telling anyone (so that there can be someone to take over after them), but they may move or die leaving it to be neglected and abandoned again.

Rural cemeteries in New York state have their fair share that are need of maintenance, but they also have many that are very well cared for and provide beautiful green spaces for the neighbors around them. Some people love the relative quiet of living near cemeteries, while other people can’t abide the thought of living in near proximately to resting places for the dead.

Research from realtor.com shows that, in rural areas, homes in zip codes with cemeteries have an approximately 12% lower median price than homes that are in zip codes without cemeteries. However, this decrease in property values is a great concern for rural homeowners. This is because community services, such as education funding, are tied to the value of property, and when a tax-exempt cemetery is neglected or abandoned, then the overall value of all the properties around it decreases, making less funding available for the communities.

Many other rural cemeteries in other states face more challenges. Some cemeteries are maintained by an association, but the associations are seeing donations drop because of weather disasters and poor economic conditions, so the associations are either abandoning the cemeteries or asking relatives of the deceased who are buried there to volunteer to maintain the cemeteries. Some rural cemeteries get neglected or abandoned when property owners give access rights away to businesses or to the state. Once access to the cemetery is cut off, the cemeteries fall into disrepair.

If you want to know more about cemetery upkeep at funeral homes in Beltsville, MD, you can talk with our knowledgeable team at Donald V. Borgwardt Funeral Home, P.A. You can visit our funeral home at 4400 Powder Mill Rd., Beltsville, MD, 20705, or you can call us today at (301) 937-1707.

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