Breaking the silence around caring for a dying loved one

A new website launched by LifeCircle and Bupa is breaking the silence around what it's like to care for a loved one who is dying. Time to Share is place where carers discuss the highs and lows of their experiences and share information and advice.

Geraldine Magill's daughter Lisa was just 34 when she died from a rare form of stomach cancer.

In her final years, Geraldine wasn't just her mother, she was also her carer. 

"I wanted somebody else to come in and say, don’t worry about the medication part, don’t worry about this being done on time, or that being done on time, you’re just here to be a mother and to look after your daughter," says Geraldine.

Geraldine is one of several people sharing their story about what it's like to care for a loved one who is dying, as part of a nation wide project launched by Bupa and LifeCircle. The project's aim is to break the silence around caring for a dying loved one, and to help support others who are going through the same thing.

"The only way I can describe it, it’s like living on a ticking time bomb. And when that bomb was about to go off, I had no idea what route I was going to take. What was the correct route? I had no idea," Geraldine says.

In March 2016, as part of a research program led by LifeCircle, Bupa employees were invited to share their stories and discuss ideas and solutions for helping people who are caring for someone who is dying.

Their input has made a valuable contribution to the development of the Time to Share website and Facebook page - a platform where the community can connect with each other and tell their stories of caring openly and honestly.

Time to Share includes key video interviews with carers who speak candidly of the emotional rollercoaster of caring for someone at home. They speak of the privilege of caring, but also of the guilt, the pain and the sheer overwhelming exhaustion of the role, for which they had no preparation.

Responses to the Time to Share site have been very positive, with carers from around the country beginning to share their thoughts and their insights with each other.

Melissa Reader, CEO LifeCircle says, "The work we are doing with Bupa can be thought about as a social movement to change the experience of death and dying."

"Our 30 years of experience confirm that when people who are caring for someone who is dying are better prepared, better informed and supported, they make different decisions which often lead to better outcomes."

Dwayne Crombie, Managing Director, Health Insurance is delighted with the partnership which will benefit not only our customers but the wider Australian community.

"This partnership lifts the taboo on end of life discussions and will improve the experience for all Australians in the future.

"Through their stories we learn what support carers really need and how the experience could be made better."

The Time to Share site is an early prototype which will inform the new digital platform that Bupa and LifeCircle plan to launch in April 2018.

The platform aims to:

  • Encourage important conversations about the last stages of life
  • Build the courage, confidence and capacity of people who are caring for someone who is dying, and
  • Connect people who are currently caring to others who have lived the experience and who want to share their story and learnings.

The site will also feature a series of video reflections from highly experienced LifeCircle mentors who offer wisdom and support to people caring at home. You can read more about LifeCircle on their website. 

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