University death expert warns of funeral crisis as baby-boomers reach old age

An expert in death studies at the University of Bath is warning that Britain is not prepared for the death of the post-war baby-boomers.

Dr Kate Woodthorpe, from the University’s Centre for Death & Society, says that by 2030 there will be an extra 100,000 people dying a year, a 17 per cent rise in current figures.

She said: “The death rate is due to start rising in 2012 and peak in 2030. We have an opportunity now, while the death rate is relatively low, to put into place sufficient systems and support for the relatives of people after they have gone. The cost of funerals has been rising year on year. Have people put aside enough money to fund their funeral?”

Dr Woodthorpe has been working with Simon Cox, of Sun Life Direct, on a study about attitudes and expectations towards old-age and dying. Mr Cox is the company’s expert in dying costs.  

The collaborative research project, called The Trouble with Dying, is part of the fifth annual Sun Life Direct report The Total Cost of Dying.

Dr Woodthorpe said: “People are living longer and often need care for longer. For those that have assets, to fund care many sell their home, meaning that the next generation inherit a small amount. In other words, the next generation will have to pay for the cost of the funeral. If people don’t have savings or assets to sell to pay for a funeral then it’s the state that has to pay for it. "

Currently around 35 per cent of people in Britain have no will or savings.

Bookmark with:

What is this?

We are one of the UK's leading universities with an international reputation for quality research and teaching. Our Mission is to deliver world class research and teaching, educating our graduates to become future leaders and innovators, and benefiting the wider population through our research, enterprise and influence. Our courses are innovative and interdisciplinary and we have an outstanding record of graduate employment.