Now is the time to talk about death and dying, so you can get on with living

You may be listening to all the Coronavirus news, which changes day by day, wondering how you and those you love may be affected.  You may be worried because you are elderly, frail, vulnerable and with underlying health condition and suddenly your mortality is at centre stage.  You may be fit and healthy but fearful as to how you and those you love may be affected as the situation unfolds.

One thing is for sure and hasn’t changed, Coronavirus or not, our mortality is unavoidable.  Some of us will have plans in place already as to what medical interventions we want, don’t want, where we would want to be and how we would want to be cared for if we were seriously ill.   Many of us don’t have written plans.  Whilst death and dying is so much in our daily lives now is the time to sit down over a glass of wine, a beer or a cup of tea and talk to those you love about these things and then to write it down.

You can listen here to why Greg Wise, fit and healthy (and famous!), has made his plan, for how he would want this death and dying to be – he describes it as ‘an act of love’.

Doctors and Nurses are about fixing health problems that can be fixed but there are some health issues that cannot be fixed by machines, powerful drugs and medical prowess.  Sometimes an illness is so aggressive or a person is so frail that medical treatment cannot cure but rather cause harm and distress.   You can avoid having things done to you that you don’t want by completing your own personal plan.

Now is the time to talk about what you would want and to write it down. This is when your plan becomes so is very important it details what you would and would not want so the medical profession know your wishes and preferences. Would your 90-year-old Father want to spend the last days of his life in an Intensive Care Unit when he could have died in comfortable surroundings with the people he loves?   Would you as a dying person want to spend time in a hospital that is overstretched waiting to be transferred to a hospital bed if that could be avoided?  What if you could not speak for yourself and others are making decisions on your behalf which fly in the face of the decisions you would make if you were able to communicate them?

What you can do

Make an Advance Decisions, an Advance Statement –how you would like your dying to be: do you want to have a Lasting Power of Attorney; have you got a Do Nor Resuscitate Form; do you know what questions to ask the healthcare professionals to get the information you need to make the right decisions for you?   Plan for what you want to happen after you die your Will, your funeral,  whether or not you want to donate your organs, can people access your online presence and accounts, where are all your important papers that others will need?

There is support and help available to make your Advance Plan with a great website.

Or you can contact us to arrange to talk to a Doula about how you can go about making your plan.

Living is precious and perhaps best appreciated when we live with the end in mind.

Dr Kathryn Mannix from her book With the End in Mind