The theme of Dying Matters Awareness Week 2014 is “You only die once”, or #YODO, an action-focused phrase emphasising that we only get once chance to have our dying wishes met, which is why it’s vital to talk, plan and make arrangements for the end of life – before it’s too late. Dying Matters will be encouraging members of the public to take five simple steps to make their end of life experience better, both for them and for their loved ones. These are:
- Write your will
- Record your funeral wishes
- Plan your future care and support
- Consider registering as an organ donor
- Tell your loved ones your wishes
Angela Ireland, Chartered Legal Executive in Steeles Law’s wills, probate and tax team, said: “We are proud to support Dying Matters Awareness Week. We look after many local clients who want to ensure that their future wishes are taken care of – whether these relate to protecting their family finances, or important decisions regarding their own care and well-being. We would encourage people of all ages to discuss these issues with their families, and give careful consideration to making a Will, Lasting Power of Attorney and Advance Decision.”
Steeles Law is one of 30,000 members of the national Dying Matters Coalition, all of whom have an interest in supporting the changing knowledge, attitudes and behaviours towards dying, death and bereavement. Members include organisations from the health and care sectors, community groups, social care and housing, faith groups, the legal profession and the funeral sector.
Set up by the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC) in 2009, the Dying Matters Coalition aims to encourage people to talk about their own end of life issues with friends, family and loved ones in order to make “a good death” possible for the 500,000 people who die in England each year.
Research for Dying Matters has found that many people have specific wishes about their end of life care or what they would like to happen to them after their death, but a reluctance to discuss these issues makes it much less likely that these will be met. There is a major mismatch between people’s preferences for where they would like to die and their actual place of death: 70% of people would prefer to die at home but more than half currently die in hospital.
Claire Henry, Chief Executive of the Dying Matters Coalition and the National Council for Palliative Care said: “Every minute someone in England dies, but many people still feel uncomfortable talking about end of life issues. Talking about dying, death and bereavement is in everyone’s interests as it can help ensure that all of us can get the care and support we want, where we want it, at the end of our lives. Through being more confident in talking about dying and taking the five steps we are promoting during Dying Matters Awareness Week to plan for the future, we can make a big difference.”
Steeles Law is holding a free Legal Clinic at its Diss offices on Friday 30 May, with pre-bookable 15 minute consultations available between 3.00 and 6.00pm. Please contact 01379 652141 to make a booking to discuss any of the matters mentioned above with a legal professional.