Let’s talk: do we really want to talk about death? 167

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At Starts at 60, we tend to avoid the topic of mortality.

For a 60-year-old, the end is still likely decades away, with medical advances every day that promise to take that further. We see our 60s, 70s and beyond as a time of self-reinvention; of excitement; of indulgence; of living.

On the other hand, each and every one of us has dealt with the death of a loved one. It’s a devastating subject on which many members of our community have opened up to share their experiences. It’s a subject we’d all rather avoid, but the therapeutic value of sharing and planning – and, most importantly, knowing you are not alone – is undeniable.

As over 60s, do we really want to talk about death?

A new advertisement by the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority suggests we should.


The ad – now being rolled out by the South Australian Government – is a big change from the average funeral imagery of flowers and whiteness. Gently and indirectly, it encourages viewers to start thinking about their legacy.

CEO Robert Pitt says it’s “understandable” that most of us would rather react to death when it touches our lives, rather than actively talking about or planning for it.

“However, openly engaging in discussions around death, dying and the memorialisation of human remains should be a natural part of life. Planning ahead for death ensures that your final wishes will be honoured and family members saved from making difficult decisions at an emotional time”.

“Ultimately, we want this campaign to promote community education around life and death by encouraging people to feel comfortable thinking about their own mortality through honest and open conversations with their peers and loved ones. The brand campaign also serves to encourage people to reflect on what’s truly important in life, and to reinforce the importance of cemeteries as places to remember pre and post death”.

How does this ad make you feel? Are you comfortable with the idea of talking about death? And should we, as a community, be making more of an effort to discuss it?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Death is inevitable, we should talk about it before it happens!

    2 REPLY
    • Why? Every one dies. Just have your affairs ready. Why talk. You nor I have any idea what it will be.Why would you dwell on it. Unless life is unbearable. But even then what if its the only one you got! Big question hey?

  2. I think about this quite often, not morbidly, but just knowing that’s closer all the time. But others don’t seem to want to discuss this topic, even my own children (particularly them actually). Important to think about it, and plan too.

  3. It is funny to me that this ad comes from the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority because I won’t be taking any space in their lawns. My children know already that I want my ashes back to where I came from: the sea.

  4. I am really happy to talk to my family about my death and what I want to happen around the event – my funeral is organised and paid for, I have an Advanced Directive so that I will not linger in a vegetative state, and what is to happen to my effects and property is taken care of. However it is difficult to get my family to talk about it with me – death, at the end of a happy, productive life, is just the next step in living, wish it wasn’t such a hard topic to bring up and discuss!

  5. Not a nice thought as I have just arrived home from a funeral; someone taken too young but it is a sobering thought. Our funerals are paid for and wills intact but I suppose one must make wishes known re the actual funeral. My mother, bless her, had left detailed, hand written notes that left us all (8 siblings) in no doubt as to her wishes, even to the yellow roses and baby’s breath she wanted. My (now sadly also late) brother conducted her service and did her proud.

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