The aim of the week is to encourage everyone to have conversations and make plans to ensure they are in a good place when they die – physically, emotionally, financially and with the right care in place.
The very sad events of the past year and the number of families who have experienced the unexpected death of a loved one has often highlighted how difficult it can be for families if they have not had conversations about their loved one’s wishes.
Dying Matters Awareness Week encourages everyone, whatever their age or state of health, to start thinking about their own wishes and to have conversations about it with those close to them.
Rennie Grove Hospice Care gives adults and children in Buckinghamshire and west Hertfordshire who have a life-limiting illness the choice to live as well as possible at home surrounded by family, friends and the things that matter to them most right until the end.
Debbie Playford, Senior Family Support Therapist at Rennie Grove explained: “Through our work with those who are nearing the end of life and the support we provide for families before, during and after bereavement, we know how valuable these conversations can be.
“One of the main aims of Rennie Grove is to give people a choice about where they want to die and for many this is at home, surrounded by the people, possessions and pets that are precious to them. We can support people to make this possible.”
Rennie Grove’s hospice at home nurses work alongside other healthcare professionals to encourage families to talk and prepare an Advance Care Plan.
This focuses on capturing wishes about the care they would like to receive, where they want to die and on all the plans and preparations that will help minimise stress at a difficult time.
Debbie added: “We encourage our families to think about practical preparations from making a Will and funeral plans to financial planning and how to manage your digital legacy.
"You’d be surprised how many people haven’t considered what will happen to their social media accounts or all the photos and other important documents they have stored on their laptop or in the cloud.
“Death is a natural part of life and the taboos that we have about discussing it can make losing a loved one even more difficult.
"Please take some time during this week to think about what you could do to make it easier for your loved ones when you die.”
A spokesperson for Rennie Grove added: “If you have any questions about having conversations with your loved ones or about death or dying generally, Rennie Grove is holding two virtual Death Cafes on Wednesday 12 May at 11am and 3pm. Please go to www.renniegrove.org/deathcafe to sign up to take part.”
Hertfordshire based End of Life Charity, the Anne Robson Trust, is also encouraging people to speak about death during the awareness week.
On Tuesday, May 11, from 10am till 11.30am and on Wednesday, from 2pm till 3.30pm they are holding Time to Talk online workshops.
To support Dying Matters awareness week the trust has a shorter Time to Talk workshop aimed at helping people to begin to think about, talk about and plan for last wishes at the end of life.
For more details about what the Anne Robson Trust is doing this week, visit the charity's website.
At the end of the workshops, members of the Anne Robson Trust Team will remain available on line to continue to chat further should any participants wish to talk.