Dying Matters Awareness Week Breaking The Taboo Around Confronting Death

Just over half of UK adults (56%) would be spurred into the action of preparing their financial and practical affairs in order to prepare for the devastating news that they had a mere year left to live.

According to the morbid and recent research, carried out by ComRes on behalf of Dying Matters, a huge percentage of the population would continue to bury their head in the sand if they were given a life limiting prognosis.

The battle to encourage UK adults to make a valid Will and keep it updated has been a hard-fought campaign with many finding it difficult to confront and prepare for their own mortality. Whilst 56% would use the news as a catalyst to ensure their express wishes are organised, many other UK adults would choose to fill this remaining time by ticking off the various dream items on their bucket lists.

For those that have had their futures taken from them, 54% would plan the trip of a lifetime or look to complete an experience they have been dreaming of but have always put off.

A third of the respondents would use the time to reconnect with places and people from their past that may have drifted out of their lives whilst 31% would plan where and how they would like to spend and live their remaining days.

As our lives and memories are frequently played out and stored online, it seems fairly shocking that only 7% of people would plan to preserve their digital legacy.

Many people feel responsible for the people they leave behind and want to make sure they have a legacy to pass on. 31% of respondents feel as though they would like to leave financially valuable possessions, like a home, in their Will after they die with 10% looking to leave a donation to charity.

Throughout this week, Dying Matters Awareness Week are highlighting the importance of making sure UK adults are prepared for their death.

Hundreds of events are happening around England and will be looking to encourage people into becoming more comfortable in talking about grief, death, Wills, funerals and a myriad of subject matter that have remained taboo for too long.

Furthermore, the events will be hosting a number of specialists equipped to dish out an array of insightful advice. Dying Matters, which is run by hospice and palliative care charity Hospice UK has sought out an eclectic mix of specialists in the sector including solicitors, funeral directors, hospices and hospitals, grief counsellors and palliative care specialists in order to provide a broad spectrum of expertise that can be exploited.

Selected events from the week include:

  • The Departure Lounge – a ‘Travel Agent’ for our final journey at Lewisham Shopping Centre, organised by the Academy of Medical Sciences. Running throughout May
  • York Dead Good Festival – 10 days of plays, arts and discussions about death. May 10th-19th
  • American actress Paige Barr brings her acclaimed show “Death, Dating and I Do” to London for three performances, in a double bill with Fascinating Aidas’s Adele Anderson
  • Finding a Language – a panel discussion about the language people use when talking about death, and how people approach it differently. Introduced by Phillip Selway from Radiohead. Oxford, May 15th
  • Design Your Own Coffin competition – a nationwide competition allowing people to design their own coffin. Closing date Sunday May 26th.

Tracey Bleakley, CEO of Hospice UK, said:

“It says so much that, when faced with death, many people want to both be practical but also to get the most out of life by doing something from their ‘bucket list’. You don’t have to wait until you know you are dying to get your affairs in order: if you do it now there’s more time for those special experiences.

“This year’s Dying Matters theme is Are We Ready, and this survey tells us just what people think they need to do to be ready to face their own deaths. We’re all different, and each of us will respond to death in our own way. What matters is that we are able to talk to each other about it, and to offer what help we can to people coping with death or grief.”

A map of registered Dying Matters event is here.

Have you found that more people are willing to confront their death and ultimately their responsibilities in recent years? What are the benefits of awareness events like Dying Matters for the Wills and Estate Planning sector?

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