It’s best to start having end of life conversations before you need to, even if it feels a little uncomfortable at the time. This toolkit attempts to make it easier to open conversations about death and dying. It will give you ideas about things to consider and decide when it comes to your own death and how to support a loved ones wishes if faced with their death. We’re all going to die one day, so this toolkit is relevant to everyone, at any age. Looking at the issue through an LGBTQ+ lens helps us to explore our unique lived experiences and the different issues we face.
What is an advanced care directive? Palliative care? A death doula? Some of the terms related to death planning and end of life issues can be confusing. We have all you need to know in our glossary here.
Ageing as an LGBTQ+ Person
Many of us do not like to think about ageing, death and dying until we have to. We generally have a cultural taboo when it comes to talking about ageing and death these issues, but as the LGBTQ+ community knows, we are all about breaking taboos, right? Unfortunately, this could mean it will be too late for you-to make timely decisions and choices when the time comes
We cannot choose if our dying process will be quick or drawn out. However, we can understand what a terminal illness is, what is palliative care and who can be included in our palliative care and end of life decision making.
When we are busy living our lives, we do not like to think that the worst can happen. But unexpected events are just that; unexpected. If you become so ill or injured that you cannot advocate for yourself, or you die, you need to know that your wishes will be respected and that the people making decisions for you are the people you want – who may not be your family of origin.
Grief and Bereavement
When someone you care about dies, it is natural to experience grief. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Just as every relationship is unique, so is every bereavement. For members of our LGBTQ+ communities, the grieving process may be complicated by stigma and prejudice. There are many ways you, the LGBTQ+ community and diverse cultures can recognise your loss.
Caring for Yourself and Others
Caring for a loved one, friend or family member who is sick or injured can be incredibly difficult. When you are caring for a loved one who is dying, it can feel like an impossible challenge. You might be struggling with many different emotions. We have support and information for carers here.
From providing for yourself after you no longer work, to making sure your wishes for your property are respected after you die, for LGBTQ+ people financial planning can have extra complications – and opportunities.
A comprehensive list of resources on all aspects of death and funeral planning, aged and palliative care, from Australia and Internationally.
ACON would like to thank the community advisory group and steering committee members, throughout the development of this toolkit.
This toolkit was produced by ACON’s ageing initiative, the LOVE Project (Living Older Visibly and Engaged) and funded by NSW Health.
We would love to hear your feedback on this toolkit. Please complete this short survey.