Written by Director Gareth Coles:
Today marks the start of Dying Matters Awareness Week – a week dedicated to encouraging and helping people to talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement, and to make plans for the end of life. As you might expect, this is a mission that is very close to my heart – and motivates the whole team here at Coles Funeral Directors.
We all talk about leading a ‘good life’, with ‘good health’, and having a ‘good innings’. Let’s make a commitment to ourselves to have a ‘good death’ too. What a ‘good death’ is for one person will differ to the next – in exactly the same way that we all choose to live our lives differently. The key point here is ‘choice’.
The choices we can make in our end of life and death care are many and varied – but how many of us have proactively considered these choices, or shared our preferences with our loved ones?
The answer is ‘not many’: in fact, less than 25% according to some of the most recent research into Public Opinion on Death and Dying. We see this first hand at Coles, where around 1 in 3 people aren’t sure whether their loved one wants to be cremated or buried (and the report suggests this is the same for funeral homes across Wales and the UK). We also know how ‘End of Life’ care becomes an important subject for people who are terminally ill, or have a life limiting condition – but whatever our age and state of health, we should ensure our wishes are recorded, in case the unexpected should happen.
So why not take the first step today by considering these 3 things:
- How would you like to be cared for at the end of your life?
- Do you have a preference for who will care for you?
- Would you like any spiritual support?
- Are there any medical procedures that you do or do not want?
- Where would you prefer to die?
- At home or in your care home?
- In a hospice or hospital?
- Or somewhere else entirely?
- What do you want to happen when you die?
- Do you want your organs to be donated?
- What sort of funeral service would you like?
- Would you prefer traditional or non-traditional cremation or burial?
If you feel awkward about talking these things through with your family or friends – just know that you are not alone. Most people would prefer to talk about politics, religion or finances than they would about death!
Should you prefer to write your choices down and record them with us for when the time comes, please do make an appointment. We’re very used to talking about dying and death, and we’ll do everything in our power to put you at ease and give you peace of mind.