Advanced Care a means to an end

Dying to Know Day a timely reminder to get affairs in order

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Three quarters of Australians have not had end of life discussions with loved ones.


DYING to Know Day is on August 8 and seniors will once again be encouraged to sit down with family for a difficult discussion.

From death cafes, to end of life seminars, hundreds of events usually take place on the day.

While things will be different this year due to COVID-19 regulations, organisers are still encouraging seniors to sit down to have that difficult end of life discussion.

Dying to Know Day encourages families to address the inevitability of death and to hold discussions about who will make decisions if a loved one becomes too unwell to choose for themselves.

It also challenges people to communicate what quality of life means to them.

Home Instead Senior Care Australia founder Martin Warner said it was essential to have a plan in place when it came to end of life decision making.

"If you have communicated your end-of-life preferences to your family, everybody will have peace of mind that your wishes are understood and honoured as you would expect them to be." he said.

Roughly half of Australians will be too sick to make their end of life choices, and one in three people will pass away before reaching 75 years old.

Despite these facts, 75 per cent of people have not had end-of-life discussions with loved ones and only 15 per cent have documented preferences in Advance Care Directives.

Martin shared five tips to help you and your loved ones experience a more peaceful passing:

Communicate your wishes to family members

Martin said it was much better to make considered decisions in a calm environment than to make last minute decisions at a hospital.

"Make sure you clearly communicate what is important to you,' he said.

"Would you prefer to pass away painlessly? Who would you like to be there in your final moments? Are there certain treatments you wouldn't want to undergo?

Don't assume you can age without a plan

He said it was important to make arrangements before it is too late.

"A crisis can happen at any stage and you can never be too prepared," he said.

Planning ahead is important for young people too

"Unfortunate situations can happen to anyone at any point throughout life," he said.

Assign a trustworthy decision-maker

He said it was important to appoint a trusted and reliable loved one who could be trustefd to make competent decisions in an emergency.

"If this person is living with dementia or mental illness, they may not be considered capable to make a critical life decision on your behalf," he said.

Make sure your doctor knows your plan

"If you have not expressed your preferences or what you deem unacceptable, a doctor you've never spoken to won't automatically make a decision that aligns with your values," he said.

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