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Talking About Funeral Planning with Your Family

Death has been thrust into the public eye this last year, and with the onset of new death trends like the increase of direct cremations, it is a poignant time to start conversations with family around death and funeral planning. Death is different for everyone, and at Neo we feel it is important for people to be empowered to bring up conversations with their friends and family about their wishes for when they die. 


Are you in a Good Place to Die? 

This Dying Matters Week is centered around what it means to be in a good place before you die. More people than ever before are now dying at home, a new trend that has been catapulted this past year by Covid-19. According to Dying Matters, in 2020 alone there were more than 1,000 extra people dying at home each week.



Furthermore, the newest research in Dying Matters reveals: 


  • Only 13% of adults say they’ve let a close friend or family member know where they want to be when they die (rising to only 15% among over 55s);
  • Less than 8% of adults have put in place medical and/or emotional support for the end of life (dropping to 6% among over-55s);
  • Just 31% of adults know how to make funeral plans  to ensure they die in the place they would wish to.


This brings us to this year’s Dying Matters theme: Are you in a Good Place to Die? 


What does it mean to be #InAGoodPlace to die? 


Death is unavoidable, and the fact is that we cannot expect for our family  to be shielded from it forever. It’s understandable to fathom why so many people would want to steer clear of this subject. People can be quite good about thinking about their wills and finances, but are not as forthcoming when it comes to talking about how one would like to be cared for when they die. Funeral planning conversations may ruffle a few feathers, and that is why we’ve created this short guide to help make those conversations a little bit easier. 


How to Talk About Funeral Planning with your Family 

If you’re struggling to bring up the funeral planning conversation with your family, then these 5 tips will help you ease into an open and honest discussion about end-of-life planning: 


1. Start off by discussing your health

If you are in good health, then reassure your family to let them know that everything is fine and that you are simply just thinking ahead. You may also want to mention that it’s practical to have this conversation now rather than when you are ill and unable to think about things in a pragmatic way. 


2. Discuss basic requests first

Ease the intensity of the conversation by just outlining some simple requests like whether or not you want a cremation or burial. Instead of giving your children loads of information, start small and start with the basics. That way you minimise the room for any misunderstandings. 


3. Chat over a cuppa 

Choosing an informal setting to have the conversation can ease the pressure and awkwardness. While discussing future funeral arrangements is a very important topic, a relaxed setting can allow for your family to feel more comfortable and more open to asking questions.



4. Encourage questions

People are curious. When you’ve brought up the topic, be prepared for lots of questions and it may be that you receive the same questions again. This is normal. Remember that this is part of your family’s need for reassurance and asking questions could be a way for them to better process the information. 


5. Include them in the funeral planning process 

Including your loved ones in your planning process can make the subject easier to talk about. Check in with your family to see if they have any creative ideas to share, and carefully think about how their ideas and wishes can contribute to your planning. They may have thought of something you haven’t!


Funeral Planning with Neo  

At Neo, we believe we all need to be a bit braver when talking about dying, death, and bereavement. Open and honest conversations are integral to funeral planning. With the appropriate planning and support, people can be in a good place to die– whether that is at home, in a hospice, or in a hospital.


If you’re interested in learning more about funeral planning, please visit our funeral plan page, here. If you would like to receive a brochure regarding our plan, then please fill in our contact form on the page and a member of our Care team will be happy to speak with you and discuss your options. 


If you are interested in learning more about Dying Matters, you may visit their website and participate in the many death positive talks, events, and webinars they have going on this week.

Jenn Ulloa

Digital Operations Analyst

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