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Country folk love a good chat as much as anyone but rarely do we talk about dying.

Rural Australians simply avoid the subject where possible yet talking about dying is a conversation every individual needs to have at some time. Rural Northwest Health and Grampians Region Palliative Care Consortium will present interactive sessions at several Yarriambiack Shire towns next month to help people feel more comfortable with talking about their dying wishes.

Rural Northwest Health community health nurse Julie Mills said more than 70 per cent of Australians wanted to die at home but only 30 per cent had actually told someone of their wishes.

“It’s the subject that people find hard enough to discuss with their loved ones as it is,” Mrs Mills said.

“But then when they are ready to talk about it, they are often told by their family not to be so morbid because it will be years before they might die,” she said.

“People need to find a way of having that conversation and these sessions will help with that.”

Mrs Mill said that through the project, community members would gain the knowledge, confidence and practical skills to discuss their end of life wishes with loved ones.

“This will make it so much easier for their wishes to be carried out, especially if they are unable to communicate leading up to their death or if their death is sudden and unexpected,” she said.

“The more conversation people can have with their loved ones, the better the support for them when nearing their end of life.

“The sort of questions that need to be asked include: Who will speak on your behalf if you are unable to do so? Where would you want to die? Are you an organ donor? Have you written your will?”

Australia now recognises Dying to Know Day on August 8 each year and it is changing the conversation. This annual day of action is dedicated to bringing life conversations and community actions around death, dying and bereavement.

Mrs Mills said the interactive sessions would allow people to start thinking about their wishes and what was important to them.

“They will learn about the importance of completing an Advanced Care Plan and what services are available to assist them and our community’s carers”.

The free sessions will be at Woomelang Bush Nursing Centre on August 2, Hopetoun Senior Citizens Room, August 10, Beulah Business Information Centre, August 17, Brim Hotel, August 24 and Warracknabeal Band/Scout Hall on August 31. All sessions start at 11am and lunch is provided.


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