What is Dying Matters Awareness Week?

We have been writing about Dying Matters every May for several years, updating the current year’s aims and activities for this annual effort to raise public awareness of the issues surrounding death and dying.

In 2019, Dying Matters Awareness Week will run from May 13th until May 19th. Past awareness weeks have focused on the need to talk about death under the banner of the ‘Big Conversation’, encouraging everyone to talk more openly about death and dying, and have asked ‘What can you do?’, focusing on how we can help others face up to the challenges of death and bereavement.

This year, Dying Matters poses the question, “Are we ready?” and will look at how people can prepare to help others deal with issues from funeral costs to memorials, issues of inclusion, diversity and people without family support and even the grief of losing a pet.

The Dying Matters Coalition

Dying Matters was set up 10 years ago by the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC), bringing together a diverse range of groups from health care, the charity sector, faith groups, education and the professions.

This ‘coalition’ set out to help people be more open about dying, death and bereavement and encourage them to make end of life plans. Dying Matters says, “Our lack of openness has affected the quality and range of support and care services available to patients and families. It has also affected our ability to die where or how we would wish.”

After 25 years advocating to bring palliative and end of life care into the mainstream, and ensure that everyone gets access to good end of life care the NCPC merged with Hospice UK In July 2017. The merger brought together two of the biggest end of life charities in the UK.

Now under the Hospice UK banner, the Dying Matters coalition remains as active as ever and its mission continues to be to bring about a fundamental change in society in which dying, death and bereavement will be seen and accepted as the natural part of everybody’s life cycle.

Annual awareness week

The annual awareness week is a high-profile focus for Dying Matters’ ongoing work to encourage the public to talk with friends, family and loved ones about their end-of-life wishes, including where they want to die and their funeral plans.

A mix of national and local activities creates an ‘unparalleled opportunity’ to get the importance of talking about dying, death and bereavement back on the national agenda.

With this year’s campaign, Dying Matters is challenging us to think about whether we are ready for our own deaths, or the deaths of those we care about. Practical concerns from wills to funeral planning will be addressed, but also emotional and even spiritual issues.

No matter how we answer, Dying Matters strongly believes that questions about the end of life are best faced with the help of others. Groups across the country will be offering information and support at almost 250 events all over the UK between May 13th and 19th, helping the public tackle questions like: 

  • Are We Ready to help others get their affairs in order?
  • Are We Ready to help people we know who are caring for someone who is dying?
  • Are We Ready to support someone who is grieving?
  • Or even something as simple as “Are We Ready to talk about it?”

The week will feature daily topics to generate more specific conversation and give people a chance to ask questions or share their experiences. This year’s daily topics are:

  • Monday 13th - Funeral costs
  • Tuesday 14th - Memorialisation
  • Wednesday 15th - Grieving for a pet
  • Thursday 16th - Support for those who are estranged from/have no family
  • Friday 17th - Diversity and inclusion at end of life

You can find Dying Matters’ Awareness Week events near you on the Dying Matters website, or if you can’t get along to an event in person, you can follow along online on social media. On Twitter, follow @DyingMatters and the hashtags #DyingMatters and #AreWeReady. You can also keep an eye on what’s happening on Facebook and Instagram.

Planning for your funeral is part of being ready for your end of life. Find out more about how you can plan for your funeral with Golden Charter. Request a free, no obligation information pack or call 0800 111 4514.