A survey of more than 2,000 recently bereaved people has found 19% of 18 to 34-year-olds have gone on to plan their own funeral following the death of a loved one. This contrasts to just 1% of this age group that had planned their funeral before the bereavement.
The trend spans all ages but is most remarkable in the young, according to research released today by family owned funeral directors CPJ Field. Looking at older age groups, 15% of 35-54-year-olds admit to planning their own funeral since experiencing a death close to them. The same goes for 10% of over 55s. This lower percentage may be due to 5% in this age bracket having already planned their funeral before the bereavement. Looking across generations, almost half (47%) agreed that the death of a loved one has made them more likely to plan their own funeral.
This follows news from Macmillan last week that 36% of the British public have made no plans surrounding their death, including making a will, end of life care and recording their funeral wishes. The researchers believe the comparison between the two studies - one general population, one of recently bereaved people - suggests bereavement can be the deciding factor prompting people to confront the taboo of planning for their own death.
Jeremy Field, Managing Director of CPJ Field commented: “Bereaved people know better than anyone that having a clear understanding of how a loved one would like to be remembered can affect grief. Many of the people we support feel a strong desire to get this right for the person they love. Experiencing a loss can also bring us closer to our own mortality and may be leading people to put basic plans together for their own funeral, to protect their loved ones when the time comes.”
Almost half (47%) of the bereaved people surveyed reported having understood their loved one's funeral wishes in detail, while another 35% had some idea and 19% knew nothing about what they wanted. Four in five of those who knew these funeral wishes said it helped them feel they were doing the best they could for the person who had died. More than three quarters (76%) reported it eased the pressure around planning the funeral, and almost the same amount (73%) said it gave them the space to consider how to help themselves and the rest of the family to grieve.
Jeremy Field continued, “Under the theme ‘Are We Ready?’ this year’s Dying Matters Awareness Week involves community events throughout the country, with imaginative ways of encouraging people to talk about death, dying and bereavement. As a society, we are more shielded from death than ever before, making us ill-prepared for the unimaginable when it inevitably comes. Talking openly and honestly about death, no matter how morbid it may feel, is the start. Anything that helps prompt us to engage with this most difficult of topics is to be welcomed, both for ourselves and for those we love.”
Dying Matters Awareness Week runs from 13 to 19 May. It is hosted by Dying Matters and its coalition of members, with a range of community-led events taking place across the UK.
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Notes to editors
About CPJ Field
CPJ Field is a leading funeral service provider, which operates funeral homes across East and West Sussex, Surrey, Kent, Dorset, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and South London.
In 2015, the business celebrated its 325th anniversary, its origins and heritage date back to the late 1600s. Over the past three centuries it has been actively owned and managed by the Field family through ten generations and has assisted with the funeral arrangements of monarchs and national heroes such as the Duke of Wellington, Queen Victoria and King Edward VII.
CPJ Field’s funeral homes provide the highest standards of care and commitment offering a range of bespoke services such as funeral planning, funeral pre-payment plans, legal services, flowers, monumental masonry and international repatriation. Professionally trained and compassionate staff guide customers through what can be a stressful and highly emotional time.