New poll reveals how little we know about dying

Caroline Allen
Research revealed that six in 10 of us feel we know very little about the final hours or life. [Photo: Getty]
Research revealed that six in 10 of us feel we know very little about the final hours or life. [Photo: Getty]

Death is one of the few inevitabilities of life.

Yet, new research suggests that six in 10 British people know little or nothing about the final hours of their lives.

Many of us learn about death through speaking to family and friends of watching TV, rather than from doctors or nurses.

This sparked the researchers to launch a campaign aimed at making death a more acceptable topic of conversation.

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The Academy of Medical Sciences interviewed almost 1000 people face to face about the topic.

One third of them refused to answer the questions about death, proving that it’s a difficult subject for many.

Other countries have a more free-spirited attitude towards death with countries including Mexico, Thailand and China hosting day of the dead celebrations each year.

Now, Prof Dame Lesley Fallowfield, a cancer psychologist at the University of Sussex, wants to encourage us to speak about death more openly.

She suggests we consider creating a “death plan” in the way that many expectant parents create a birthing plan.

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She said: “We all know that events sometimes supersede your wishes, but we can think it through and make it the best it can possibly be. Making a death plan shouldn’t be seen as a macabre thing to do.”

As a result of our refusal to speak about death, many people do not spend the final weeks of their lives how they would have chosen.

To encourage the conversation, the academy has opened a pop-up called The Departure Lounge in Lewisham shopping centre in south-east London.

The pop-up aims to engage with people on the topic on death, with messages and questions written on suitcases all around the shop.

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People have taken to Twitter to describe the installation as a “great idea” to encourage conversation.

Different versions of the lounge will be popping up across the UK this summer.

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