A lot of our work involves helping clergy and lay people to develop their skills, confidence and sensitivity in issues relating to death and dying. This year, we invited Rabbi Julia Neuberger to give the Malcolm Goldsmith lecture, on ‘Dying Well.’ Although people in our society tend not to like talking about death, we had a huge response, and even had to book a bigger venue to accommodate all the attendees. Neuberger’s speech is available in full on our website (www.faithinolderpeople.org.uk) as she gave last-minute permission for us to record her in action.
There was a lively debate at the end, and again we were besieged by people wanting to take this further. So on 7th May, in collaboration with Edinburgh University Chaplaincy Centre and Good Life Good Death Good Grief, we held a ‘conversation’ with 40 places – and again had to turn people away. This has now been written up and is available on our website and we’re looking at ways of rolling it out.
Neuberger was very challenging on the subject of Living Wills, or Advance Directives. She asked for a show of hands as to how many people in the audience had prepared such a thing, and was appalled when less than 25% of the audience put their hands up. Myself, I’d have thought 25% was quite a good figure; maybe I need to be more ambitious. We’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you have a Living Will/Advance Directive? What was your experience of putting it together? Do you have advice for others thinking about this? Do get in touch.