As a leading provider of End of Life Care and a member of the Dying Matters Coalition, The Stocks Hall Nursing and Care Group are proud to have supported Dying Matters Awareness Week which encourages everyone to talk more openly about death, dying and bereavement.
New research for the Dying Matters Coalition shows that the majority of people in Britain have not discussed or made any plans for when they die. Discussing and considering preferences can help to make a plan, which could be helpful in the future. Whether it is through sharing wishes with someone close, registering to become an organ donor, writing a will, considering taking out a funeral plan or making an effort to speak to someone who has been recently bereaved, members of the public can take small actions that make a real difference.
During the week, The Stocks Hall Nursing and Care Group have been actively promoting Dying Matters Awareness Week at their Skelmersdale Care Home and across West Lancashire.
An awareness raising event themed around butterflies was held on Tuesday, May 13 and was well attended by the local community. Opening the event was the local Council's Champion for Older People, Councillor May Blake. May said: "These are issues that we will all face at some point, and it's only through being more confident in talking about dying, and taking small actions to plan for the future and support each other, that we will be able to ensure we receive the care we would want at the end of life, and that our final wishes are met."
Dr Katherine Froggatt, Researcher and Lecturer from Lancaster University, was one of a number of speakers who presented at the event. She discussed how we can prepare as individuals, how we can find ways to support each other and individual and community preparation in our final moments. Dr Katherine Froggatt said: “Given that we all encounter dying in our lives, either of people around us, and eventually our own, considering what we can do to prepare as individuals and the role of the wider community is vitally important.”
Over an afternoon buffet, through the generosity of Stocks Hall, members of the public were able to speak openly and honestly about their wishes. There was an opportunity to gain relevant information from a number of exhibitors, which included Age UK, Help Direct, Co-operative Funeral Care and Goddard Smith Solicitors.
The British Social Attitudes research released to coincide with Dying Matters Awareness Week finds encouraging signs that older people are increasingly taking action to make their end of life wishes more known but that most people are leaving it too late to face up to their own mortality. This is despite the fact that almost two-thirds of us (63 per cent) have been bereaved in the last five years. As the elderly population in the UK grows death is inevitably going to become increasingly an issue of greater importance. Although talking about death is not easy, the more we can do so, the more chance we have of improving people’s chances of dying with their wishes and needs being met.
To signify the close of the event, home-grown butterflies were released as a unique way to honour and remember loved ones. Sue King, Home Manager said “The butterfly has long been a symbol of freedom, love and new life or the beginning of a new journey and here at Stocks Hall we wanted a very special way to symbolise a journey. Although we live much longer than the butterfly, life is fleeting and time moves quickly. Butterflies teach us to enjoy the present moment and make the most of our existence here on earth. They also remind us that death is just another transformation.”
During the event, a raffle took place and all donations are to be passed on to Queenscourt Hospice in Southport which is a local charity that provides care and support for patients with serious illnesses, enabling them to achieve the best possible quality of life at each new stage.
The Stocks Hall Nursing and Care Group wish to thank everybody who has contributed to this event in any way and making it so special and memorable for all.