Dying to know, so it’s time to talk

TIME TO TALK: John Clarke, Stephanie Rattcliffe, Lynda Ord and Shanna Provost will host a special event on National Dying to Know Day on August 8.
TIME TO TALK: John Clarke, Stephanie Rattcliffe, Lynda Ord and Shanna Provost will host a special event on National Dying to Know Day on August 8.

Wednesday August 8 is National Dying to Know Day, when people across Australia gather to talk about death and dying. 

Shanna Provost says the quality of our end-of-life experience depends on how well we have planned for it.

Ms Provost, of Narooma, is the author of the Rest Easy Journal.

"Unfortunately, 45 per cent of Australians will die without a will and 51 per cent without discussing their wishes for end of life care,” she said.

“It's clearly time to talk."

Provost has brought together experts from the legal, funeral and palliative care sectors to join her to answers questions and help people to learn what choices they have and how to ensure they are followed through.

It's Time to Talk at Club Narooma will provide people with the opportunity to speak with experts in an informal, round-table setting. 

John Clarke from Clarke Law said the starting point for having your affairs in order was to have a will; an Enduring Power of Attorney; an Enduring Guardianship and, if you have superannuation, a Binding Death Benefit Nomination.

70-80 per cent of Australlans say they want to die at home but only 16-20 per cent actually do. 

Specialist nurse Stephanie Rattcliffe will explain the importance of palliative care and how it can enrich a person's end of life significantly. 

"We know that patient-centred palliative and supportive care reduces unplanned hospital admissions; improves symptom control and leads to better outcomes for patients, their families and caregivers,” she said.

Funeral celebrant Lynda Ord will guide attendees on the discussions families need to have now to help loved ones to preserve positive memories, especially during a funeral or memorial.

"Some discussions can’t wait. We need to plan for end of life for ourselves, ensuring whatever choices we do make are ones that our loved ones would be happy with. Preserving our precious memories and stories is such a gift for those who follow, and sharing these stories now can be such a rich and rewarding experience," she said.

Although 43 per cent of Australians have chosen the songs for their funeral, only 2 per cent have made provisions for how their funeral will be paid for.

"The best legacy we can leave our loved ones is to plan for our funeral so they don't have extra stress in their time of grief", says Robert Hewson, Funeral Consultant from Batemans Bay, Moruya & Narooma District Funerals.

Of people surveyed, only 14 per cent had prepared an advance care directive to dictate their future medical care. 

"We may have put our affairs in order because we don't want our loved ones to suffer, but many people can't seem to do the same for themselves. Having an Advance Care Plan in place is one of the most important things we can do to ensure a quality end of life," Ms Provost said.

All of these topics will be covered by the team at the It's Time to Talk event.

Everyone welcome: 10.30am-1pm on Wednesday, August 8 in the Montague Room at Club Narooma, 88 Princes Highway, Narooma. No bookings required, but doors open at 10am for a prompt start at 10.30. Entry is $5 to cover morning tea.