National Healthcare Decisions Day is a national movement that attempts to "help people across the U.S. understand the value of advance healthcare planning." It's happening next week--April 16th through the 22nd--and this year's theme is "it always seems too early, until it's too late." Inspired by this event, we explore other iterations of this initiative that exist in the U.S. and across the globe.
Dying Matters (England/Wales)
Date(s): May 8th-14th
Theme: "What Can You Do?"
Social Media: Facebook, Twitter
Much like NHDD, Dying Matters is a week-long campaign that attempts "to place the importance of talking about dying, death and bereavement firmly on the national agenda." The National Council for Palliative Care, founded in 2009, created the Dying Matters Coalition in order to encourage people to "talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement, and to make plans for the end of life."
Key message: "Talking about dying and death is something people understandably feel uncomfortable about, but it is something we all need to do - otherwise we, or our loved ones, may not die in the way we want. Talking about dying does not make it happen, or happen faster."
Additional reading: Dying Matters FAQs
Dying to Know Day (Australia)
Date(s): August 8th
Theme: "Talking About Death is Part of Life"
Social Media: Facebook
Dying to Know Day has two key messages: 1) to promote death literacy; and 2) to bring "to life conversations and community actions around death, dying and bereavement." This initiative was created by the Groundswell Project, a not-for-profit organization that aims to "create a more death literate society, one where people and communities have the practical know-how needed to plan well and respond to dying death and grief." Dying to Know Day was specifically inspired by the book "Dying to Know" released by the Igniting Change organization.
Key message: "'Death literacy' recognizes the role that everyone has in end-of-life care and death care. Having knowledge helps us make informed decisions about the care, being able to act on that knowledge is empowering."
Additional reading: History of Dying to Know Day
Before I Die Festival (Louisville, KY)
Date(s): [Past] October 5th-November 5th, 2016
Theme: "Death Happens...Have a Plan"
Social Media: Facebook
"A Festival for the LIVING about DYING."
Bringing things back to the U.S., we look at Louisville's month-long Before I Die Festival. Last year was the first time this festival was executed. In addition to daily speakers, events, and art exhibitions, Before I Die Fest hosted a conference on October 22. Some session topics included financial planning for end-of-life, defining a "good death", and drafting wills and trusts. Overall, this event was geared toward members of all ages in the Louisville community.
The organization is still active on Facebook. We hope this means they plan to host the Before I Die Festival again this year.
Key message: "This is the place to talk about death...frankly, intelligently, with humor, compassion, and intent."
Additional reading: New Louisville Event Teaches People What to do 'Before I Die'