The initiative, established over five years ago to increase and improve the conversations people have about preparing for death, leaving a legacy and the impact of dying in society, is supported by a range of partners, in policy, healthcare, the voluntary and community sector and faith groups.
Our University is home to the UK's only centre devoted to the study and research of the social aspects of death, dying and bereavement – the Centre for Death and Society (CDAS). Throughout the week researchers from the CDAS will be involved in a number of events and talks taking place in and around Bath.
Talking about it
Commenting, Dr John Troyer said: “Talking about dying and death is something people understandably feel uncomfortable about, but it is something we all need to do - otherwise we, or our loved ones, may not die in the way we want. Talking about dying does not make it happen, or happen faster, but not talking about it will not prevent it happening.”
Meeting the cost
Dr Kate Woodthorpe, whose research has focused on the increased cost of funerals and individuals’ ability to pay for funeral services, explained: "It is common practice in this country to have a funeral after someone has died, but many people are not aware of their options and how much the component parts of a funeral can cost. Preparing for these in advance, even if just talking through the options as a result of this week's events, can help both individuals and their families make decisions about what is appropriate as and when the time comes."
Director of the CDAS, Professor Tony Walter, added: “Today, many more people live to old age and tend to die outside the home. This means that many of us do not experience a family member or close friend dying until we are into our mid-life, and it is even less common to have seen a dead body. It may not be true that society denies death, but many of us are dead ignorant about it. As a result, fear of the unknown means that people sometimes avoid those who are ill or dying, and do not feel able to support them.”
Events taking place in Bath, through CDAS
- Monday: What music would you want played at your funeral? (11.30 – 2pm, University of Bath).
- Tuesday: A walking ‘death tour’ around Bath, looking at the history of death and dying.
- Wednesday: ‘A Great Way to Go’ – Funeral planning workshop.
- Thursday: 'Everything you ever needed to know about death & dying but were too afraid to ask' (12.15, University of Bath; and 19.30, BRLSI, Queens Square, Bath).
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