Let’s talk about dying…

Tellu / Pixabay

A cheery start to the weekend from the Office for National Statistics but there’s no escaping it as our eventual end fate, and it may be useful in helping some of us to adapt our lifestyles/habits. Of course, the stats are always behind the times, obviously.

It seems there were 506,790 deaths in England and Wales in 2013, up 1.5% since 2012. Ischaemic heart disease was the leading cause of death for males in 2013, which accounted for 15.4% of male deaths. The leading cause of death for females was dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, which accounted for 12.2% of female deaths during 2013, probably because females tend to live longer, I guess. The second leading cause of death in 2013 was lung cancer (malignant neoplasm of trachea, bronchus and lung) for males and ischaemic heart disease for females.

Over the course of the 20th century, there have been steady decreases in mortality rates for the main three broad disease groups (cancer, circulatory and respiratory) in England and Wales. The reasons for this include improvements in the treatment of these diseases, and the introduction of preventative programmes, such as the NHS Breast screening programme. More recently, there have been initiatives to improve people’s health through better diet and lifestyle such as, the Change4life campaign and Stoptober.

Leading causes of deaths registered in England and Wales, 2013


1 in 1,000 deaths were among children aged 1-4 in 2013
Around 0.1% of all deaths were among children aged 1-4 years old. The leading cause of death at this age was congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities (13% of boys and 14% of girls). These conditions are usually present at birth or develop shortly after, and include congenital heart defects. There were 22 cases of homicide and probable homicide in registered 2013, the 5th most common death for boys and 2nd for girls.

Land transport accidents leading cause of death for 5-19 year olds
The leading cause of death for both males and females aged 5-19 was land transport accidents, accounting for 13% of deaths at this age group. This was more common among males than females. Worldwide, males under the age of 25 are almost three times more likely to be killed in a car crash than females of the same age. Suicide is also one of the leading causes of death among this age group; the 2nd leading cause of death of males (112 deaths) and 6th for females (23 deaths).

Suicide and accidental poisoning leading cause of death for 20-34 year olds
Suicide (including injury/poisoning of undetermined intent) was the leading cause of death for 20-34 year olds (24% of men and 12% of women). Factors that could lead to these deaths include: traumatic experiences, lifestyle choices such as drug or alcohol misuse, job insecurity and relationship problems. For both sexes, accidental poisoning is also a highly common cause of death, followed by land transport accidents.

Breast cancer leading cause of death for 35-49 year old women
Suicide remains the leading cause of death for men aged 35-49, accounting for 13% of deaths. Breast cancer is the leading cause of death among women in this age group, accounting for 14% of deaths. However, it is the leading cause because women in this age group are relatively healthy and are therefore less likely to die of other causes. Breast cancer deaths in women aged 15-49 years only account for around 10% of all female breast cancer deaths.

Heart disease leading cause of death for men aged 50 and over
For those aged 50 and over, the leading causes of death for both men and women were long-term diseases and conditions. Cancer of the trachea, bronchus and lung is the number one cause for women aged 50-64, accounting for 11% of deaths in this group. Breast cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death for 50-64 year old women, accounting for 11% of deaths in this age group. Heart diseases are the leading cause of death for men aged 50 and over. Lifestyle choices and other conditions can lead to heart disease such as: smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s leading cause of death for women over 80
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease was the leading cause of death for women over 80 accounting for 17% of deaths and was the second leading cause for men causing 11% of deaths in this age group. Deaths from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are increasing as people live longer, and are more common in women as women live longer than men. The leading cause of death for men in this age group was ischaemic heart disease accounting for 15% of deaths, this was the second leading cause for women causing 11% of deaths.


On this very subject, funerals…

One of the world’s top websites specialising in grief and bereavement has ranked funerals as one of the top ten causes of family conflict in the event of a death of a loved one – ahead of custody of dependents and family relocations.

Whatsyourgrief.com has listed funerals as the seventh most common cause of dispute – ranking highly amongst other emotive issues such as money, how belongings should be divided, and decisions over end-of-life care.

Sources of disagreement range from should your loved one be buried or cremated? Where should the service be held? Where should their final resting place be? And who should and shouldn’t come to the funeral? These are just some of the issues that can result in an argument between grieving relatives of the deceased.

And with usually only one or two weeks to sort out the details decided and put the funeral plans in place it doesn’t leave much time for families with different ideas to reach a compromise.

However according to Catherine Powell, Customer Experience Director of Pure Cremation, there is no need for families to have to be subjected to such distress.

A direct or pure cremation is the simple separation of the cremation from the celebration of life which can then be held at a time and place to suit family and friends. It is an option which is growing in popularity as a more personal alternative to a traditional funeral.  Last time this was mentioned on this site, I gathered that local companies offer a similar service.

Ms Powell said: “Losing a loved one is arguably one of life’s most traumatic experiences. Emotions are running high and family arguments over conflicting ideas compound the stress and heartache we feel.
We are finding that while more and more people are making a positive choice to hold a direct cremation it also helps those families whose loved ones left no express wishes before they died.
Crucially a direct cremation gives mourners the time they need to think about what their loved one may have wanted, and reach agreement on a memorial or a celebration of life which perhaps incorporates input from everyone, enabling them to say goodbye in an appropriate way.”

In the US, direct cremations now represent more than 30% of funerals as more and more people are moving away from the traditional burials and cremations, instead opting for a simple, cost effective direct cremation.

Industry figures in the UK too are showing a ten-fold rise from 0.3 per cent in 2015 to 3.5 per cent last year.
Catherine added: “There may be a whole host of reasons why people may choose a direct cremation above a burial or more traditional cremation with a funeral, mourners, limousines and flowers.
For one there are many out there who simply do not want a fuss after they die. They would prefer their family save the cost of a full-blown funeral either to spend on themselves or to put towards a celebration of life for their extended family and friends. Essentially a direct cremation gives the bereaved the chance to have their loved one cremated within a reasonable time, without the pressure of trying to plan the perfect send-off in just a matter of days.”

Born out of increasing demand for a direct cremations service, Pure Cremation (a 24 hour service, may be useful if you have relatives living elsewhere) was established by former funeral director Bryan Powell, whose pedigree spans 30 years in the funeral industry – and his wife Catherine
The company’s pricing system is completely transparent also, with a simple fixed price cost structure to meet individual and geographical requirements.
For further details log on to https://www.purecremation.co.uk


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