Change of Season Triggering More Senior Deaths

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As the season transitions from summer to fall, deaths among senior citizens are rising, which in turn is delaying funeral reservations across Southern California by several weeks. Whereas most funeral reservations are not delayed by more than two to five days, the recent trend is pushing them back by one to three weeks.

One of the leading causes behind the delay is due to increased number of deaths recently as the sudden change in weather is prompting illnesses, especially among seniors.

“Seniors are obviously more sensitive to the weather when the season changes,” said Orange County’s Ilshim Senior Association volunteer Jong-hwa Lee. “Rising deaths during this time of the year has been an annual occurrence. A simple cold can sometimes turn into pneumonia, which then leads to other health complications.”

California Mortuary president Young-mok Chung said: “It’s true that there are more deaths among seniors during the winter. I would say that it’s about 20 percent higher than usual. From November and February is a busy season for mortuaries.”

For cases in which death is pronounced late or if the families want to have the funeral on weekends, booking a reservation during this season becomes even more difficult.

Buena Park resident Eun-hee Park (pseudonym), who recent lost a relative and an acquaintance over the last few weeks, told the Korea Daily that booking funerals for them was more difficult than initially thought.

“I was able to make a reservation for Saturday after going through someone I knew,” Park said. “But even then, we were only able to book a 5 p.m. reservation for my relative who passed away. For the other acquaintance who passed away, we had to wait two weeks after the passing to finally have a funeral.”

A recent study has also shown that every time the average temperature rises by 1 degree in Celsius, the death rate in the affected area rises by at least 0.5 percent. Among seniors, the figure rises to 2.46 percent.

By Soo Yeon Oh