It’s time to talk: Survey reveals changing attitudes towards discussing death
October 21, 2021
A survey of over 2,000 UK residents has revealed that 29% of the population have discussed death and their funeral preferences more frequently with loved ones compared to before the coronavirus pandemic, demonstrating a shift in attitudes and openness when discussing the end of life.
The survey, commissioned by GreenAcres, the award-winning cemetery, and ceremonial park group, was designed to highlight the importance of families having appropriate support in place to manage end of life, death, and living with grief.
However, the results also highlighted some clear differences across both gender and age. 52% of women said they did discuss death with those closest to them, compared to only 36% of men.
Although 43% of respondents have either discussed some ideas or would like to share their thoughts, only 24% have shared detailed preferences for funeral arrangements with loved ones.
Those aged 35-44 felt most strongly that they didn’t know how to approach the topic of death, and one in four people have never discussed death with their loved ones, and don’t plan to.
Andy Tait from GreenAcres said:
“After the incredibly tragic experiences that so many people have lived through over the past 18 months, it’s perhaps not surprising that more and more of us have started to open up a conversation with our loved ones about death. For so many people, it can be an incredibly difficult topic – nothing can prepare you for how you might feel when someone close to you dies, whether it’s expected or not. It can feel overwhelming, devastating, and strange, all at the same time. There are lots to organise, and it can be difficult to know where to start.
“For many people, talking about death and individual preferences can be a taboo subject, but by sharing our wishes, it can take the stress and worry away from the people you love the most when it’s their turn to make the arrangements.
“Our survey highlights an encouraging shift in behaviour and openness, but also demonstrates that more needs to be done to normalise these important conversations and provide people with the support they need to not only discuss death but also living with grief.”
As part of its ongoing support to help people speak more openly about death, GreenAcres has launched a new partnership with a leading bereavement charity, The Good Grief Trust, to open a series of pop-up cafés across its UK parks for bereaved local communities and families.
Designed to offer an umbrella of support to local communities, the Good Grief Cafés at GreenAcres are run by trained Good Grief Trust volunteers who have all been bereaved themselves, to connect and signpost people to services across the country and help them find a way forward.
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