Tackling the taboo

As the saying goes you cannot get pregnant when talking about sex and equally you will not die from making a will. Colin Darcy, Age Scotland Enterprise’s Insurance Manager reports.

The friendly Afore Ye Go team,

The friendly ‘Afore Ye Go’ team in Newton Stewart on 4th September

Death and dying are topics we naturally shy away from but it is something we all need to face up to, as like taxes, it is inevitable. At Age Scotland Enterprises we speak to lots of people every year who do exactly that and are helping people to tackle this taboo by running a number of events called ‘Afore Ye Go’, which tackles some of these issues. There have been three events with seventy attendees so far in Hawick, Stranraer and Newton Stewart and all have received very positive feedback.

Mrs D who attended an Afore Ye Go event in Glasgow said: “I had always put off thinking about such things – it seemed morbid. But going along to the event was great. It wasn’t downbeat; it gave me really practical advice. I went away and took some of that advice by making some decisions and plans that actually lifted a weight off my shoulders.”

Solicitors for Older People Scotland, one of Age Scotland’s Affinity partners, will deliver a short presentation covering topics such as Wills, Power of Attorney, Advanced Directives, which might sound a bit daunting but are effectively documents which will help clarify people’s wishes and instructions when they either lose capacity or are no longer around. Other topics discussed are pre-paid Funeral Plans which can help freeze funeral prices at today’s prices, no matter when the plan is required. An easy way to save yourself money but also to help your family out at a time when they need it most, when you aren’t here!

Age Scotland Helpline will also talk about the services they can provide across a wide range of topics ranging from what benefits you can claim to how you can get a handyman.
Interested in attending these free seminars, the remain ones for the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway are:

We’re holding Forward Planning Open weeks at our offices in October:

The will also be events in the Scottish Borders

  • Peebles, 19th November
  • Galashiels, 13th February
  • Coldstream, 10th April

For more details contact Ian Howie on 01557 331346.

Find out about Age Scotland Enterprises Products 
Find out more about the Age Scotland Helpline

Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief

Guest blogger Derek Blues, Policy Manager with the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care, wants us all to talk a bit more about dying.

Good life cartoon

Death is normal. We can all help each other with death, dying and bereavement.
Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief is a growing national alliance of over 600 organisations and individuals working to make Scotland a place where there is more openness about death, dying and bereavement so that:

• People are aware of ways to live with death, dying and bereavement
• People feel better equipped to support each other through the difficult times that can come with death, dying and bereavement

It is never too early to think about planning ahead for illness and death – making plans when you’re healthy means there is less to think about if you get sick.

Why is thinking about this a good thing? 

One of the normal reactions of members in society is to say that it’s never the right time to think about death but lots of unnecessary harm is caused because people in Scotland are not open about death, dying and bereavement.  For example:

  • People who are dying or bereaved can experience isolation because people don’t know what to say or how to act towards them
  • People die without wills, leaving complicated situations for their families and friends
  • Health care professionals struggle to have conversations with their patients about what care or treatments they want as they approach death. This makes it hard to plan the care that a person really wants
  • If the fact that someone is dying is not acknowledged then opportunities to resolve issues and say goodbye may be missed

What can be done to help?

Taking a few simple steps can go a long way to helping avoid these harms. For example, individuals could:

  • Make a will
  • Arrange a power of attorney
  • Ask their partner if he/she wants to do a power of attorney
  • Bring up their children in a way which doesn’t hide death
  • Allow their ageing parents/partner to tell them about their worries and preferences for care
  • Say goodbye to the people they love or who care about them
  • Be willing to listen to and talk to their neighbours or colleagues if they are experiencing difficult times related to death, dying or bereavement 
  • Discuss with their GP the sort of care they would prefer towards the end of their life

If you are interested in finding out more about the work of the national alliance Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief, please sign up on the website to access their free resources.