At the end of May, Clarke Willmott’s Elderly Care & Court of Protection Team took part in several events for Dying Matters Awareness Week and Dementia Awareness Week. Both issues are important to the team as many of our clients are facing death, or have family members who have been diagnosed with an end of life illness, such as dementia.
During the Dying Matters Awareness Week I attended an informal event held, unusually, in a pub! At the Pint of Science Event “The value of life at the end of life” Professor Richard Huxtable explored the ideas raised on the Dying Matters website, including a lively discussion about how we can ensure that it is a good death while balancing personal beliefs and ethics.
Members of the team were also involved in a twitter conversation on the Dying Matters account, which looked at advance directives and Wills using the hashtag #YODO. To round off the week we attended Musgrove hospital to support their event.
Dying Matters Awareness Week raised some thought provoking ideas. Making decisions about death is not easy and will involve some very difficult conversations, but for many people, planning and talking make it easier to cope.
Dementia has become a frequent discussion point in the news and media, but through the openness of people like Terry Pratchett and the increasingly successful Dementia Friends Campaign we are more aware of the impact of the illness. During Dementia Awareness Week we welcomed a local charity Reminiscence Learning to the office to ‘share a dementia message’ and on 8 June we will be hosting a dementia friends session for our colleagues in our Taunton office.
It is clear from all of these discussions that forward planning is crucial. Thinking about your own death and demise may be depressing, but by planning ahead and preparing Lasting Powers of Attorney, advance directives and a Will, you will be making it easier for everyone to manage at a very difficult time.