Over-65s and their adult children aren’t sharing funeral wishes


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Independent Age wants 40 to 64-year-olds to open up about death and have important conversations with their parents.

Over-65s and their adult children aren’t having important conversations about the end of life, new research reveals.

Almost half of 40 to 64-year-olds said that they do not feel comfortable talking to their parents about death. Avoiding the subject could mean parents and children don’t know each other’s funeral wishes and have to make difficult decisions when the time comes.

The study from charity Independent Age showed that this age group, sometimes called the ‘sandwich generation’, feel awkward or anxious talking about end of life matters with their elderly parents. Participants said that they would be more comfortable talking about their drinking habits, weight and personal finances, rather than death and dying. Nine percent even said they’d be more comfortable discussing sex with their parents than funerals.

While more than half of the over-65s group said it is important to be open about end of life issues, half of over-65 women hadn’t talked to their partners about it, while nearly half of men hadn’t discussed it with their adult children.

Discussing a loved one’s funeral wishes can bring up feelings of awkwardness or sadness, but having these conversations ahead of time is vital. If your loved ones don’t know what kind of funeral you’d like, where you keep your will, or where you’d like to be laid to rest, they can face all sorts of difficult decisions at an already terrible time.

Likewise, if you never have these awkward conversations, when the time comes you may not know what your loved ones would have wanted.

Corinne Sweet, psychologist, author and broadcaster, encouraged people to break the silence and talk about end of life issues.

“It’s no surprise, as a culture, we prefer to pretend that it’s not going to happen. But when it does, we are thrown by the strong emotions it brings up,” she said. “That’s why it’s incredibly important for all generations to talk about death – ahead of time – so that feelings can be faced, processed, relationships set straight and any final wishes are shared.

“This can bring great peace of mind to everyone concerned.”

Planning ahead is a great way to make things as easy as possible for loved ones you leave behind. You can even ease the financial burden by taking out a funeral plan – securing funeral directors’ fees at today’s prices and choosing what you’d like in advance. Your family will know that you’re getting the send-off you would have wanted and you can make the most of life, knowing everything is taken care of.

Find out more about Avalon’s range of funeral plans.


About the author

With a Masters from the University of Bristol, Jessica Hanson has worked in the funeral sector for several years, following the latest industry trends and writing about end of life planning. Jessica has previously written as a blogger for the Huffington Post, covering topics such as death positivity, understanding grief and how funerals are changing. You can find Jessica on LinkedIn and Twitter.