Having conversations around death and dying can be a very difficult subject for many people. It can bring up uncomfortable emotions so people tend to shy away from it.
Research shows that over a third (36%) of people aren’t comfortable bringing up the subject with a relative or close friend and (40%) do not know their loved ones’ wishes around dying, such as what their preferred type of burial, would be.
In response, Age UK teamed up with the Malnutrition Task Force to produce a booklet and film (see below) to help people explore and approach this subject with confidence.
This booklet is designed to help start those conversations. To help everyone to feel empowered to talk about death, to ask questions of each other, to listen, to be sure about what our loved ones would like to happen when death comes.
We also hope it will give people the knowledge and ability to ask the right questions, understand and challenge systems, organisations and health care professionals about the care and support of a loved one who is dying.
Healthcare professionals can use it to see what sort of issues and questions people may present to them about matters relating to death and dying.
Eating and drinking at the end of life
The bright and illustrated booklet covers a number of different topics relating to death and dying, including eating and drinking (p.20).
It outlines how it’s normal for people nearing death to have a decrease in appetite or thirst as the body starts to conserve energy, and how good mouth care and keeping the mouth and lips moist may be enough to keep them comfortable if they want little or no fluids or food.
It makes clear that it would be useful to have a conversation with staff so that everyone understands what is going to happen and what to expect when it comes to food and drink at the end of life.
Where can I read the booklet and see the film?
To find out more about eating and drinking at the end of life, plus a whole array of other topics relating to coping with the difficult issue of death and dying, please find the booklet and film below.