Dying Matters Awareness Week
What can we do?
This week is Dying Matters Awareness Week, a national campaign encouraging people to talk about death and bereavement, and to get their end of life plans in place, including making their funeral wishes known.
We’ve been encouraging our colleagues to get involved by either inviting people into our funeral homes or by going out into their communities to join in with other events taking place. There have been many activities taking place by our colleagues across the length and breadth of the country, here are just a couple of them:
Stubbington and Hedge End
Our teams in Stubbington and Hedge End have been holding a stall outside their funeral homes this week, offering tea, coffee and an ear to talk about end of life planning.
They’ve been encouraging the community to open up and talk about death and discussing the importance of putting your final wishes in place, either by including them in a funeral plan or noting them in your will.
Lee Tunnicliffe told us: “We’ve been encouraging everyone to speak up and talk about what they would want, so they can make sure that their final wishes come true.
“It’s very important and something very personal to me, as when my sister died she told me she’d put all her plans in place and had left her final wishes recorded. However, when she passed away we found she hadn’t and we had to make a best guess of what she wanted. Especially with something like music that can be so personal, it’s hard to know exactly what someone would have wanted if they haven’t spoken about it.”
Our funeral homes in Essex have been really busy, opening their doors to the public all week, with funeral directors on hand to talk with visitors. Essex County Council held a Dying Matters event at Chelmsford Cathedral where some of our colleagues had a stand. Their goal was to help people walk away with a better understanding of what happens and the care that is given to their loved one once they have passed. The day was a massive success with lots of people and organisations coming to ask questions about funeral care.
Colleagues across Aberdeen have been involved in a Open Day at WM Gilchrist funeral home, to talk to members of the public about starting the conversation. They were available throughout the day with coffee and biscuits to answer questions on funeral plans and funerals.
Regional manager, Neil Herd, was also involved, giving talks on end of life planning to local charities, Maggies and CLAN. Talking about the events, Neil said "I'm extremely passionate about this, as we need to help people have the confidence to know it's okay to talk about death."
Harrogate and York
Harrogate District Hospital hold a yearly event for Dying Matters Awareness. Based in the hospital's reception, a stand is placed for the whole of the week with palliative care teams, chaplains and community nurses, for anyone to ask questions or to buy one of the many cakes on offer. A few of our colleagues from Harrogate and York joined the stand for two days and were keen to break down some of the taboos surrounding death as well as talking to other professionals about ways they can work together to help serve the community better.
Thank you to everyone who got involved in Dying Matters Awareness events up and down the country.