Talk more, plan more
Although we know that death eventually comes to us all, it used to be far more visible in our society. Where most deaths once happened at home, people are now most likely to die in hospital or residential care and this separation of daily life and dying seems to have made talking about death difficult.
The problem with not talking about your own death is, when the end comes, no one can be sure what you really wanted. More than two thirds 1 of us think that if people were more comfortable talking about dying it would be easier to have our end-of-life wishes fulfilled. Eight out of ten 1 people say they have strong wishes about how they would like to be treated at the end of their life, but less than 20 percent 1 of us have asked our nearest and dearest about their end-of-life wishes.
That fact puts the onus on us all to talk about, and plan for, our own end of life. Not talking doesn’t change the fact that, one day, the consequences of our passing will need to be dealt with. Actually, not talking will make it more difficult for friends and family when the time finally comes.
Starting the conversation
Using humour - a joke about how you want to be remembered - can be one way to break the ice and start the conversation. Talking about your wishes following the recent death of a celebrity or someone in the news can be another starting point. Even just saying what you don’t want for yourself can be a good way to start. One thing is for sure, talking about dying won’t make it happen.
Starting the conversation creates the opportunity for you to get your plan in place. And there’s plenty to talk about…
- Making a Will and planning your inheritance to avoid disputes or disagreements.
- How and where you want to be cared for.
- Who should be given authority to make decisions on your behalf if you’re no longer able.
- What kind of funeral you want and how you are planning to pay for it.
Having a conversation with friends and family now, however difficult, will make it easier for them in the long run… and make sure your wishes are taken care of.
1 Comres/Dying Matters ‘Public Opinion on Death and Dying’, 2015