We have Block Watch, Crime Stoppers, MADD, all kinds of community efforts to make positive changes and they are effective! So, why not death as a community development opportunity? Why couldn’t we get our neighborhoods all ready to go? Why couldn’t we teach each other how to support our neighbors who are going through a dying and death process? Why couldn’t we use death to bring us all closer together?
Well progress regarding end of life preparation is taking place and it could be in a community near you!
A Real Life example.
Prince Rupert, BC population 12,508 and likely 20,000 including the surrounding areas is well on the way to getting their community end of life ready with their recently passed Community Initiative 75 – 20. By the year 2020 Prince Rupert intends to have 75% of their adults end of life prepared which means folks there will have their representation agreement, advanced care directives, and wills complete and ready to go. Quite an intention indeed, and mayor and council will be doing theirs first!
Here is a link to a column recently published in The Northern View that speaks about this unique community project; http://www.thenorthernview.com/news/317572341.html
and an excerpt to whet your appetite.
“It means that you get the type of care that you would like at the end of your life if you are not able to communicate yourself because of an accident or a medical condition. It also means that your family and loved ones know what your desires are and it is much better to have spoken about it before you are in a hospital in a crisis situation. It also means that our medical system can best take care of people – they have a protocol they will follow because they are interested in people and what they want,” said Riddell.
“A lot of resources are invested during the last few months of people’s lives and perhaps that is not necessary. The baby-boomer population is aging and over the next 20 years we will be putting a lot of demand on our already stretched healthcare system and that is why it is important to look at being end-of-life prepared.”
Sanchez said having a plan for end-of-life care is important not only for the person facing death, but for their loved ones as well.
“Make sure you get your family together and get this done because I have seen too many times where families fight about this care,” she said.
This all came about several months ago when several of us gathered at a local coffee shop in Prince Rupert. I simply asked the question, “What would have to happen to get your community end of life ready in 5 years?” The five of us gathered around the table simply answered the question and off the project went. I asked Mayor Brian Lee at the local Rotary Club meeting if he would be willing to get his paperwork together publicly so the people he governs could understand how very important this preparatory works is. He said yes, Judy Riddell the Hospice Chair made a presentation to Mayor and Council and the rest is history!
With health budgets tight and getting tighter, medical staff ageing and at a premium, the death rate rising to almost double current rates, and the population ageing bring with it even more complex health needs, we are facing a potential crisis when it comes to dying well.
It is of the utmost importance that we as adults all get our ‘shit’ together when it comes to end of life preparation.
- Who will talk for you legally about your health care needs if you cannot, who is your medical representative?
- What do you want and not want from the medical system?
- Does a loved one have enduring power of attorney in order that your financial affaires be well handled?
- Have you a current and accurate will?
Here is a link to some kits I created to help people get all this important paperwork complete and more to have those important conversations with your family so each and everyone is on the same end of life page with you.
Here is a link to the All Ready to Go kit.
So don’t delay get you and your family, neighborhood, and community All Ready to Go!
Warmly and with gratitude