A LOT of myth and superstition still surrounds the topics of death, dying and end-of-life care.
Some of us are even too afraid to talk about the subject in case talking about it makes it happen.
The Better Access to Palliative Care (BAPC) in Tasmania program has worked to change those misconceptions and to educate the community that healthy dying is a part of healthy living.
The program has also encouraged people to “have the conversation” before it is too late.
To continue these conversations across Tasmania and to celebrate National Palliative Care Week in May, Palliative Care Tasmania, along with BAPC partners including The District Nurses, will host an expo with a difference.
The “Dying to Talk Expo” will be held in Launceston and Hobart and for the first time under one roof Tasmanians will have the chance to have many of their questions answered by professionals in the fields of death, dying and end-of-life care.
Palliative Care Tasmania general manager Colleen Johnstone said it was important to be able to talk about these “often taboo” subjects.
“It’s all about living, dying and grieving well,” she said.
“Many of us leave it too late to talk with family and friends.
“A reluctance to face up to some hard decisions while we are still healthy and able to choose for ourselves makes the decision making that much harder for our loved ones in the long run.”
The Dying to Talk Expo will feature information on a range of subjects from palliative care and living and caring for someone with a life-limiting illness to funeral planning.
Ms Johnstone said the funeral industry was one area that was changing its emphasis and setting the trend to plan in advance.
“Not so long ago it was unheard of to celebrate someone’s life at their funeral, whereas now it has become an acceptable choice for many people,” she said.
“At the expo there will be funeral designers, funeral photographers and funeral directors to provide information to people to help their decision making,” she said.
Ms Johnstone said the expo would also give people the chance to think and reflect about what they may want as their life draws to an end and to discuss the benefits of matters such as advance care planning.
“There will also be an art installation and the chance to sit down with a barista-made coffee and a muffin, while the children have their face painted and you and the children do some colouring in,” she said.
“We want to encourage people from all walks of life to come along.
“It’s a great chance to talk with the kids about what is, after all, one of the most important facts of life.”
Dying to Talk will be held at the Albert Hall, Launceston on Saturday 21 May from 10am-4pm and Princes Wharf 1 Hobart on Saturday 28 May from 10am-4pm.