The average British person contemplates their own mortality for more than half a century, according to Co-op’s ‘biggest ever’ survey into death, dying and bereavement.
The funeral provider’s research revealed that age 26 is when Brits first consider their own death, with a third of all adults doing so at least once a week. With life expectancy now topping 80, this means people on average are spending 55 years having deadly thoughts. Despite thinking about death, the majority 41 percent of people have not yet planned for the inevitable.
Women are more likely than men to think about their own mortality, with 98 percent of women admitting this is the case, versus just 90 percent of men.
The findings, released in Co-op’s broader report ‘Making Peace With Death’, highlighted that further action may be needed to tackle the nation’s last taboo.
The research uncovered attitudes towards mortality, bereavement and the way in which people plan ahead for death. With 30,000 taking part, this is the first time national attitudes towards death have been looked at on such a scale.
Although 91 percent have thought about their own mortality, it’s not something Brits will openly talk about. Findings highlighted that terrorism, celebrity deaths and external news reports were amongst the top 10 reasons for people to consider their own mortality:
The death of a family member (28 percent)
The loss of a friend (15 percent)
Reaching a milestone age (22 percent)
Making my own will (14 percent)
A medical diagnosis – someone I know (17 percent)
Terrorism (13 percent)
News reports of death (16 percent)
Hearing about a celebrity dying (12 percent)
A medical diagnosis – myself (15 percent)
The death of an acquaintance (10 percent)
David Collingwood, director of funerals for Co-op Funeralcare, said: “Our survey shows that whilst mortality is something we often think about, it’s not something we’re willing to open up and talk about. With over 18 million people uncomfortable talking about death, many of us are having those conversations because we feel they are too difficult to broach or we don’t want to upset people.
“The reality of it is, if we start to talk more openly about death, dying and bereavement now, it’ll remove some of the emotional burden for our loved ones further down the line.”