Many still find it difficult to talk about death

The Bard of Barnsley, Ian McMillan.
Picture Scott Merrylees
The Bard of Barnsley, Ian McMillan. Picture Scott Merrylees
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People in Yorkshire are more open to talking about their death, or that of people close to them, than they were five years ago, but many still find it difficult and are failing to plan their affairs, research has shown.

Ahead of Dying Matters Awareness Week, which starts on Monday, new research suggests that 55 per cent of people in the region have become more comfortable talking about death - higher than the national average of 52 per cent - and more than a third, 36 per cent, have made a will.

More than two thirds, 68 per cent, say they would help someone organise or record their end of life plans, such as planning a funeral or arranging lasting power of attorney - but almost half, 47 per cent said talking or thinking about death scares them.

Claire Henry, chief executive of the National Council for Palliative Care and Dying Matters Coalition, which carried out the survey said: “Talking about death is nothing to be scared of, and won’t make it happen. We all need to start to have this big conversation as part of the way we plan and prepare for all the important things in life. And words need to be followed by action. We need to talk to our loved ones about what we want, sort our plans out, write them down and make sure people know where to find them.”

As part of Dying Matters week, ‘the Bard of Barnsley’, poet Ian McMillan has written a special poem which will be heard for the first time at an event at Leeds City Museum on Tuesday. Don’t Leave it Unsaid will then be shown on the big screen in Millennium Square.

Mr McMillan said: “I’m happy to support this campaign because dying is part of everyday life, and the more we talk about it the less scary it gets; and I’ve made a will because then my loved ones will have one less thing to think about when I’ve gone.”

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