People dying to talk about it

IT’S a future we’ve all got to look forward to.

But death is something Australians have preferred not to talk about.

A full house for a Dying and Death Forum on the subject today would seem to indicate that tradition is changing.

More than 140 have signed up – at no small cost – to hear speakers, and to have their say, about death and dying – and that is a healthy sign, organisers say.

The inaugural forum at Invercauld House, Goonellabah, will be a ‘day of information and inspiration’, they say, providing the public with ‘everything you wanted to know about death and dying but were afraid to ask’.

Speakers include Judy Arpana, a spiritual care consultant and educator in grief and loss, who will open today.

People attending her seminars in the past have been relieved to be able to discuss the subject without upsetting anyone, Ms Arpana said.

And surprisingly, there is often a lot of laughter.

She hopes her session to be interactive, and to look at why we have difficulty accepting death on an emotional level.

Other speakers will provide practical information, about such things as negotiating the health system, and what options people have at the end of their lives.

“Most people don’t know much about dying,” said palliative care specialist nurse Kate Stirling, who will be addressing that knowledge gap.

“We have been a death-defying society. It’s not considered very glamorous,” Ms Stirling said.

“Modern medicine does many wonderful things, but it seems that end-of-life care has been rather pushed aside.

“Now, as the Baby Boomers age, they are wanting to have more of a say,” Ms Stirling said.

“People are looking to be more empowered to get what they want when it comes to their dying.”



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