Death is a certainty for us all but many of us feel uncomfortable talking about death, dying and bereavement. With a growing ageing population and people living longer with life-limiting conditions discussing death is becoming increasingly more important.

Many of us have strong views about how we would wish to be cared for as we approach the end of our life, where we would like to be looked after, specific treatments we would not want and about our funeral plans. But if we don’t talk about our wishes it may be too late.

You don’t have to be ill to talk about dying or to put plans into place. Starting the conversation isn’t easy but it could be one of the most important conversations you will have.

To encourage people to talk more openly about death, dying and bereavement and to make plans for the end of life Dying Matters Awareness Week (13th -19th May) focuses this year on the theme: “Are We Ready?” Many events are planned nationwide during this week with the ultimate goal to tackle the barriers around this sensitive subject.

Bedford Daycare Hospice will be taking part in this initiative by holding open afternoons at our premises at 3, Linden Road, Bedford from 1.30-3.30pm each weekday Monday 13th-Friday 17th May. The theme of this event will be: “Are We Ready … to build a compassionate community?” Please come along to one of our open afternoons, talk to staff and look at the Dying Matters resources available.

Compassionate communities recognize that natural cycles of sickness and health, birth and death, love and loss occur every day as part of a human existence. It’s a community that cares for one another at times of crisis and loss and believes this isn’t simply a task for health and social care professionals but is everyone’s responsibility. A community that provides support to someone approaching the end of their life through small acts of compassion and basic human kindness enables them to die well.

Not talking about death won’t make it go away, talking about death won’t make it happen sooner. But talking about death may take a weight off your mind. Are you ready?