Over the next month you'll be seeing the hashtag #WhatCanYouDo? everywhere — and not just in our posts and those of our partners and contributors. Why? Because it is the campaign slogan of this year's Dying Matters Awareness Week. In this post we explain what you can do to help and why you should ...
What is the Dying Matters Awareness Week?
Originally funded by the Department of Health (with some continuing support from NHS England), Dying Matters Awareness Week has been running since 2009, when the National Council for Palliative Care) set up the Dying Matters Coalition to promote public awareness of dying, death and bereavement.
Who's involved in the Dying Matters Coalition?
Dying Matters is a coalition of 32,000 members across England and Wales. Its 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.
Why is there a need for Dying Matters and a Dying Matters Awareness Week?
Changes in the way society views dying and death have impacted on the experience of people who are dying and the bereaved. Society's lack of openness has affected the quality and range of support and care services available to patients and families. It has also affected people's ability to die where or how they wish.
The Dying Matters Coalition's mission is to help people talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement and to make plans for the end of life. To achieve this, dying, death and bereavement needs to be seen and accepted as the natural part of everybody's life cycle.
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. As they say in their literature:
"Talking about dying makes it more likely that you, or your loved one, will die as you might have wished and it will make it easier for your loved ones if they know you have had a 'good death'..."
To aid this, the coalition has been running an awareness week during May for the last 8 years. This year's week focuses on the topic "What Can You Do?" This aims to expand on conversation about dying, death and bereavement and get people actively planning and helping those who may need extra support.
What can you do for yourself during Dying Matters Awareness Week?
- You can make a Will
- You can plan your funeral
- You can decide on your future care wishes and document your decisions in a legal document called a Lasting Power of Attorney
- You can make the decision to donate you organs and ensure those who need to know, know that you wish for your organs to be donated
What can you do for your family during Dying Matters Awareness Week?
- You can encourage conversations about end of life care and death
- You can discuss decisions once you (or loved ones) have made plans about end of life care, Wills, funerals and other important financial matters
- You can offer support to those around your struggling with end of life care and bereavement
- You can share your digital legacy details (where those who need to know can find your relevant usernames, passwords and legal documents) with those who matter to you
What can you do for your friends during Dying Matters Awareness Week?
Simply having a discussion about the need for this week with any of your friends will help, but if you have friends who are struggling with end of life care or bereavement, you could make a hugely positive impact on their lives by simply:
- Offering to help with shopping or household chores
- Offering a lift if it is needed or you are able to
- Suggesting meeting for a drink
- Remembering that it is okay to not know what to say
What can you do for community during Dying Matters Awareness Week?
There are many ways you can help your wider community.
Dying Matters suggests:
- You can volunteer at a local hospice or charity
- You can offer to help with daily tasks
- You can start or get involved with a Dying Matters support group
You can off course, read and share the factsheets that Dying Matters will be publishing each day next week. These factsheets cover topics such as financial benefits, pain management, non-traditional funerals, managing bereavement in the workplace and talking to young people about dying, death and bereavement.
Dying Matters will also be hosting and posting daily Twitter and Facebook chats around these subjects.
Here at MyEstatePlanningExpert we'll be sharing all. We ask you to please, please, please get involved and start sharing too.
Why should you get involved in Dying Matters Awareness Week?
Because dying does matter and the simple act of talking openly about dying, death and bereavement enables others to benefit from the peace of mind that comes with knowing that their wishes will be honoured and their loved ones will be protected from any unnecessary grief ...