© Danielle Robertson Consulting Pty Ltd t/as DR Care Solutions
This Saturday, 8 August 2020, marks the 7th annual 'Dying To Know Day' (D2KDay), an Australian initiative dedicated to encouraging conversations on death, dying and bereavement.
From my research, the idea of having social conversations around death was shaped by Swiss sociologist and anthropologist, Bernard Crettaz. Bernard hosted the first 'Le Café Mortel' (Death Café) in 2004. These informal social gatherings, held at local cafes, bring people together to talk about death.
The Death Café concept gained momentum seven years later when Englishman, Ben Underwood, created a website, Death Cafe, where people around the world could post the dates for local café gatherings to discuss death.
Around the same time, Australian social entrepreneurs, Kerri Noonan and Nicole Endacott, explored ways to highlight the insights of the book, Dying to Know: Bringing Death to Life, published by the Australian writer Andrew Anastaisos. They came up with the idea of an annual D2KDay.
What To Do On Dying To Know Day?
D2KDay events around the country are listed on Kerri Noonan's The Groundswell Project website. There are nearly 50 online events listed for August 2020, with topics ranging from 'Ask an Expert', Death and Dying Workshops, through to suggested funeral music playlists.
Related community initiatives have been sparked by D2KDay, including the hosting of Death Cafés in collaboration with the UK-founded website and The Community Coffin Club, a group supporting Australians wishing to build their own coffin or that of a loved one.
My Conversations With Clients
With close to four decades working in the care sector, I advise my clients to contemplate their own death while they are well.
The statistics, reported by a Grattan Institute study in 2014, state:
- Over 70% of Australians die in hospital though most would prefer to die at home (refer also recent Royal Commission Study into Aged Care Quality & Safety that showed similar results].
- Very few Australians have end of life treatment and care plans, and almost half die without a will [refer also our article on how to Be Prepared: Essential Legal Documents for Your Aged Care].
- 75% of Australians have not had end of life discussions yet; 60% believe death is not discussed enough.
Planning For Death
The most practical measure is to have in place the following four documents:
- A Will
- An Enduring Power of Attorney
- An Enduring Guardian, and
- An Advance Care Directive (also known as Advance Health Directive and Advance Health Care Directive).
For more information on each, refer to my recent blog on estate planning.
Once you have children and/or own assets, it is important to have these documents in place and have certified copies handy to those who will need to refer to them.
With these documents both you and your loved ones will enjoy peace of mind. These documents help:
- Lift the weight of responsibility. Without them, family members will need to make incredibly difficult decisions at a very emotional time.
- Avoid financial and legal issues. Dying without a will can cause enormous division within families.
Seize the opportunity to embrace the cycle of life and take part in the friendly, informal conversations offered on D2KDay - Dying to Know Day! Start here: The Groundswell Project: Dying To Know Day 2020 Launches.
When to comes to finding care solutions, please feel free to contact me, Danielle Robertson at DR Care Solutions, for an initial discussion on how to set up the right care, support and assistance for your loved one, at the right time and in the right place.