Dying Matters - What can you do to help your loved ones

Last week we introduced Dying Matters Awareness Week where each year, Dying Matters and its coalition members aim to put the importance of talking about dying, death and bereavement firmly on the national agenda. With the 2016 campaign focused on ‘can we talk’ it highlighted difficulties we have in talking about death and encouraged people to share their wishes with their loved ones. With the 2016 campaign seeing record numbers of visitors to the website and the hashtag #BigConversation being used more than 16,000 during the course of the week-long event; this year Dying Matters focuses on ‘what can you do’ encouraging people to take 5 simple steps to plan for later life and help their loved ones. 

Share your wishes with you loved ones

We are all aware that death is inevitable however talking about it won’t make it happen. For some of us, talking about death may be uncomfortable and it’s not the most exciting topic but knowing what you want and talking about it can make it easier for your family to deal with when the time comes. In line with the 2012 Dying Matters Awareness Week, this video titled ‘I didn’t want that’ was released to illustrate that despite having the best intentions in the world, your family and friends may not be able to give you the funeral you want.

During the video, Dying Matters were quoted saying ‘if there are things you don’t want as well as things you do, you need to make plans’. 

Dying Matters

Often it’s beginning the conversation that’s the most daunting part however one of the best ways to begin is to use humour to make it easier. Using humour to make light of a difficult situation or indeed using topical stories in the media to share what you would like or what you wouldn’t, provides you with an opportunity to give your loved ones information for the future.

Have your Will professionally written

With recent figures identifying almost four in 10 people have no Will at all, this raises concerns around whether your assets will be shared as you intend. By having your Will written, you can specify where your assets will be shared when you pass away and this will not only leave you with peace of mind now, it undoubtedly makes it easier for your loved ones when the time comes. With almost £8 million being left to the Crown last year due to people dying intestate (without a Will) we share some key considerations when making a Will to get you started. 

Prepare with a funeral plan in advance

Have your savings grown 103% in the last 12 years? The cost of a funeral has. With the average cost of a funeral now sitting at £3,897 and projections estimating it could reach £12,749 by 2036, a funeral plan will not only give you peace of mind that it’s planned in advance, it ultimately reduces the financial pressures your family may face against rising funeral costs in years to come. All funeral plans purchased from Golden Charter lock in the funeral director’s services at today’s prices but above all, by having a funeral plan in place, you can outline exactly what you would like of your funeral ensuring there is no uncertainty.

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Future care considerations

Each day, there are people who can no longer make decisions by themselves due to mental incapacity such as dementia. To date there are 850,000 people in the UK diagnosed with dementia, set to rise to over 1 million by 2025 and one person is diagnosed every three minutes. With this in mind, it pays to have a Power of Attorney (POA) in place as it allow you to appoint someone to make decisions for you should you become unable to do so. You can find out more about Power of Attorney here or read our guide for choosing who to appoint as your Power of Attorney here.

Organ donor registration

With the UK having one of the lowest rates of organ donation consent in the whole of Europe, the UK strategy ‘Taking Organ Transplantation to 2020’ was introduced to bring organ donation consent up to 80% by 2020. However, despite their best efforts, in the last four years, the donation consent has only risen a mere 5% from 57%to 62% meaning almost 40% of families asked, did not agree to donate their loved ones organs.

However, if you did want to donate your organs – and your family were aware – figures have shown that more than 90% of families would agree to donation. If you would like to be an organ donor, make sure your wishes are known or register to become a donor here.

Although it is difficult to begin speaking with your loved ones, sharing your wishes with them when you can will save your loved ones stress in the long-term. Keep up to date with advice and guidance offered by Dying Matters Awareness Week running the 8th – 14th May.