At Concierge Medical, we believe in an open culture that talks about death, where our members feel listened to and have support to help planning when the time comes.
As a nation we are reluctant to discuss, let alone plan for the end of life with our loved ones. Discussions can often be left too late for quality support and care services to be arranged, affecting our ability to die where or how we would wish. Having a plan makes it easier for us and our loved ones when we are preparing for death.
Thinking about things like making a will, deciding what kind of care we would like, and making clear our wishes, can make both our last days better for us, but also the time after death easier for family and friends.
We all want to avoid unnecessary complications like having to be referred to the court of protection because power of attorney couldn’t be authorised, or stressful administration of finances after death if there is no will in place. Our family may miss important moments like opportunities to say goodbye or to discuss our funeral/remembrance wishes.
When to talk? As you get older or on diagnosis is the time to start thinking about things that will need to be discussed. Arrange opportunities to discuss things with loved ones.
It’s important to talk about end of life because:
- it reduces anxiety, knowing what to expect and how to respond.
- you and your family can make informed decisions. It’s not unusual for loved ones to have to make decisions on your behalf. This is much easier if your wishes are clear.
- you will have peace of mind knowing that everything possible has been done to ensure your quality of care
- knowing that things are taken care of, to save loved ones unnecessary stress and cost.
There are a number of things to consider and discuss, here’s our checklist:
Make a will
Writing a will allows you to plan what happens to your money and possessions after you die. Having a will in place 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 regulations and rules, rather than according to your wishes.
Consider Power of Attorney
Managing finances in the future may become more difficult or confusing, having or arranging for power of attorney will assist you. There are different types of Power of Attorney – some cover finances only, some cover medical or care decisions in the event that you are unable to make these decisions themselves. If you don’t have a lasting Power of Attorney, then you will need to apply to the Court of Protection, who may appoint a deputy to make decisions on your behalf. Better to choose someone yourself !
Make a funeral/remembrance 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 we 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 our choices clear.
Care and support
It’s possible that many of us will need caring for towards the end of life or might lose capacity to make decisions ourselves. You can talk to your family or doctor about care preferences you’d like if you become dependent or seriously ill.
You might want to consider where and how 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.
Dementia for example, often presenting as memory loss, confusion and difficulty carrying out daily activities, affects about 800,000 people living in the UK. Providing end of life care for people with dementia is a key part of delivering good quality care but many people put things off until it’s too late, often missing opportunities that could lead to improved quality of life.
Discuss where and how you would like to be treated.
Make your thoughts on organ donation known. The law has changed so that more people can benefit from donated organs.
Manage your digital legacy
As we live increasingly dependent on digital technology you may want to ensure your digital legacy is managed correctly. This may include social media accounts, websites, your phone, or your personal computer or the cloud. It pays to take some time to understand the end of life policies and processes available for each of the digital sites or assets that you 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
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.
Find it hard to talk ?
Sometimes it is really difficult to start the conversation – having a mediator can sometimes help, a trained professional who can lead you and your family through the discussion and decision process.
If all else fails
Whilst having a conversation with your loved ones, making your wishes clear and having the opportunity to discuss and explain your decisions is preferable….if it really is too hard, then at least write it all down and tell them where you have saved it!
It’s important that we are physically, emotionally, financially and spiritually in the place we want to be when the time comes with the right care and support.
Why not arrange an appointment with your doctor to start the conversation, we’re here to help.
Founded in 2013, Concierge Medical Practice has progressed to become a national award-winning private General Practice, providing the best healthcare to individual clients and businesses throughout Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, and Oxfordshire.
Our members have a named private doctor, providing on-going continuity of care. Our list size is kept small to guarantee availability and quality. We are a home-visiting practice, our private doctors are readily contactable for home visits, remote consultations, advice and support. Our team pride themselves on offering the highest quality of care to our members. Getting access to medical care at a time that is convenient for you is essential for your health and wellbeing. Our private doctors always have time for our members.
We have a strong network of secondary care and allied health professionals who complement our general practice services and whom we can readily access.
For more information contact us by phone on 01451 600900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.conciergemedical.co.uk.