Despite all the hysteria about ‘death panels’, there is a critical need for each and every one of us to thoughtfully consider end-of-life plans. It’s an uncomfortable subject for most people. But avoiding the subjects of where we want to spend our final days and how, what kind of services we want held, and how we want to be remembered will not make them go away.
Dying Matters is a UK-based nonprofit coalition. This is from their website:“In 2009 the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC) set up the Dying Matters Coalition to promote public awareness of dying, death and bereavement. Our members include organisations from across the NHS, voluntary and independent health and care sectors (including hospices, care homes, charities supporting old people, children and bereavement); social care and housing sectors; a wide range of faith organisations; community organisations; schools and colleges; academic bodies; trade unions; the legal profession and the funeral sector.
The Coalition’s Mission is “to support changing knowledge, attitudes and behaviours towards death, dying and bereavement, and through this to make ‘living and dying well’ the norm". This will involve a fundamental change in society in which dying, death and bereavement will be seen and accepted as the natural part of everybody’s life cycle.
Changes in the way society views dying and death have impacted on the experience of people who are dying and bereaved. Our lack of openness has affected the quality and range of support and care services available to patients and families. It has also affected our ability to die where or how we would wish.
The Dying Matters Coalition is working to address this by encouraging people to talk about their wishes towards the end of their lives, including where they want to die and their funeral plans with friends, family and loved ones.”
May 16-22 is “Dying Matters Awareness Week”. On their website, www.dyingmatters.org, you will find materials and resources for helping make those important decisions: for yourself, your family and even your friends.
Pledge to never again say “I didn’t know what they wanted.”