We’d all rather not think about death, but for
parents it’s important to make plans just in case. Di Stubbs, from the
Childhood Bereavement Network, considers the issues.
Earlier in May was Dying
Matters Awareness Week: Dying Matters is a coalition of around
30,000 members, both individuals and organisations, led by the National Council for Palliative Care.
It aims to change public knowledge, attitudes and behaviours towards death,
dying and bereavement. This year’s theme was ‘You only die once’ and involved
many events up and down the country from national conferences and report
launches, to the ‘Death
Café’ that ran in Bristol at the weekend.
during DMAW showed that the vast majority (83%) of the public believe that
people in Britain are uncomfortable with discussing dying and death. Only 36%
of adults have written a will, only 29% have let someone know their funeral
wishes and just 6% have written down their preferences for treatment and care
in the event they become unable to take such decisions for themselves.
The awareness week was
given added poignancy by the death of Stephen Sutton who had
done so much, not only to raise millions of pounds for the Teenage Cancer
Trust, but also to challenge people’s assumptions that only old
people die and that death should not be talked about.
To link with Dying
Matters Week (DMW), the Childhood Bereavement Network (CBN)
our own survey as the first step in our campaign to encourage
ALL parents to prepare for the eventuality that they die while their children
are still young. We know that this can be quite a hard thing to think about,
but we also believe for children who have been bereaved of a parent, having
things planned and prepared in advance can make a real difference.
And we also know that
by the age of 16, around one in twenty young people will have experienced the
death of a parent: one in every school class. Some of those parents may have
been expected to die and will have had the time to prepare but many of those
parents will have died unexpectedly.
In the survey, we’re asking
questions about what things, practical and personal, are most helpful for parents
to sort out. And we’re also asking what kind of things hamper people’s
intentions of preparing for the future. Maybe there’s a fear that thinking
about it makes it happen? We’d welcome everyone’s views - and, yes,
that does mean you! – the survey can be found at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/planif2014.
We’re going to develop this campaign in
coming months and bring all the available resources (such as advice on wills,
advance care plans, digital legacies etc) together onto one new microsite. And we’re
going to have a really great launch event in the autumn – more details of which
in a future blog.
So can I ask you right now: do those people who
care about you know where your will is? Err… you do have a will, don’t you?
To complete the survey visit: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/planif2014