Today we launched a report detailing the impact of bereavement on home life in Ireland, including the impact on employment, health and the overall financial burden.
The study which completed in early 2022 was supported by a grant from the Department of Social Protection. It included interviews and focus groups undertaken by researchers at University College Cork (UCC) and a national survey of 1,000 people asking them about their experiences of bereavement, conducted by UK firm European Economics.
Dr. Caroline Dalton, Director of BSc Undergraduate Nursing and Midwifery Education, at UCC says:
“Speaking to those who have been bereaved about the impact of the death on all aspects of their lives has highlighted some key issues. There is significant stigma and reluctance to talk about who pays for a funeral and this may be preventing people from accessing supports that they may be entitled to. Honouring the person who died and ensuring that they get a good send-off is hugely important, with 75% of respondents feeling there is a lot of pressure to provide a decent funeral. But beyond that, we noted that over half of people in employment changed their work arrangements following a death while 37% of bereaved people said their health had been affected.”
The report found that the long-term financial impact of bereavement at a societal level permeates down and there needs to be a recognition of the need to invest in services and supports for bereaved people. It also highlighted that bereavement and grief are significant issues in workplaces with 67% of all the respondents saying that they were aware of people who have struggled to perform or be productive in work after someone dies.
Orla Keegan, Head of Bereavement & Education at Irish Hospice Foundation says:
“Not all of the financial costs of bereavement are apparent in the days and weeks immediately after a death. Changes in household income and the financial aspects of the impact of bereavement on employment and psychological wellbeing may take some time to manifest and can have long lasting effects. In the absence of a Government led national policy on bereavement, IHF are making people aware of the importance of planning ahead for their own funeral and the positive impact it can have on their loved ones. In addition, signposting people to the financial and emotional supports that are available means more people will have the opportunity to access the state supports they are entitled to, which has the potential to ease a large burden. We would also advocate that access to support and counselling at a community level should be made available, to ensure those that are experiencing complications in their grief are supported and comforted”.
Read more about The Real Financial Impact of Bereavement report