New survey sparks call from health charity for Lancashire residents to be more open about death

The Sue Ryder care centre at Cuerden Hall, Bamber Bridge
The Sue Ryder care centre at Cuerden Hall, Bamber Bridge

A leading health charity is calling on the people of Lancashire to be more open about death.

A new survey by charity Sue Ryder shows that, while people in Lancashire know how they would spend their last days on earth, few are preparing for them.

While nine in 10 people (90 per cent) knew what their last meal on earth would be, less than half this number (38 per cent) have written a will, the figures show.

A third of people in Lancashire (34 per cent) did not know that they can plan where they want to die, and less than one in ten (eight per cent) have made an advance care plan, a document which outlines a statement of preferences for end-of-life care.

Less than a quarter (24 per cent) have discussed their death with their loved ones, confirming that the stigma around the D-word remains.

The national healthcare charity Sue Ryder – which runs a neurological care centre at Cuerden Hall, Bamber Bridge, is calling on those in Lancashire to start talking about death.

Just under two-thirds (65 per cent) would want to spend their last day on earth in a familiar space, such as at home or place of worship and 17 per cent would head straight to the seaside. However, the reality is that their final days would likely take place in a hospital, a hospice or at home.

According to the findings, people living in Lancashire are clear on whom they would like to spend their final hours with; over half (56 per cent) would choose their partner, while almost one in five (19 per cent) would choose to spend their final hours with a pet.

Heidi Travis, Chief Executive at Sue Ryder, said: “We all need to start talking about the D-word. Many of us plan for weddings and births, holidays and careers, yet we still shy away from planning for our death.

“Death is inevitable for each and every one of us, but the period of time following a diagnosis of a terminal illness can be short, as well as incredibly emotional; don’t leave it until then to start planning.

“It may be easier to think about our ‘bucket list’ or the songs we want played at our funeral, but by taking the time to think about whether we would prefer to die in a hospice or at home, writing a Will, setting up a lasting power of attorney or making an advance care plan; it is possible to plan for a better death.

“We want to encourage everybody to talk about their plans with those close to them. Knowing what our wishes are and being able to support us in fulfilling them can bring great comfort to family and friends.”

Download Sue Ryder: A Better Death Guide by visiting sueryder.org/thedword