Accessible Funerals and People with Intellectual Disability

Rachel Forrester-Jones, Philip McCallion, Mary McCarron, Roger J Stancliffe, Michele Y Wiese


This chapter briefly outlines Western funeral practices and then describes how funeral participation is important to successful grieving and meaning making of others’ death. It examines research on funeral attendance and barriers, involving adults with intellectual disability. COVID-19 has restricted funeral participation for all, highlighting how people with disabilities have often been excluded from these rituals long before the pandemic. Experiences of both exclusion and participation are conveyed in several individual stories. The significance of emotional, social and spiritual supports linked to funerals (and the impact of being denied these) is discussed so that people with disabilities can be better supported to engage with and meaningfully participate in others’ funerals, and have a say in their own funeral arrangements if they wish to. A list of resources is provided.

Suggested Citation

Forrester-Jones, R., McCallion, P., McCarron, M., Stancliffe, R. J., & Wiese, M. Y. (2022). Accessible funerals and people with intellectual disability. In R. J. Stancliffe, M. Y. Wiese, P. McCallion, & M. McCarron (Eds.), End of life and people with intellectual and developmental disability: Contemporary issues, challenges, experiences and practice (pp. 265–296). Palgrave MacMillan.


Book Chapter 
Palgrave Macmillan


  • Community life
    • Aging and retirement
  • Specific disability
    • Intellectual/developmental disability (IDD)