Dying Matters Awareness Week
08/05/2014Monday 12 – Sunday 18 May 2014 has been designated Dying Matters Awareness Week across the UK, to encourage people to talk openly about dying, death and bereavement.
Dying Matters Week encourages everyone to take five simple steps to make their end of life experience better, both for themselves and for their loved ones. The five steps are:
1. Write your will
Writing a will allows you to set out who gets what after you die. A will may also include names of guardians who you would want to care for your children, if you were to die. Having a will is the only way you can be sure that your wishes are carried out and it avoids leaving difficult legal problems behind for your family.
2. Record your funeral wishes
Planning ahead and making your wishes known helps you have the funeral you would want and saves your family and friends the stress of trying to guess what you would have wanted.
3. Plan your future care and support
Talking to your family and health and care professionals about the sort of care you would like in the future. You don’t have to be ill or dying to think about what you would or wouldn’t want and, remember, you can change your mind about what you would want.
4. Consider registering as an organ donor
Signing the register and talking to your family about your wishes could help save the lives of up to seven people. Every year, around 15 people in Northern Ireland die waiting for an organ transplant.
5. Tell your loved ones your wishes.
Talking about dying often isn’t easy but it can allow you to get on with making the most of life. Do discuss your wishes with those close to you and if you have important documents about your wishes, keep them in a safe place and let loved ones know where they are.
To coincide with Dying Matters Week, the Public Health Agency and Macmillan Cancer Support are publishing a booklet entitled ‘Your life and your choices: plan ahead’. This free booklet provides information to help with various aspects of planning for your future including: making a will, organ donation, advance care planning and funeral planning for people living in Northern Ireland. The booklet also contains useful information on involving people who are close to you, such as your family and friends in your future plans.
Angela McVeigh, Director of Older People and Primary Care at the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, says: “The booklet ‘Your life and your choices: plan ahead’ is an excellent resource to support all of us in planning for the future. We should all plan for our future care as there are actions you may want to take. Planning is important in the event you ever become unable to make decisions for yourself. If you have planned ahead and discussed your wishes with your family and friends, and health professionals, they can take your wishes into consideration when making decisions on your behalf.”
Copies of the booklet can be ordered from be.macmillan.org.uk using Order Code MAC14376. Further information, including access to a range of leaflets which are designed to help everyone, whatever their situation, to begin conversations about end of life issues can be found on www.dyingmatters.org and www.thinkahead.ie