Welcome to Dying Matters Week at Butterwick Hospice in Bishop Auckland.
Detailed below is information about the events to come and reviews of the presentations given and what we've learned. Everyone is welcome to attend and all events are provided free of charge:
Monday 14th May - 6pm
Mindfulness and Circle Dancing / Discovering new ways to cope in difficult times.
This will be a practical session about Mindfulness. When times are really hard and it can be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to the present moment. It is about stopping and taking notice of everything in and around us and can assist in helping us to accept what life has to offer.
It is a skill which is based upon yoga, breathing and meditation but it can be practised at any time. It is designed to help you alter your reactions to every day dilemmas through enabling you to become more aware of your own thoughts and feelings so instead of being overwhelmed by them you are better able to manage them.
Dancing is an ancient tradition, the aim of which was to enhance a sense of community and togetherness and thus improve the wellbeing of the individual and the group as a whole.
Circle dancing originates from both the traditional dances of many countries as well as modern dances based on classical and contemporary music and songs. The dance style used in a session will reflect the mood of the group and the experience of the facilitator. Dances can be energetic and lively, gentle or reflective.
All dances will be taught and can be adapted so that participants of any age and all those with any type of disability can be included.
Tuesday 15th May - 2.30pm
Laughter yoga sessions include practice in breath control, specific laughter yoga exercises, fun exercises and some meditation. The design of the session reflects the mood of the group and the experience of the practitioner.
"For residents of hospices, their carers, family and friends, not forgetting staff and volunteers, therapeutic laughter yoga provides hope, optimism and a sense of fun when laughter might not be easy to come by. There is no joke telling. Laughter yoga uses the healing power of hilarity through gentle child-like play."
Laughter Yoga appears to have beneficial effects on various aspects of biochmistry including the reduction of stress hormones and therefore the exacerbation of stress levels, the relief of pain and improvement in emotional wellbeing.
This session can be adapted so that people of any age or disability can be included in this wonderful therapy.
Wednesday 16th May - 2pm
Helen Dexter, Solicitor, Tilley, Bailey & Irving
Whilst we are healthy and enjoying life we don't want to think about such things as making a Will, advance decisions, powers of attorney, mental capacity, care of children after death or probate.
These are all things that belong to the end of life. However, as science and medicine has meant our health has improved overall and we live to a greater age, a dilemma can arise for each of us individually. At what point do we decide when "enough is enough". Should we not be able to dictate what happens to us, our property, our children (under the age of 18) our money and how we should be looked after, if the unforeseen, such as an accident or disabling illness occurs?
Helen will be able to offer information concerning the legal side of these things. After her talk there will be an opportunity for questions and also time for individual discussions if requested.
Wednesday 16th May - 6pm
(Represented by Saint & Forster of Darlington)
A talk about the changing face of death over the years. This interesting presentation will provide us with a brief overview of the past, present and future of funerals from the time of the Romans through to modern day and into the future. They will share examples of different options or ways funerals can now be conducted.
The audience will be given the opportunity to think about what type of funeral they themselves would like and the funeral directors will be able to explain how people's individual ideas can be fulfilled.
Rev George Callendar - Bereavement Practitioner
George will present a talk about the celebrating of farewells and the importance of freedom of choice in funeral and memorial planning. He will focus on the need for people to be able to choose how a funeral service is planned and conducted, who facilitiates the service and who is able to take part in these celebrations of a life.
Alison Hicks, Manager, Wear Valley Crematorium
Alison will offer us the opportunity to ask all those questions we have always wanted to ask but perhaps never dared! She can help us to dispel the myths about cremation and what happens to our bodies when they are taken to the crematorium.
Thursday 17th May - 2pm
Macmillan Welfare Benefits Service
The Macmillan Welfare Benefits Service will talk about "benefits at the end of life for those with terminal illnesses, and what happens after death."
Questions can be asked of the speaker so that you can fully understand the intricacies of the benefit system at this difficult time. This service is also able to offer advice and support to anyone who is experiencing difficulties around benefits in relation to their life limiting illness.
Thursday 17th May - 6pm
Macmillan nurse, Barbara Myers, will offer you an insight into thinking about dying and death through a talk entitled "talking about an uncertain future."
Barbara will help the audience to understand the necessity of exploring the options people have in deciding how they would like to be cared for at the time of death. People who have a terminal illness are helped by Macmillan nurses to look at these questions as part of their roles. However, any of us could suddenly be deprived of our lives and it is important that we have the opportunity to think for ourselves about such things as whether we would want to be resuscitated, whether we would want other life saving treatment or whether we would want to refuse such treatment.
Barbara will answer any questions and has offered to see people individually after the presentation to discuss any personal questions.
Friday 18th May - 10am - 3pm
Hospice Open Day
- So what is a hospice like?
- What sort of facilities do you find there?
- Who works at a hospice?
- How could they help me or my loved ones?
- Why should I support my local hospice?
Say Hospice to most people and they shy away from the subject. Most people associate hospices with dying however, people who have experience of a hospice and those who work or volunteer at a hospice will very quickly tell you to associate hospices with living.
Hospices are all about improving the quality of life for people living with a life limiting illness. They provide a multitude of support systems, therapies and services for the patient and their loved ones and its all provided free!
Those who have used the services of a hospice can't speak highly enough of them. The support given by highly experienced and qualified staff and by dedicated volunteers goes a long, long way towards helping everyone in the family to cope with the terrible circumstances surrounding a life limiting illness.
Find out more about what Butterwick Hospice at Bishop Auckland has to offer in the way of services and support by visiting the Open Day on Friday 18th May. There will be tours given of the excellent facilities and manned displays of information from the following organisations and groups:
Horizons (for young carers aged between 14 - 25 years)
Bridge Carers (for children below 14 years who are caring for adults)
A stand will be manned and people are invited to come and discuss matters concerning the care of adults by children. These groups are hoping to commence support groups for young carers in this area in the near future. We hope that the hospice will be one of the venues used so that children and young people can also access the Butterwick Family Support Service.
The National Alzheimers Association
Advice and support will be on offer to anyone wishing for more information about the work of this national charity.
NHS Mini Health MOT
The NHS are offering anyone the opportunity to access a mini health assessment. This could be your first step to maintaining and improving your health. A mini health MOT is an opportunity to check your current health and lifestyle and identify future risks.
Michael Kerrigan - Writer - Book Launch
Successful writer, Michael Kerrigan, is launching a new book at the hospice Open Day. This is the latest in a string of publications by Michael.
The book entitled 'Where there's a Will: a practical guide to taking charge of your affairs" (Saraband: publisher) attempts to throw light on subjects which still remain taboo. It provides constructive tips and thoughtful reflections on death, dying and bereavement.
Michael will be available to discuss the information provided in his book and to answer any questions from members of the public.
The Hospice Team
Members of the hospice team will be available to discuss what they can offer to the community. Information regarding the Day Hospice for life limited patients, the Heart Failure Day Hospice, the Neurological Day Hospice and Physiotherapy Service will all be available.
The Family Support Team will also be on hand to offer support and guidance and can explain the services that are provided to the community including counselling for all ages, bereavement groups, semi structured courses for those who are bereaved and those who have survived cancers plus courses offered to other organisations.
Members of the hospice complementary therapies team will be on site offering short taster sessions of some of the therapies delivered to patients and carers.
The hospice fundraising team will supply information about up and coming events and initiatives to support the work of Butterwick Hospice at Bishop Auckland to help ensure the hospice is here supporting local communities into the future.
There will also be information available from all the speakers who have presented during the week.