Only one in three of us have talked about our wishes in relation to end of life issues, despite 70% claiming to be comfortable discussing death*.
Here is the place to start!
The most recent British Social Attitudes survey found that
“Barriers to discussion for most people revolve around death seeming ‘a long way off’, even for those in the older age groups, although perhaps that conceals more than a little superstitious belief that not talking about the topic helps keep it that way. The thing most likely to get people to act is the desire to make things easier for their family and friends – with almost two-thirds of respondents acknowledging this would be a potent driver for action.”
This is backed up by research released this week by Dying Matters, confirming that millions of Britons are failing to make adequate plans for their death and don’t know the wishes of their loved ones.
Dying Matters was set up by the National Council for Palliative Care to support changing knowledge, attitudes and behaviours towards dying, death and bereavement in the hope that this would lead to more people “living and dying well”. Their campaign includes an annual Dying Awareness Week, taking place this week in the UK.
“Dying is one of life’s few certainties” says Claire Henry, Chief Executive of Dying Matters, “but many of us appear to be avoiding discussing it or in denial altogether. Talking more openly about dying and planning ahead is in everyone’s interests, as it can help ensure we get our wishes met and make it easier for our loved ones. You only die once, which is why it’s so important to make your wishes known while there’s still time.”
* Most recent figures (2012) for 30th British Social Attitudes survey.
British Social Attitudes attitudes to death
Dying Matters Survey Report