Derbyshire care home helps to blow away the stigma around dying


Milford House Care Home in Milford, Belper, has been helping its residents to start the difficult conversations about sensitive subjects as part of ‘Dying Matters Week’.


On Friday all the residents went outside to attach notes, which they had written during the week expressing their end of life wishes, to balloons filled with helium. These were then let go and the residents watched them sail away.


Dying Matters Awareness Week, held in May each year, aims to help people talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement, and to make plans for the end of life.


Vicky Layton, activities co-ordinator at Milford Care said, “We understand it can be difficult for the residents, and more so their families to speak about these types of issues, but we find that once we do, it can be quite a relief to have shared their wishes.”


To raise awareness about ‘Dying Matters’ and the importance of thinking and talking about their dying wishes, residents were encouraged to write a note to their loved ones expressing their wishes and subjects they would like to talk about.


“Releasing the balloons was a nice way to acknowledge that all of our residents do have the right to share their wishes and feelings around dying. By starting these conversations, we hope that residents will now have the confidence to talk more openly with friends and family about dying matters.


“We are also here to support the residents and families in any way we can with these conversations and sensitive issues, and this sentiment was reinforced during the week whilst helping residents think about what they would like and talking to them about how to share these wishes.” explained Vicky.


By providing a creative and safe environment in which to discuss death and bereavement, Milford House has helped residents gain a better understanding of the options open to them such as do they want to be buried or cremated.


Dying Matters Awareness Week aims to create a fundamental change in society in which dying, death and bereavement will be seen and accepted as a natural part of everybody’s life cycle.


By supporting this event, Milford Care is helping improve the experience of people who are dying and their bereaved through the quality and range of support they can offer, by being aware and openly talking about and acknowledging what next for each individual case.


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