HEALTH AND CARE: Before I die I will...

In this week’s article we wanted to talk about a subject that many people find hard to talk about – the end of our lives, dying.

Talking about death and dying can be hard because we don’t want to think about a time when we may no longer be around.

But to plan ahead and to talk about it with loved ones can make a huge difference when the time comes.

This week is Dying Matters Awareness Week, a national campaign, which wants to get as many people as possible thinking, talking, and taking action about death, dying and bereavement.

The theme for the annual week campaign is ‘What Can You Do?’ and it aims to get people more active in planning for dying and death, and helping support those who may need it in times of grief and bereavement, be they friends, family or in your wider community.

What is crucial is that talking about our wishes now doesn’t mean that it is going to happen, and talking about the end of our lives isn’t going to bring it on, we can still live, and importantly, live well, in the knowledge that our loved ones know our wishes.

Too often in health services we see the impact of people not having talked about what their wishes are, and this can be upsetting, distressing and frustrating for loved ones trying to make decisions in what is already a very stressful time.

Talking about these things early, and actually when they are not relevant or necessary, doesn’t have to be sad or depressing.

Everyone can know exactly what your wishes are which is so important, especially if you become unable to communicate them for yourself.

It can also be reassuring and comforting for your loved ones that they are confident in knowing what you want.

There are five simple steps to make our end of life experience better for both for us and for our loved ones.

These are:

• Write your will.

• Record your funeral wishes.

• Plan your future care and support.

• Consider registering as an organ donor.

• Tell your loved ones your wishes.

So, this week take the time to have think about ‘What Can You Do’ and talk with your family and friends so they can get it right for you and for them.

Read more about the campaign at www.dyingmatters.org

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