Funeral Attendance Across Generations: Bereavement Support for Young Adults

Funerals serve as milestones in our lives, marking moments of loss, remembrance, and communal support. Understanding the age at which individuals attend their first adult funeral gives us an insight into how different generations navigate experiences of grief and mortality.

A recent Linkedin study suggests that it’s crucial to move away from the misconception that grief support is only necessary for children, the middle-aged and older generations. Grief is a universal human experience, and individuals of all ages require support to navigate the emotional complexities of loss. By acknowledging the multifaceted nature of grief experiences, we can foster greater empathy and understanding within our communities, supporting one another through life’s inevitable transitions.

Study Overview:  At what age did you attend your first Funeral as an adult?

20-somethings (Gen Z): Research shows that an overwhelming 89% of respondents attended their first adult funeral during their 20s. This reflects the common experience of confronting mortality during young adulthood. This generation, known for its digital upbringing and social awareness, face unique challenges when encountering bereavement.

Over 30: A smaller but still notable 9% attended their first adult funeral after reaching the age of 30. This demographic may have experienced delays due to a limited exposure to loss or cultural differences in funeral customs.

40+ and in your 50s and beyond: Not surprisingly, only 2% of respondents reported attending their first adult funeral beyond the age of 39. However, by this age, most individuals may have already attended numerous funerals, diminishing the significance of a “first” experience.

Understanding the Trends:

Gen Z, born into an era of rapid technological advancement and societal change, face unique challenges when confronting bereavement. While they may be digitally connected, they can feel isolated in their grief, lacking the traditional support networks of previous generations.

Bereavement as a young adult can have profound psychological effects on individuals, including increased risk of depression, anxiety, and feelings of isolation. They are often navigating the complexities of adulthood amidst economic uncertainty and societal pressures, and may find it particularly challenging to process grief without adequate support.

Support for adults who have lost grandparents or beloved elderly relatives may be overlooked in traditional support systems. Raising awareness about the significance of skip-generation loss might help employers develop more compassionate workplace policies. This may include offering bereavement leave for employees who lose grandparents or other close family members, regardless of generational proximity.

Addressing the Needs of Gen Z:

It’s not surprising that most people attend their first adult funeral in their 20s. , and this highlights a crucial point: young adults face a significant risk of encountering loss for the first time, often with limited resources to navigate the emotional complexities of grief.

Unlike older adults who may have experienced multiple losses, young adults might be grappling with their first major loss. This lack of experience can make the grieving process even harder and these insights show the need for discussions on bereavement support, end-of-life planning, and the evolving attitudes toward mortality across the generations

Bereavement Resources:

Generation Z’s digital fluency can be leveraged by relevant online resources and support groups specifically tailored to their age and life experience; not too young but also not middle aged or older.

Though it seems there are no UK based apps or websites specific to the Gen Z demographic that provide access to virtual therapy sessions, grief journals, or resources to help young adults navigate the grieving process , “The Dinner Party”, is a US based bereavement support group for young adults, offering peer support, community, and understanding.

It provides a safe space to share experiences and emotions, reducing isolation and stigma. Through shared activities and long-term support, members find companionship and coping strategies, helping them navigate grief and rebuild their lives after loss.

In the UK many online platforms and organizations offer support groups, forums, and counselling services designed to address the needs and challenges when coping with loss across all age groups.

UK based Organizations:

Cruse Bereavement Care: offer free and confidential support services, including phone lines, online resources, and one-on-one counselling.

The Good Grief Trust:, useful information, helplines, advice and encouraging stories from others to help you in this most difficult of times and to find a way forward with your life.

AtaLos:, runs the widely acclaimed “The Bereavement Journey” peer support programme, for all bereavement circumstances, offered in 300 locations across the UK.

These resources can provide valuable support and guidance for Gen Z and 20-somethings as they cope with the challenges of bereavement.