Every year in May, Dying Matters and their coalition members host an Awareness Week. This gives us an unparalleled opportunity to place the importance of talking about dying, death and bereavement firmly on the national agenda.
This year the week will run from 14th to the 20th of May and we will be asking “What Can You Do… in your community?” During the week the public will be encouraged to discuss what they want for the end of their lives with those close to them.
There are five simple steps to make your end of life experience better, both for yourself and for your loved ones. These are:
Write your Will
Everyone over the age of 18 should have a Will in place which they should review every few years. There are legal requirements for a Will to be legally valid; it is not enough to make verbal promises or to write down how you would like to divide your estate. Make your wishes known within a valid Will. See our wills and probate pages for more information.
Record your funeral wishes
You want your loved ones to follow your final wishes. If you have specific preferences for the disposition of your remains and the nature of your funeral service, you can clearly express them in your funeral plan. By letting your family know how you’d like your funeral or memorial service to be, they’ll have less difficult and complicated decisions to make during an emotional time. Many websites exist to help you make a plan and also give you ideas that you had not thought of. One of them being on the Dying Matters website.
Plan your future care and support
It’s a good idea to think about and plan the care you might need in the future. The long-term cost of care can be significant. While none of us like to think we will become old, ill or disabled, it does happen. If you’re making plans for your future care, at whatever stage, it’s worth getting advice:
- Which? Elderly Care has good practical advice about social care for older people
- Citizens Advice has information on benefits, such as Attendance Allowance, if you’re sick or disabled
- Age UK has information on all aspects of care and support – you can also call the helpline on 0800 055 6112
- Independent Age has advice and support on social care – you can also call the helpline on 0800 319 6789
Consider registering as an organ donor
Becoming an organ donor only takes a few minutes if you register online. It can bring a lifetime of health and happiness to those who are waiting for a transplant. Your family will be asked to support organ donation when you die. Let them know you wish to donate your organs. Sadly, around three people every day die in need of an organ transplant.
Tell your loved ones your wishes
Dying with dignity means making sure those close to you carry out your dying wishes. For example, many people do not want to be on life support for an extended period of time or kept alive with no quality of life. Maybe you would prefer to be at home or somewhere completely different. If you don’t tell people they will not know and lack of knowledge could cause strife at a difficult time.
For more information about making a will, Lasting Power of Attorney or Estate Planning please get in touch with our Wills and Probate department.