Dying Matters Week 2021

In a good place to die

Where people die is changing. More and more people have been dying at home in recent years. And the pandemic has seen this number leap by tens of thousands. There is no right or wrong place to die, it will be different for everyone. But it is important for families to think about it, to talk about it and to plan for it so their loved ones are in a good place to die.

Local West Sussex resources such as live webinars are available from: www.westsussexwellbeing.org.uk/topics/being-social/compassionate-communities 

Top 6 things everyone should plan for:

1. Make a will

Writing a will allows you to plan what happens to your money and possessions after you die. You can also let people know about your funeral wishes. Having a will in place also makes it easier for your loved ones to cope after you’ve gone. If you die without a will, your possessions will be allocated according to set rules, rather than according to your wishes. You can get started writing a will yourself with booklets and packs available from banks, shops and supermarkets. It is usually best to go over your will with a solicitor to make sure all is well.

2. Make a funeral plan

There are lots of different funeral options available, and you can leave written wishes about your funeral and what should happen to your body with those you care about, or in a will. You can even make arrangements well in advance with the help of a funeral director. This makes things easier for your family, by making your choices clear. The My Funeral Wishes leaflet on the Dying Matters website is a great place to start.

3. Start planning for your future care and support

None of us know how things will turn out as we get older. It’s possible that many of us will need caring for, or might lose capacity to make decisions ourselves.You can talk to your family and healthcare professionals (for example, your GP) about the sort of care you’d like if you become dependent or seriously ill. You might want to consider where you’d like to be cared for, if there are
any treatments you’d refuse, and even who would make decisions for you if you are unable to. A good place to start is asking yourself: “What’s important to me?”. It’s important to write down your plans so that those who care for you have a record.

4. Make your thoughts on organ donation known

The law is changing so that more people can benefit from donated organs. If you want to find out more, contact NHS Blood and Transplant: www.organdonation.nhs.uk

5. Manage your digital legacy

Ever wondered what would happen to your social media accounts or blogs or websites after you die? How about the information on your phone, or your personal computer, or even the cloud? Given how much of our lives is on the internet now, it pays to take some time to understand the end of life policies and processes available for each of the digital sites or assets we use or own. After making your decisions about how you want your data to be treated after you die, make sure to let someone know so they can carry out your wishes. For more information, visit The Digital Legacy Association: https://digitallegacyassociation.org

6. Make sure your loved ones know your plans

Consider talking through your plans with those close to you and give them the opportunity for input, especially if they are to carry out your wishes. If you have important documents or notes about your care, inheritance or funeral, keep them in a safe place and let loved ones know where they are. If the documents are hard to find, your wishes may not be carried out. More information on how to get started can be found on the Dying Matters website: www.dyingmatters.org


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