Planning ahead is important for people who are dying and for their relatives and friends. It means thinking and talking about how you wish to be cared for in the final months of your life.
Why plan ahead?
It’s important to plan ahead so that you can put your mind at ease, and say those important goodbyes. By planning ahead you will also make the financial, legal and practical consequences of illness and death much easier for your family to deal with.
Here’s a checklist of things that you might like to consider, whether you are facing the end of life now, or you want to plan for your future end of life care.
1.Consider legal and financial matters
Don’t leave chaos behind for others to clear up. This can cause disputes and arguments between family members.
So make a will as soon as possible, taking legal advice if necessary.
2. Organ donation
You can donate any organ or tissue you choose, including your brain, to medical science. If this is what you want to do, make sure you write it down (or make an Advance Decision) and tell your family and your GP. More information on organ donation.
3. Make a plan for what you want when you die
It’s important to consider the kind of care you would like towards the end of your life. This includes where you would like to die, whether you have any particular worries that you would like to discuss, and whether you wish to continue with any life-prolonging treatment. It’s important to do this earlier rather than later just in case you are unable to make decisions for yourself in the future. You can do this by making an Advance Decision. This can be made by anyone of sound mind over 18 years old (16 in Scotland).
4. Consider how you would like to be remembered
What would you like people to know before you die? Are there any messages you would like to leave for those you love? Perhaps you would like to create a “memory box” or a video for your loved ones. The time to do this is while you are still able.
5. Plan your funeral arrangements
Have you thought about whether you would prefer to be buried or cremated? Perhaps you would like a green funeral rather than a more traditional one. Think about what kind of service you would like, and whether you want it to be more of a celebration of your life than a conventional ceremony. What hymns, readings or music would you like to have, and who would you like to be there? Write this down and give it to someone whom you trust, or put it in your will. Dying Matters has a free and simple form, My Funeral Wishes, to set down what you want for your funeral.