Health leaders at in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are encouraging people in West Leicestershire to make arrangements for what happens at the end of their life and make sure their wishes are known.
As part of Dying Matters Awareness Week, which runs from May 8-14, people are being urged to talk openly about dying, death and bereavement and to consider how they would like to be cared for.
Professor Mayur Lakhani, Chair of West Leicestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, and a working GP in Sileby, said “It’s extremely important that people have these conversations early, as there are still too many people who die without having made their wishes known.
“In order to make sure that you receive the care and support that you want, it is vital that you think ahead, be prepared and make the decisions that matter. Think about who you would want to speak for you if you were unable to do so, what kind of care would you want, and where you would like to be cared for. Then tell your loved ones, to make sure that they are aware.”
Research from ComRes, commissioned by Dying Matters in 2016, found that only 35% of British adults had made a will, and only 30% have discussed their funeral wishes. For the East Midlands, the research found that only 33% have made a will although 37% have discussed their funeral wishes.
The theme for this year’s Dying Matters week is “What Can You Do” as it challenges people to do something practical. This might be something for themselves, like making a will, or something for someone else who is bereaved, or caring for a dying relative. This could be something as simple as cooking a meal or walking the dog, but can make a huge difference to someone coping with death or bereavement.
Professor Lakhani continues “.We want people to actively make plans for themselves, share them with friends and family, support the bereaved and offer support and help to those who may need it. People shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help or to offer help. Talk to your GP practice and they will be able to help and advise you.”
The Dying Matters Awareness Week is supported by Leicestershire County Council. The county’s libraries have a ‘Reading Well’ books-on-prescription service which supports people through a range of health and wellbeing issues. For further information, visit: www.leicestershire.gov.uk/libraries