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Over the past few months, members have been joining in to tell us more about what they know, expect and want to see when dealing with the death of a loved one as we look to tailor an even better Funeralcare service.
Despite many suggesting they often find it difficult to discuss death and funeral arrangements, thousands of members shared their views on everything from end of life wishes and funerals as a celebration of life to dealing with bereavement and seeking legal help when someone dies.
What emerged clearly was the importance of knowing a loved one’s funeral wishes. Around 65% of members who had organised a funeral told us that knowing the wishes of the deceased had helped them fulfil funeral requests with greater ease.
However, more than half of the members who had arranged a funeral but didn’t know the wishes of the deceased told us they had experienced problems or regrets when planning the ceremony.
“There’s a lot of anxiety to represent them the right way and you assume that you knew their favourite song, their favourite food, etc but it’s terrifying to make the definitive decision.” Natalie Lau, London
While many members choose to talk about their own funeral wishes with family, in a will or simply writing their wishes down, almost half of participants have yet to have the conversation.
The clear steer from members is the need for us to continue to help educate and encourage people to talk about their funeral wishes.
As well as wanting to see low-cost, low-fuss and eco-friendly funeral options, members told us how they are embracing the idea of funerals as a celebration of life.
More upbeat than a traditional funeral service, 70% of our members say they have attended a celebration of life funeral and like the positive aspects of the service, which focuses more on a person’s life allowing for laughter, storytelling and brightly coloured clothing.
“I would expect the persons favourite songs to be played. I would want people to say good and true things about the person, perhaps show a video of them and quotes of things they have said, and if they did a prank or had a dance.” John Mills, Salford
Members told us they would like more help to personalise their funeral services to capture the wishes of the deceased and their close family. Majority of members also said they would most likely choose a funeral provider that offered celebration of life funerals.
When it comes to dealing with the property, money and possessions of someone who has passed away, members admitted they are often left feeling confused and uncomfortable.
More than 70% told us they struggled and experienced difficulties in administering an estate with 31% saying they turned to a legal professional for help because they either weren’t in a good emotional state, didn’t understand the probate process or didn’t know which organisations they needed to notify.
Members suggested that the advice and guidance available from a legal provider should be stepped to allow the levels of advice to be tailored to individual needs, which is what the Bereavement Notification Service provided by Co-op Legal Services offers. Many also said they would welcome a funeral service that offered emotional bereavement support as well as practical advice.
We are hugely grateful to the members who have joined in to support us so far this year. Members’, often personal, contributions have provided us with important insights which we can now use to shape the services we provide.
Members input is already helping to shape both our existing products and services as well as brand new offerings, which we’re hoping to trial by the end of the year. We’re also looking to continue to enhance the services offered through our Bereavement Notification Service later in the year – along with a revised name, which was shaped by our members!
In the meantime, if you’re a member, head to your member account and take a look at the other opportunities available to shape your Co-op right now.