5 People Changing the Death Business in L.A.
Los Angeles is the home to innovation in entertainment, aerospace and fashion, but probably not as well-known is L.A.’s dynamic influence on the rapidly changing funeral industry. It is, after all, the birthplace of the “death positive” movement.
There are dozens of companies sprouting up to address the needs of families for grief, hospice, end-of-life and death care. Here are just a few folks who, like the team at Solace Cremation, are working to change the landscape.
Alua Arthur is the founder of Going with Grace, a company that offers end-of-life training, education and support. She describes herself as “a death doula, ordained minister, recovering lawyer, and perpetual seeker of nothing to be found.” Arthur quit her job in the legal field in 2012 to become a death doula, and now is a leader in the field. She has brought to light issues of racism in our quest for a “good death,” and illuminated the role of the death doula in dozens of recent news articles.
Olivia Bareham is death midwife, home funeral guide, celebrant and founder of Sacred Crossings, an alternative funeral home specializing in home funerals and the Institute for Conscious Dying. Olivia is a public speaker and advocate for conscious dying education and facilitates a death doula certificate training program; ‘The Art of Death Midwifery.’
Stefanie Elkins founded Be Present Care to help families navigate end-of-life and caregiving conversations. She creates plans and programs for individuals, family caregivers, healthcare professionals and organizations. As an Aging Life Care Manager® and host of Death over Draft Happy Hours, an ongoing feature of the Let’s Reimagine Festival, she supports individuals, families and fellow colleagues when they need it most.
Amy Pickard operates an unconventional advance planning business called “Good to Go!” which targets young and healthy people, urging them to plan for dying with her “Departure File.” Amy once held in-person G2G! Parties, but now offers them virtually. She was recently featured in Oprah magazine and has written on end-of-life planning for Real Simple.
Jill Schock is the owner of Death Doula LA and is a Los Angeles native. She is a trained and certified clinical chaplain or spiritual counselor and has worked over the past ten years in end-of-life care with a belief in empowering her clients to “embrace personal choice and style” at life’s end. She’s been featured in Goop, Pure Wow and Wired magazine, among others.
Photo by Izayah Ramos