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Take action: The Dying to Know campaign invites Australians to overcome their fears or discomfort around death and take action on end-of-life planning. Photo: Shutterstock

Nothing is certain except death and taxes, said Benjamin Franklin. However, many Australians are reluctant to plan or even talk about their end-of-life wishes.

Dying to Know Day is an initiative of The GroundSwell Projects. It is an annual campaign that empowers Australians at all stages of life to live and die well.

This year, the national campaign asks people of all ages and stages of life to prioritise compassionate conversations and 'get dead set' around the reality of death and dying - because it's going to happen to us all.

It outlines simple steps people can take around end-of-life planning, which is personal and unique to everyone.

People often feel ill-equipped to act or start a conversation ... Sadly, this can mean that end-of-life experiences are not aligned with an individuals values or wishes.

- Cherelle Martin, Dying to Know campaign manager

There are many benefits to planning for end-of-life; some include:

  • Have a 'good' death that reflects what matters in life.
  • Have conversations to ease the anguish of loved ones through death's distress, uncertainty, and finality.
  • Leave a positive legacy consistent with how we want to be remembered.
  • Have their lives celebrated/remembered the way they choose.

Cherelle Martin, Dying to Know campaign manager at The Groundswell Project Australia, said not talking about death and dying was a significant obstacle to improving how we live and die through end-of-life planning.

"Death is often over-medicalised and institutionalised. Our superstitions, fears, discomfort and lack of knowledge about dying affect our approach to end-of-life," Cherelle said.

However, we know that Australians think conversations about death are important.

"People often feel ill-equipped to act or start a conversation. The risk here for us all is that we do not have the knowledge or understanding around how to best support a loved one who is dying, caring or grieving.

"Sadly, this can mean that end-of-life experiences are not aligned with an individual's values or wishes.

"By normalising conversations around death and dying, Australians can 'get dead set'.

"This is an opportunity to continue to strengthen our collective approach to these important matters."