Co-op has launched a survey into death, dying and bereavement as it seeks to lead the way in tackling the taboo around this subject and uncover what stops the nation from talking about these important topics.
Supported by a number of national charities linked to death and later life, Co-op is aiming to reach tens of thousands of people across the UK.
It will gather opinions from consumers, funeral directors, charities and Co-op members – asking them to give their views on death, bereavement and funeral wishes.
The survey will seek to establish what stops the nation from talking about death and dying, in addition to how people deal with bereavement. The company will work with Co-op’s Legal Services business, charitable groups, the government and opinion-formers nationally, in addition to communities locally, to identify solutions to this issue.
The business is also aiming to drive genuine social change to how the subject of death is approached by society.
Preliminary research conducted by Co-op shows that on average, Brits will suffer their first loss at the age of 21.
Of those questioned, 41 percent admitted feeling unable to talk about and express their emotions at the time of this loss and more than half (53 percent) believed that more open conversations about death, dying and bereavement would have helped them to cope with the loss of a loved one.
Despite 94 percent of people having experienced a bereavement, less than one in three people are totally comfortable when talking about death, dying and bereavement with loved ones (31 percent).
Some 22 percent have kept quiet during conversations about these topics and one in eight (13 percent) have actively changed the subject when these matters crop up.
More than two thirds of people (66 percent) also think that talking about death and dying needs to be easier and become more ‘normal’.
In light of the research findings, Co-op has commissioned the survey, engaged its members and will also be working with charities including British Red Cross, Child Bereavement UK, Dying Matters, Remember a Charity, Sue Ryder and The Children’s Funeral Charity to inform the campaign.
Robert MacLachlan, managing director of Co-op Funeralcare and Later Life Planning, said: “We know that talking about death is one of the hardest conversations people have to have. It’s a huge national issue and that’s why we’re encouraging the nation to get talking about this important subject, as a huge number of us believe the way we approach it needs to change. If we had more open conversations about this topic, just think of the positive outcomes that could be achieved.
“Making arrangements for a loved one’s funeral is a huge responsibility, with everyone having their own personal wishes. No-one likes to think about their own mortality, but having a discussion and planning ahead can have huge benefits in terms of being able to do the right thing for loved ones when the time comes.”