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Members’ experiences of death, dying and bereavement have contributed to a major national survey about why so many of us find it difficult to talk freely and openly about these subjects.
The biggest ever survey into death, dying and bereavement
Over 17,000 members joined in #TheCoopWay to share how they feel about discussing these taboo subjects and how their experiences of death of a close friend or relative have shaped their views.
Almost half of those members said that they are uncomfortable talking about death. And it is hoped that our findings will be used to help them and others, as we now work with charities to find new words and ways to talk about death and dying and support people who have been bereaved.
I was struck by just how many members were willing to share incredibly touching and personal testimonies, in order to move this conversation on and ultimately help others. I think Margaret, a member from Bourne, sums up beautifully the kind of challenges society faces with coming to terms with bereavement:
“I have experienced people crossing the road to avoid me rather than stop and talk to me. Most people don’t know how to deal with a grieving friend or relative.
We are normal, maybe a little sad, possibly a little lost. It does help to talk about your loss, please try to find a way forward for people to be more comfortable with the subject.” Margaret Barnett, Co-op Member, Bourne
Tackling the taboo around death
We found that almost two thirds of members think about their own mortality at least once a month. Those who’ve thought about funeral choices are most likely to have considered the music, charity donations and it being a celebration over sadness. However at least a quarter of members are not at all comfortable about talking about their own mortality with loved ones.
Conducting the biggest ever survey into death, dying and bereavement, with the help of our members, has helped us identify ways to move things forward. Whether that be in our own business, looking at ways we can further help managers support colleagues with the return to work following a bereavement or in society more broadly. In addition to supporting colleagues within our communities, we’ll work on changing the language used to talk about death, having more direct conversations and campaigning for change.
I’m genuinely grateful to all members who got involved to help improve our understanding, and I hope that you will continue to work with us as we further explore how we can improve things for people as they deal with death, dying and bereavement.
To help shape our Co-op, log in to your online membership account and join in #TheCoopWay
Read more about the biggest ever survey into death and dying at coop.co.uk/funeralcare
Managing Director of Co-op Funeralcare and Life Planning
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