A report launched yesterday by older people’s charity, Independent Age, has found that 7 out of 10 people (of all ages) say they are comfortable talking about death, but less than 1 in 4 actually do it. The charity wants more work to be done to remove the stigma from talking about death and bereavement and is urging older people to start having conversations with their friends and family about their end-of-life plans. To support the report, the charity has launched a new advice guide which covers all aspects of planning for the end of life.

End-of-life planning isn’t just about funeral planning and writing a will. It is about thinking about where you might want to live if you can no longer look after yourself; making plans for health and care, as well as finances; and ensuring loved ones know what you want to happen, and have the authority to make it happen. It’s about someone taking control of their own future to give themselves and their family peace of mind, whether they know they are nearing the end of their life or are simply planning for the future

Geoffrey, 93, from Ipswich, says, “Receiving a terminal diagnosis was devastating for both me and my family. It wasn’t easy, but we’ve talked about everything from where I want to die to what happens after my death. I hope this will make it easier for them when the inevitable happens. When my sister-in-law was seriously ill she had a lot of decisions made for her, and I wanted to make sure that I can make these decisions for myself. I would encourage all families to talk to each other about what they want to happen at the end of their lives. It’s comforting to know that my wishes will be met.”

The free guide, called Planning for the end of life: Thinking ahead now for peace of mind later, provides practical information with step-by-step advice on topics such as where to find support when making plans for the end of life; what financial support may be available; and what to think about when planning, including health and care, where to live, funeral plans and finances and property.

Janet Morrison, Chief Executive of Independent Age, says, “No one likes to think about their own death, much less talk about it, but it’s important to make your wishes known. It can be uncomfortable – none of us actually wants to plan for the end of our life – but it’s worth doing, so you and your loved ones have peace of mind that you’ve told them what you want to happen in advance. To help you make those difficult decisions, we’ve brought out a new, free advice guide, called Planning for the end of life, which will take you through the process.”

Planning for the end of life is free to order and download from independentage.org/endoflifeplanning or can be ordered for free by calling 0800 319 6789. Those who need help with their planning can call the charity’s Helpline on 0800 319 6789 to arrange to speak to an adviser.

The guide is being launched ahead of a new campaign by Independent Age that will encourage people to talk about death and bereavement. Independent Age has a range of information and advice available on related topics.

The charity also has a free guide available called Coping with bereavement: Living with grief and loss. The guide is designed to help people understand why they might be thinking and feeling a certain way after the death of someone close and offers advice on where to find comfort and support.