28th April 2017

Dying Matters Week

 People in Worcester and Evesham are being encouraged to think about what they hope to achieve in life as part of national Dying Matters Awareness Week.

The Awareness Week from 8 – 14 May, aims to place the importance of talking about death, dying and bereavement firmly on the national agenda.

St Richard’s Hospice will be taking to the high streets of the two centres with a Before I Die Board in Evesham (Tuesday, 9th May) and Worcester (Thursday 11th May). The Before I Die board is an international initiative where a four sided blackboard is put in a public space and allows people to write on it in chalk what they hope to achieve, do or be remembered for.

The goal is to create a friendly space for people to ask questions about end of life care issues, such as making a Will, planning a funeral or coping with bereavement.  The board will be run by Alice Spearing, St Richard’s Engagement Officer, and the hospice Family Support Team.

Ms Spearing said, “We are hoping the board will create a buzz on the high street and start conversations around death, dying and bereavement. About 1% of the UK population dies each year, which means about 5,000 people will die in Worcestershire this year, and each of those deaths will affect many more people in different ways. Talking about death can be a bit awkward at first, but it is something we all have to face. Talking about death makes it easier to plan for and to deal with when it happens.”

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.

Claire Henry MBE, Chief Executive of the National Council for Palliative Care and the Dying Matters coalition, said “we should not be afraid of talking about death, I know that everyone has questions and concerns, its good talk about it as we can all get our plans in place and then get on with living. “

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 West Midlands, the research found that the region is lower than the national average with 32% having made a Will and 25% having  discussed their funeral wishes.

For more information about Dying Matters Awareness Week, and the events on across the country, please see http://www.dyingmatters.org/page/map-awareness-week-events-2017

St Richard’s Hospice provides free specialist palliative care for patients living with life-limiting illnesses and supports their loved ones. Each year the hospice team supports over 2,500 patients and family members in Worcestershire.

The hospice strives to provide the best medical, practical, emotional and social support they can to help people live life to the fullest, as independently as they can, for as long as they can.

St Richard’s is an independent charity and is grateful for all donations to help it continue its work.