ECH volunteer Josie Effie is no stranger to death after nursing both her parents in the final days of their lives and supporting two friends who were terminally ill. She has also volunteered with her dog Betty, visiting people at the Mary Potter hospice in Adelaide for the past five years.
On Thursday, Josie and her dog Betty volunteer for ECH at the Halifax Café where ECH provides a variety of workshops and activities. Josie enjoys spending time at the Café as it is a great opportunity to meet people and make new friends.
Having helped others close to her who were terminally ill consider their own end of life planning, Josie is now encouraging people at whatever age, to think about, and most importantly talk about, their end of life wishes.
“From my own experience I’ve seen people who find it hard to connect emotionally at the end because they are overcome, and it’s not uncommon,” she explains.
“By talking about death, we can make it easier to be there for someone, and it really is a tremendous privilege to share someone’s last days with them.”
Josie suggests people should think about completing an ‘Advanced Care Directive’, which sets out how you’d like to be cared for if your health deteriorates.
She says having a good plan in place for how you want to be cared for, what last wishes you may have and how you want your affairs to be looked after can allow people to simply enjoy their last days.
“People just find starting to talk about death really difficult, so when the time comes they just aren’t prepared,” she explains. “Yet it’s inevitable and it’s going to happen to all of us.”
Josie suggests talking to a close family member or friend as a starting point and beginning to think about the things that really matter to you so you can make sure they are taken care of.
ECH Home Care Package clients can talk to an ECH Social Worker about the process of starting an Advanced Care Directive. For more information call 1300 275 324 or visit ech.asn.au