Dying…It’s a Living Thing

By Chris Castles

What sort of death do you want?

Confronting question isn’t it? But have you stopped to think about it, and more importantly have you stopped to consider the impact on your family?

70% of deaths are expected – 30% aren’t.

70% of Australians want to die at home – only 14% (1) do.

54% (2) die in hospitals – only 19% (3) want to.

32% (4) die in a nursing home – only 1% (5) want to.

Back in the 1900’s 25% of us died before the age of five, and less than 5% died after age 85. By 2011 this reversed. Under 1% died before five and almost 40% died after 85 (6). About two-thirds of Australians die between the ages of 75 and 95 (7).

So what is a good death? The answer is very personal and is different for everyone, but in the study ‘A Good Death’ (8) there were some common things that were raised:

– To know when death is coming, and to understand what can be expected
– To be able to retain control of what happens
– To be afforded dignity and privacy
– To have control over pain relief and other symptom control
– To have a choice or control over where death occurs (at home or elsewhere)
– To have access to information or expertise of whatever kind necessary
– To have access to any spiritual or emotional support required
– To have control over who is present and who shares the end
– To have time to say goodbye, and control over other aspects of timing
– To be able to leave when it is time to go and not to have life prolonged pointlessly

One thing is for sure, without talking to your loved ones your wishes are unlikely to be met.

Want to have a conversation with your loved ones? Go to www.theconversationproject.org and download their starter kit.

Want to take control? Call us on 1800 283 895 or email info@zestfinancial.com.au to find out how.

(1) Broad, J., Gott, M., Hongsoo, K., Chen, H. and Connolly, M. (2013) ‘Where dopeople die?’
(2) Broad, et al. (2013)
(3) Foreman, L., Hunt, R., Luke, C. and Roder, D. (2006) ‘Factors predictive of preferred place of death in the general population of South Australia’
(4) Broad, et al. (2013)
(5) Foreman et al. (2006
(6) Swerissen & Duckett. (2014)
(7) Australian Bureau of Statistics (2013a) Deaths Australia, 2012, 33020DO019, Australian Bureau of Statistics
(8) Smith, R. (2000) ‘A good death’, British Medical Journal, 320(15 January)