Senator Mary Moran along with Mary Deery, Coordinator of Age Friendly Initiative, and Marie Hayes, Development Manager, Citizen’s Information Centre, Co Louth, today (6th October) showed their support for the recently launched Think Ahead pilot project in Louth.
Developed by the Forum on End of Life in Ireland – an initiative of the Irish Hospice Foundation - the Think Ahead project involves people thinking about and recording their preferences in the event of an emergency, serious illness or death. A Think Ahead form has been developed for people to use in capturing this important information and will be available free to all members of the public.
As Positive Ageing Week draws to a close, people are being encouraged to Think Ahead and use the form to Think, Talk, Tell – think about their wishes, talk to their loved ones and tell people what their preferences are.
The Think Ahead initiative was developed following a year-long national public consultation between 2009 and 2010 to explore issues of concern around death, dying and bereavement in Ireland. Think Ahead will engage all members of the public – young and old; those who are healthy and those living with illness.
People of Dundalk are being asked to think about their wishes for end of life, talk to their families and then to fill out their Think Ahead form. The pilot will run until Friday, November 30th and people are being asked to fill in their Think Ahead form by this date.
The concept of Think Ahead was launched by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny in October 2011. Louth has been chosen as the site of a pilot programme which will run from September to November 2012. A pilot is also being run in Co Limerick.
Senator Mary Moran said: “Think Ahead is about living with the confidence that your wishes are known and your family will try to fulfil those preferences should you become dependent. It gives everyone peace of mind. People think ahead when planning for a wedding, starting a family, extending their house or going on holidays. Thinking about difficult issues such as life-threatening illness or death are a bit more difficult. The Think Ahead form is an important tool in facilitating people to have sensitive conversations and record their preferences.”
Mary Deery, Coordinator of Age Friendly Initiative commented, “People are living longer, a fact that should be celebrated. Ageing is not a burden but an opportunity. The Think Ahead initiative links in with this, in encouraging people to have conversations and share their views on these important matters.”
During the pilot in Dundalk, Think Ahead forms will be available from pharmacies, Citizen Information Centres and many local libraries. A media campaign is being organized with advertising in newspapers and on radio.
Marie Hayes, Development Manager, Citizen’s Information Centre, Co Louth said. “Think Ahead is about the citizens of Louth learning and talking about their care preferences. We are delighted to be supporting this initiative, and forms are available from the Dundalk and Drogheda Citizen Information Centres.”
The “Think Ahead” initiative is being supported by a number of influential bodies such as the Law Reform Commission, the Citizens Information Board and the Irish Pharmacy Union.
The Think Ahead Form will also allow people to record the location of key legal and financial documents and approve the donation of their organs and a hospital post-mortem in the event of their death. The Think Ahead Form and useful related guidance and resources are available on www.thinkahead.ie
Think Ahead has been developed by the Forum on End of Life in Ireland. The Forum conducted a year-long consultation across Ireland in 2009 to look at the issues that mattered most to Irish people in relation to death, dying and bereavement.