Planning for the future
End of life care refers to health care of those with a terminal condition which has become advanced, progressive and incurable. People often want to spend their last days at home and this is usually possible with the right planning and support.
More people are starting to make 'end of life plans' to make it easier for others to support, and carry out their wishes, when the time comes.
You have the right to express your wishes about where you would like to receive care and where you want to die.
You can find more information on your rights to make decisions on the Compassion in Dying website
Talking to friends and family about end of life care
It goes against all of our instincts to plan for our death. Death can feel taboo, or scary. People have different attitudes towards death depending on their life experiences and culture. But talking about what you want today, makes it more likely that your wishes will be carried out in the future. It will also help your family to cope.
Talking about your end of life wishes:
- Choose the right time, when the person you want to talk to it not rushed or stressed
- Be totally open about how you feel from the start
- You may need to reassure the other person that you are not ill, or withholding anything from them
- Listen to what they are saying too
Talking to others about their end of life wishes:
- Look for a sign that the other person is open to talking about the future. They might mention retirement, or someone they know dying.
- You could start with a question: "have you ever wondered what would happen..."
- Independent Age has more advice on having difficult conversations with a relative
Sometimes we worry about hurting others by having difficult conversations. But people are more often hurt by the conversations that didn't happen.
Dying Matters has created a to do list around having conversations on end of life care.
End of life care plans
These have become more common, as more people aim to take control and have a 'good death'.
This includes thinking about:
- whether you want to be resuscitated
- living wills and lasting power of attorney
- decisions on treatments and interventions
- funeral and burial plans
Find more information on end of life care plans on the Compassion in Dying website , and end of life planning on the Age UK website.
The Money Advice Service has information about what to do when someone dies. If you are planning ahead, you may want to make sure that the people who will deal with your estate know where you keep relevant information like account numbers and other important papers.
Also known as end-of-life doulas, we have them when we are born, so why not when we die? Soul midwives are non-medical, holistic companions. They help ensure that death is dignified and peacefuI. More information.
Held all around the world, death cafes aim to increase awareness of death, so we make the most of life. They offer a space to talk openly and confidentially about death, with coffee and cake. Find your nearest death cafe.