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Results

More than 1,900 people responded to Relationships Australia’s online survey in May, 2016.

Just under 80 per cent (77%) of survey respondents identified as female, with women outnumbering men in every age group (see figure below).  Just over four-fifths (82%) of survey respondents were aged between 20-59 years, with the peak response category capturing the views of women aged from 30 to 39 years.

The demographic profile of survey respondents remains consistent with our expectations of the groups of people that would be accessing the Relationships Australia website.

There were small but significant differences in the self-reported comfort levels of men and women when talking about death, dying and loss.  Women (42%) were more likely than men (37%) to report that they were comfortable rather than uncomfortable with talking about death, dying and loss.  Men (30%) were more likely than women (23%) to report they had no strong feelings with respect to talking about death, dying and loss (see figure 2).

Just over 35 per cent of women and 49 per cent of men reported that they had a written will, lower than the rates reported by other authors, including government bodies.

Around three-quarters of men and women who reported having a written will had discussed their will with their family.  women (74%) were slightly more likely to report that they had discussed their will with their family than men (72%).

Both men and women reported a strong preference for being cared for at home if they were dying, and at the end of their life, with women (60%) more likely to report they would like to be cared for at home than men (53%).  Men (24%) were more likely than women (18%) to report no preference for their end of life care (see figure 3).

When compared to making a Will, only a small minority of female (5%) and male (8%) survey respondents had written an advanced care directive or an end of life plan.  More than one-fifth (21%) of women and one‑quarter (28%) of men reported that they did not know about advanced care directives or end of life plans.  However, a larger minority of female (40%) and male (35%) survey respondents had spoken to their family and friends about the care they would want at the end of their life.

Relationships Australia State and Territory websites