Living every moment when you’re dying
“People sometimes say that when you’re diagnosed with a life-limiting condition, it’s like holding a giant magnifying
glass up to your life”, says Mary Schumacher, Chief Executive of Hospice New Zealand. “Suddenly the things that truly
matter become even clearer”.
May 15–21 is Hospice Awareness Week, an opportunity for communities to better understand how local hospices can help
people who are dying, and their families, ‘live every moment’.
“Many people dearly wish to be cared for at home, close to their loved ones”, says Ms Schumacher. “For some, it might be
very important to be able to watch the sunrise, listen to their favourite music or watch their children play sport.
Hospice helps people make the most of their lives; to live every moment in whatever way is important to them”.
Hospice care is holistic, considering a person’s physical, emotional, social, cultural and spiritual needs. Hospices
care for families and caregivers as well, both before and after a death. Most care is provided in the community, and it
is completely free of charge for patients and their families.
People are often not aware that hospices provide care for people of any age, with any life limiting condition. Around
25% of people accessing hospice services have a diagnosis other than cancer – life limiting conditions such as heart
disease, respiratory disease or motor neurone disease.
“Last year, a third of all people who died in New Zealand were supported by hospice,” says Ms Schumacher. “We’re
incredibly proud to know that hospice plays such a big role in our country, and touches so many people’s lives. We do
hope people will take the opportunity this week to learn more about their local hospice service, how they can get
involved, and to consider what truly ‘living every moment’ means to them”.