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Death plan

If we make birth plans, why not make death plans too?

Photo of Marije Haas
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Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine the end-of-life experience?

It is my aim to make thinking and being involved in planning your own death acceptable.

Birth is a beautiful experience. We plan it, take classes and try and make it the best it can be for the baby, the mother and whoever else is involved. Sometimes birth is planned in the form of a c-section. Sometimes pain management is desired. Sometimes it happens in a bath. Sometimes it happens at home. Sometimes we can't control the circumstances, sometimes we can!

Why can we not do the same for death? Death can be a beautiful transcendent experience too. It will happen to all of us. Lets try and make the best of it.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Make a visual death plan app. Do people use it? What preferences do people have? How can we cater for those? I made very short questionnaire with regards to birth plans, I'd be grateful if you wanted to fill it out (for those who have given birth)

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

Service design approach to a death plan. What parties are involved, or should be? How can everyone be part of the plan?

Tell us about your work experience:

I am a communication designer.

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual


Join the conversation:

Photo of Nigel Corbett

Hi Marije,
I love the idea of a death plan. 
The parallels with birth plans and the processes of how we celebrate birth, babies and life are great.
We are all introduced to babies and birth from when we are very young. There are all sorts of children's stories talking about super babies, children, life and stuff, but not death. 
I wonder if, to be able to see death as the amazing thing it is, we need to treat it as we do life. 
Perhaps we need to include death more in children's stories, movies, culture, so that death becomes an equal and valuable part of life and not just the end.
Like a life plan, career plan, birth plan, we should integrate the death plan and change it from being a slightly taboo subject to being an acceptable and celebrated part of everyone's lives.
I realise that it's quite a big ask. But perhaps, with the goal of making death an equally significant part of life, it will enable us to alter how we approach the end of life of ourselves and our loved ones.
Thanks for your inspiration.

Photo of Marije Haas

Thanks Nigel for your thoughts. These are all great ideas, maybe slow to implement, but losing the stigma around death must be a multi-pronged approach I should think.

Photo of Nigel Corbett

Hi Marije, I found this video on the interwebs. He talks about using your funeral, who you want at your funeral and what you want them to say as a planning tool for life. Check it out if you get some time :

Photo of Marije Haas

Hi Nigel Corbett , interesting link, thanks for sharing. A wonderfully practical way to live a quality life... ? It is good that he mentions that this is really useful for the people attending the conference, the so-called elite. Sadly it will not be possible for everyone to decide to work less, spend more time with the kids, etc. Though, surely, that should be an essential human right. Either way, really happy to see such a practical approach; thanks!

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