December 13, 2021
The Death Café with People First
Supporting people who have a learning disability to understand and manage illness and death
There’s still a massive stigma surrounding death and conversations about this inevitable part of life can be really difficult, especially for people who have a learning disability. It’s often the case that people who have a learning disability feel left out of death; they’re sometimes excluded from making funeral arrangements for themselves and conversations about loved ones who are sick and dying. This way of ‘protecting people’ can actually be really damaging to their mental health so it’s important that we make planning for death and illness more accessible for everyone.
Our first People First Death Café
Meet Siobhan and Robert from People First, explaining why it’s so important to talk about death, whether this your own death or the death of a loved one:
Having important conversations about death and illness
It was a really empowering day for all involved. People First delivered a thought-provoking play about a friend who had died and people discussing plans for her funeral and how she’d like to be remembered around her. There were loads of activities supporting people to open up about life and death; things people would like to accomplish before they die, what songs people would like to played at their funeral, how their perfect last day on Earth would be spent and who they’d like to talk at their funeral. There was also a chance to reflect on loved ones lost, remembering what people loved about that person and treasuring their memory by sticking their reflections on a special ‘memory tree’.
Everyone took something different from the session depending on what worked for them. For everyone, there was a chance for plenty of fun too. Light-hearted music covering the theme of life and death like ‘Ring of fire’ and ‘Always look on the bright side of life’ blasted with people getting up for a boogie; there was a chance to colour in sugar skulls and funeral flowers; and the day finished with a quiz looking at some of the less serious phrases and euphemisms associated with death – the likes of ‘kicked the bucket’ and ‘pushing up daisies’.
Check out some highlights:
Support us and People First in making planning for death and illness more accessible for everyone
What an inspiring day challenging the norm and tackling death head-on as part of our Big Plan mission to support people with planning for death and illness more accessibly. To find out more about the Death Cafe concept and hosting your own, contact our pals at People First or email@example.com.
Want to support people to influence, to lead change and to inspire in their local community? Check out our support worker jobs in Merseyside.