Dying to know campaign ‘Lives on’ with family day in Nairn

Issued by NHS Highland

A new service that helps people in Nairn cope with the practical side of death and dying has seen a great level of interest, and is now hoping to reach even more people with a different kind of family day out in Nairn Community Centre on May 25th 11:30-4pm. The objective is to get people to think about their own death now, so that they can leave their life as a gift, rather than a burden, to their loved ones.

There will be something for all the family, including story telling and other activities for children.

People are urged to go along and take advantage of the free advice and information being offered by over 20 local businesses and organisations about practical, legal, financial and medical arrangements they can make for illness and death.  Free talks with the experts will be available on Wills, Power of Attorneys and other legal questions, Anticipating your Care, the work of a Soul Midwife, how adults can best help children when a loved one is dying, funeral rituals and financial issues including paying for care home fees, equity release and inheritance tax.

People will have the opportunity to try a wicker coffin, make a dreamcatcher, write a message on the Tree of Life, try their hand at celtic spiral drawing and take part in the global public art project “Before I Die”1. Michael and Maria Start, better known to Nairn residents as the House of Automata will bring their latest production from the Flying Starts Flea Circus2 “Life is Flea-ting” prepared especially for the event. Music will be provided for the first hour by the Slim Panatellas, a bluegrass duo.

The event is a joint initiative by Nairn Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) and NHS  Highland Health and Social Care Partnership with financial support from Highland Council.

Kate MacLean, Community Development Officer for Services for Older People explained that the intention of the event is to share information and knowledge, and is hoping that people will take the opportunity to attend the event and find answers to some difficult questions.  “There are mysteries and fears around death and dying in Scotland. In many cases people are less prepared practically, emotionally or spiritually for death than they could be and this can cause difficulties for them and those close to them for years. Much fear and many difficulties can be removed by people making arrangements while they are well. “

Nairn CAB Manager Gill MacLean says, “This initiative is all about giving people straightforward information3, and showing them the practical steps they can take now that will reduce pressures one day on their family and friends. It is especially important for people find out their legal position if they are “living together”, separated or have children. We’re not out to frighten or depress anyone, or to force anyone to do anything they don’t want. All we do is give you the information, and its then for you to decide what you want to do with it. In fact, the mood of the campaign so far has been quite bright and positive. People are happy to feel they are helping their families – because that’s exactly what they are doing. Indeed, it’s not only about death. It’s about helping your loved ones get through what will be a very difficult time for them. Who wouldn’t want to do that?”

This event is part of the first national campaign to raise awareness of the need for Scotland to become a place where people can be open about death, dying and bereavement.4  It is a first for Nairn and the only event of its kind in Scotland.

In conjunction with this event, in the evening at the Nairn Little Theatre there will be one of only two performances in Scotland of  “Etiquette of Grief “5,  a playful and provocative solo show by performer Ellie Harrison coming to Scotland for the first time. Ellie takes audiences through the sometimes uncomfortable, but also funny and peculiar, rituals of mourning, offering coping mechanisms, moral support, a little musical accompaniment and even a large splash of port.

22 May 2013