One of the five core elements to achieving financial wellbeing is to know that our loved ones will be looked after if something were to happen to us.
This might take the form of writing a will, having conversations within the family, or perhaps just making sure the partner knows how to operate the central heating.
Penny Brohn UK Bristol’s Whole Life Approach helps people to ‘live well’ with cancer. Helen French is Lead for Psychological Therapies at their national centre. She says that people with a terminal illness can find some comfort from getting the practicalities sorted, providing clarity for those they are going to leave behind.
In Helen’s experience people can find it helpful knowing they have prepared and that there will be less for family members to do. This allows them to get on with living the rest of their lives, for however long that might be.
One person using the services at the centre said that one of the simple things he did that contributed most to him being able to live well with cancer was changing ownership of his car into his wife’s name.
Leaving clear instructions is an important part of this process. We can help you get your documents in order, make sure everyone understands your requirements, liaise with other members of the family. It’s also important that your advisers deal with you in a way that is tactful, but productive.
Helen French provides some guidance as to how to speak with people who have a life threatening illness. People tend to be nervous and unsure how to approach the situation. The best thing you can do, she says, is try not to be trite. So often people are worried about saying the wrong thing whereas in fact there is nothing you can that that will make things any worse. So don’t skirt around the subject, but instead focus on them. “How are you feeling” is a pretty dumb question to someone with cancer. “What do you need right now?” is more likely to be received well.
Grief does not only arrive after someone has dies. Grief hits us at any point when our expectations of the future is changed.
It’s not uncommon for people to close up during periods of illness, as they try to deflect the truth and hope it will go away. Simply talking can be a major step in coming to terms with a very different future than the one all parties involved had expected.
The staff of the NHS do wonderful things (my wife is an oncology nurse), however the one thing they do not have is time. This is where Penny Brohn UK can really help. They give time and space to allow people to talk, whether it is with medical experts, other cancer patients, or with their loved ones. It also opens up the way to talk about what life might look like after we are gone.