New Marie Curie ad campaign urges people to talk about end of life plans

The Marie Curie charity is urging people to talk about death and end of life plans with a new advertising campaign, as research shows a lack of preparation risks leaving bereaved loved ones upset and confused.

Research commissioned by the charity found that not knowing a loved one’s final wishes resulted in issues with emotional wellbeing, finances and funeral arrangements for the bereaved.

One in five people who did not know all of their loved one’s final wishes were left feeling unsure if the funeral was what the person would have wanted.

Some 26% of people regretted unresolved issues, and 19% said they experienced confusion or second-guessing while trying to manage the death of someone close to them.

Marie Curie, which supports people with terminal illnesses, said that the number of people dying is set to increase sharply over the next decade due to the ageing population – meaning it was more important than ever to talk about our final moments.

To encourage these vital discussions, the charity have launched the first-ever advert on television encouraging people to talk about death and dying.

The cheerful advert features a host of euphemisms for dying, including kicking the bucket and popping your clogs, to challenge the discomfort as part of the biggest ever public campaign about end of life planning.

Marie Curie’s research found that death was one of the topics people were least comfortable talking about, with respondents saying they would rather talk about religion, money, politics, immigration and Brexit than dying.

However, the research of 2,224 adults also found that the majority of people would be comfortable talking about their own post-death plans, with 82% of people willing to have the conversation.

Only 36% of people surveyed actually have had those discussions and with just one-quarter of people having made preparations.

Matthew Reed, chief executive of Marie Curie, said: “Our ageing population means it is increasingly important for families to have conversations, share their wishes and be prepared so that they have the best chance of a good end of life experience for themselves and those they leave behind.

“When we are bereaved we can experience avoidable regret, guilt, confusion, family conflict, and negative financial and legal impacts.

“While most of us say we are comfortable having these conversations, the reality is that many of us are not making any preparations as it feels a long way off or something that will cause unnecessary upset both for us and the people around us.

“But we need to plan more for the end of life, while there is still time to do so. Having these conversations early can be easier than having them when we, or someone we love, is dying.”

As well as the cheerful advert, the “whatever you call it, we should all talk about it” campaign features a series of resources including conversation starter cards and checklists at the Marie Curie Talk About website.

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