Local care home takes its lead from Morgan Freeman
Bucket lists, and celebrating things you wanted to be remembered for are the focus of a week of activities at Borehamwood’s Forest Care Village from 18 to 24 May, when staff take a stand to talk about one of life’s great conversational taboos – death.
“Even with terminal patients, relatives often avoid talking about death, but it can be hugely helpful for those who know they are nearing the end of their lives to be involved in how they will be remembered. At a time when families are grieving, it can often be a great comfort that the funeral arrangements are their way of carrying out the wishes of their loved one, whilst also providing them with an appropriate framework for end-of-life commemorations. It is often a hard conversation to have, but can give a reassuring sense of control to those who know they will not be able to express their wishes for much longer,” says Wendy Lawther, Forest Care Village Director, who will be giving a talk on Wednesday 20 May to help residents, family and friends who want to make sure everything is prepared for their death or that of a loved one but don’t know where to start.
Similarly, society often has an expectation that end-of-life commemorations have to be a sad affair, but many people are keen that their life’s achievements be celebrated. “Death is one of life’s greatest certainties – no-one can avoid it – and yet many people do not plan for what happens after their death – 60% of the population doesn’t even have a will! How much better it would be if instead of being scared about dying people thought more about celebrating life and planned ahead,” adds Wendy.
Inspired by the comedy-drama film The Bucket List, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, which was a number 1 box office hit in 2008, residents will be encouraged to make a bucket list of three things they want to do before they die and three things they want to be remembered for during a light-hearted session fuelled by ice cream sundaes. “Making a bucket list should be fun because it’s all about what matters to you and how you want to live your life. However small or big your dreams and hopes it can be a very liberating and inspiring process and I urge anyone, whatever their age or stage of life, to take the time to create one,” adds Wendy.
As part of Forest Care Village’s special ‘Celebration of Life’ event programme residents have been asked to design a celebration of life card that the home can use instead of a ‘standard’ sympathy card to send to the bereaved families of residents who have died. The winning card will be picked on 20 May.
“One of our residents who sadly lost a child in recent years has started to write poetry as a way of dealing with it and one of his poems will be printed in the winning card,” says Wendy.
The purpose-built home features 178 bedrooms, all of which are ensuite, spread across three floors. Each floor is self-contained and staffed according to the needs of the residents, from those with long-term neurological or spinal conditions aged 18 and over, to a specialist dementia unit. Forest Care Village is part of the Forest Healthcare group of homes, which includes 13 individual homes throughout the South East of England. For more information on Warren Lodge, please visit www.foresthc.com or call 0208 236 2000. Forest Care Village, Elstree & Borehamwood, is based at 10-20 Cardinal Avenue, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire WD6 1EP.
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