The initiative, run by The GroundSwell Project, is now in its fifth year and boasts almost 400 events nation-wide, all aimed at ‘bringing to life’ conversation and community action about death, dying and loss.
Director of The GroundSwell Project Kerrie Noonan says Dying to Know Day and the month-long events are for people of all ages to get involved in the conversation about end of life.
“People and organisations across Australia, New Zealand and beyond host an event in their local community or workplace to get people talking about, and planning better, for end of life and death,” she says.
“Anyone can host an event - it can be private, public, or even in your workplace to get your colleagues talking.
“We encourage people to keep it simple and each year we see people host everything from small discussion groups at work, lunch with their friends at home, or art exhibitions, death cafes and workshops.”
Research statistics show that Australia’s population is ageing with Australia’s Bureau of Statistics projecting 9.6 million people will be over the age of 65 by 2064; a factor that Ms Noonan says is a huge motivator for the initiative.
“The ageing population is one part of the reason that Dying to Know Day is important,” she says.
“We want to see a world where everyone knows what to do when someone is dying or grieving.
“It is important that we have death literacy and can plan ahead, but it is also important that we know how to support each other.
“A lot of families are caring for children and ageing parents and it would be a big difference if we were end of life planning as well as we were planning for births and other important life events.”
Each of the nearly 400 registered events will cover different topics and various levels of the conversations but Ms Noonan says it is up to the individual what they get out of their participation.
“If someone is new to end of life planning and death literacy they may find there are so many more options out there than they realised,” she explains.
“They might have some of their preconceptions about talking about death shaken up a bit too.
“We have had thousands of people participate over the years and people are always glad that they can talk about death freely.
“People and organisations use Dying to Know Day to engage with their local communities and to share stories and expertise – it’s a great community event despite the topic.”
For the first time, Dying to Know Day will take over Melbourne’s Federation Square for a free event.
“The program is amazing and includes Sue Pieters-Hawke, Dr Leah Kaminsky, Imogen Bailey and 25 stall holders from funeral directors to planning services,” Ms Noonan says.
Host your own event, find an event near you or find out more about Dying to Know Day and all available resources online.