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Mrs Dorothy McElroy

I have learned most about life, joy and love from working with people nearing the end of life and the inspiring people who care for them.

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Our lives are only made complete by our deaths. Nearing death and dying are part of life and should be treated with the same care, open communication, attention to detail and loving support that are given to the birthing process.

We live right to the point of death and this final part of someone's life is given the dignity it deserves when we acknowledge that each of us has a mind, a body and a spirit.

To only treat the body with a medical approach seems to miss the point altogether. It does nothing to assist those who will be bereaved to come to terms with their loss.

Unfortunately our age defying, death denying society does not help us to speak about illness, aging, decline, death and the natural process of bereavement.

A more open approach from us all would go some way to reducing the isolation, fear and loneliness which often accompanies these stages of life.

In our communities we have all the resources we need to provide real support to people. We need to speak up, acknowledge our common humanity and mobilise those resources to make supportive networks a reality.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

How do we live well and die well?
Do we really know what we want and communicate it?
Can we really be neighbourly and risk putting ourselves out to turn love into action?

Tell us about your work experience:

I was a Nurse working in palliative care in Scotland for 26 years, as a manager for 12 of those years and as a Hospice Chief Executive for the last 7 years of my career.

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