For Dying matters week 2015 The University of Bradford has chosen to coordinate a Death café and run a Conference surrounding current issue around death. Both events are predominantly organised by students within the Faculty of Health at the University. The purpose of these events is to get people thinking and talking about issues around death.
The following are abstracts from a selection of our speakers for the #letstalkdeath conference.
14:00- Let’s Talk after death too
Jan R Oyebode, Professor of Dementia Care
When someone dies we feel we have lost them; and of course, we have lost the living two-way relationship with them. However, we all know the saying: ‘Those who die live on in the hearts of those who remember them’. In this talk, I shall discuss the way we talk to and about those who have died. These forms of talk are examples of one strand of the phenomenon called ‘continuing bonds’, which describes the emotional connection we may still feel with those who have died. Talk with, and about, the dead can provide us with comfort and guidance. In this presentation I shall give examples from studies in the UK and Pakistan that show how such talk gives the person who has died a continuing influence in our lives, and brings benefit to those who are bereaved.
14:30 Groundhog grief – Managing the Bereaved Individual Living with Dementia
Martin Neal, Lecturer and PhD student
For the individual living with dementia the condition has multiple, physical and psychological impacts. For many individuals this will include a gradual loss of a reality grounded in the present day- the here and now. Those individuals who move out of “our” reality and progress to enter a reality of the past – the then and there ; coupled with a declining or absent short term memory can find themselves in a position where they experience the bereavement for the first time in a repetitive and distressing way.
This session will aim to provide and discuss alternate strategies for managing the often challenging situation of what to say and do when some with dementia has forgotten their spouse or partner has died. The purpose being to help the person avoid the painful scenario of having to relive the news of their bereavement for the first time over and over, thereby enabling them to avoid a Groundhog Day situation from which they cannot move on or escape.
15:00- Dawn Thompson- A personal experience
15:30 Continuing Bonds: Exploring the meaning and legacy of death through past and contemporary practice
Laura Middleton-Green, Lecturer and PhD student
I will present a summary of a research project that is due to start in early 2016, led by Dr Karina Croucher from the School of Archeology in the Faculty of Life Sciences along with Professor Christina Faull from LOROS Hospice, Leicester. The aim of the study is to demonstrate tangibly how archaeology can inform our current attitudes to death and dying, and be used to explore the value of collaboration between health care professionals and archaeologists. The diverse methods of dealing with death and the dead uncovered by archaeologists will bring a different perspective to our current attitudes and therefore contribute towards a necessary re-examination of today’s taboo status of death as an inevitable human experience. Through creating a compendium of insights into death through time, particularly the fundamental resonance of bereavement, loss and commemoration, the project will shape thinking on how contemporary practice and historical perspectives can be mutually informed. I will provide some background to the study, including some preliminary exploratory work that has been carried out with post-registration nursing students, with volunteers and staff in Rotherham Hospice, and with LOROS hospice in Leicester. I will open the topic for an interactive discussion and debate with conference delegates.
We are really looking forward to the week, and to some lively and thought-provoking conversations about this important but often invisible topic.
The #letstalkdeath Team