5 Ideas to Better Prepare For Dying – Palliative Care
At Home Nursing Solutions, we have always been open and up front about the subject of death and dying. We see death as a part of living, a natural process that is another step in the unfolding path of life.
With this view in mind, we are able to approach death in an open and honest way, without avoiding the hard conversations required at this time by both the person who is at the end of their life, and their family and friends. This means we help our clients to better prepare for dying.
Our home care nurses specialise in Palliative Care, providing these services to people across Adelaide. When someone close to you is at the end of their life, or perhaps even yourself, we will support you to address your end of life concerns. For the person dying, the simpler that everything can be made for them, the better.
We provide nursing support to make those final weeks as comfortable for the person as possible, as part of our palliative care plan. We also provide support to the family during this end of life time. For the dying, their greatest wish is to die in peace with their loved ones close to them. However, this is not always possible if there are things left unresolved, or unplanned.
Taking the time to prepare for your death and plan ahead will mean a more peaceful transition for both you and your family. Palliative Care can support this process.
Here are 5 tips to help you prepare for a death that will bring your family closer and leave love and goodwill behind.
Prepare your documents
An Advanced Care Directive is a legal document detailing your wishes, if you are unable to clearly state these toward your end of life. It is available as a DIY kit online. Your family will be relieved to have a copy of this as it makes the difficult decisions ahead of time.
Decide whether you want to make an organ donation. South Australia is the only state where you can indicate you want to be an organ donor on your driver’s license, but you still need to register to make this possible. This is a very personal decision and if you feel strongly that you would like someone else to benefit from your organ donation, make sure you put this in place before it is too late.
Update your Will and make sure your beneficiaries are stated clearly. Even though we all know how important it is to have a Will, many people don’t have one and it can be a disaster for the family to make these decisions, leading to family rifts, not something you want to leave as your legacy.
Share your wishes with your family
What do you want your family to know before you die? How would you like to be remembered? You can discuss this with them or write a letter if you prefer. This may include wishes like how you want your family to celebrate your life at the funeral or the wake, special days you would like to be remembered afterwards, gems of wisdom you may wish to pass down the line.
Don’t make assumptions that everyone may know what you want. Discuss these with your family and make sure they know what your wishes are.
Create a legacy for your family
Share the stories of yourself and your parents while you were growing up. Tell them stories that help them understand how your life was shaped, and how your family’s culture was developed. Whether it is about traditions, cultural values, how businesses or initiatives were started, how ancestors lived and died or little stories about daily life.
Even if the story is small, if you remember it there is a reason. It does not matter what our age is, we all love stories about how we came to be in this life, in this family and what our ancestors experienced that may still be part of who we are today.
Family stories shared enrich those in the family line, so don’t underestimate the value your stories have well after you have gone.
Give as much away as possible
In our experience at Home Nursing Solutions, those who die poor die peacefully! Give away what you have whilst you are still alive and let your family and friends have it all – money, property, jewellery – divide it up and allocate as you wish. That way you die unencumbered and those that are around you when you die are there for the right reasons, because they love you.
Prepare for your funeral
Put your funeral plans in place. It is a ceremony celebrating your life so if you can plan ahead with the details, you will leave a ceremony where you will be remembered with joy and love. Get creative, ask people to wear a special colour or flower to your funeral, to play a piece of music you loved or to recite a special poem. It’s up to you. Treat your funeral as a way of leaving part of your legacy behind, a way to be remembered.
Palliative care support will help you work through these end of life decisions much easier, adding a few personal touches and providing advice to help this transition to be remembered perhaps with more tenderness than grief.
Home Nursing Solutions are a nursing agency in Adelaide providing palliative care support. Please contact us or call us on 08 8331 3791 to discuss your palliative home care needs, we are here to support both you and your family during this end of life transition.
Q&A with Kate Kelly on the subject of Palliative Care, Death and Dying
Managing your ACAT Assessment for Best Home Care Outcomes
Home Care Adelaide Blog