“Talking about death doesn’t bring death closer. It’s about planning for life, helping us make the most of the time we have.” Hospice UK, 2020
Nearly a quarter of UK adults are uncomfortable thinking about their own death and end of life issues. Three quarters (74%) of people haven’t written down their wishes or told people what they would prefer at the end of life. Talking about death is never easy, but talking about it with those close to us is important to ensure our or their wishes for the end of life are met.
Last week (10-16 May) was Dying Matters Awareness Week, an annual event that provides organisations, individuals, and families with an opportunity to talk openly about dying and bereavement.
The focus of this year’s awareness week, which is organised by Dying Matters (part of Hospice UK), was on the importance of being in a good place to die because where people die is changing. More and more people have been dying at home in recent years. And the Covid-19 pandemic has seen this number rise by tens of thousands.
When asked, more than four in five people say they would prefer to die at home, but not enough is known about the reality of what this looks like, and there is very little evidence about the quality of those deaths and whether the right care and support was in place. What is known is that the quality of care for some people at the end of their life is still not good enough.
There is no right or wrong place to die; it will be different for everyone. But it is important for families to think about it, talk about it, and plan for it. Planning for death is more important than ever in a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has taken so many lives at such short notice and in circumstances that are beyond our control.
Dying Matters want people of all ages to be in a good place when they die – physically, emotionally, and with the right care in place. This is something we at the National Aspergillosis Centre support, but getting there means having some important conversations and taking some careful decisions.
Dying Matters has many helpful resources, ensuring that you and your loved ones are in a good place to die.
You can visit their website here.
They have several leaflets available for download: