Welcome to the Business Bits and Bobs video series!

In this 3 part video interview, Nicolette Smith of The End of Life Care and Lynette Delane of Kits and Bits discuss how technology has changed how we deal with death.

Key Takeaways from Part 2:
1. There are many ways you can use technology in End of Life Care and Funeral Planning.
2. Communication with core people, and deciding on a Media Blackout.
3. The differences between generations and how we notify each other of a death.

Nicolette works as an End of Life Doula providing information, guidance and support to those who are at the end of their life. She provides compassionate care at every step of the journey, allowing those involved to feel supported, nurtured and safe.

Nicolette’s interest in the End of Life care evolved from her own personal experiences of loss and provided her with a compassionate and respectful approach to life; a personal and intimate understanding of the grieving process and the types of emotional care needed.

Transcription for: How Technology has changed the way we deal with death with Nicolette Smith of The End of Life Care [Part 2/3]

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Lynette:

Like, we found technology absolutely amazing, so I’m the youngest of nine children. We have 12 in the next generation, and two, well, three now, but two at the time in the next generation after that.

We have a wide, extended audience. My mum was a friend to everybody, and as I’ve said to many people, she had 220 of her closest friends at her funeral, so people were really interested, and they wanted to know and they wanted daily updates, and particularly as things started declining.

To be able to communicate was just incredible, so we had a SMS group, like group list, mailing list, so I was doing the predominant of caring at the actual hospital, so I would just send that to my sister and say, “This is what happened today. We spoke to the doctor here, this was the outcome, such and such has been to visit. This person’s been in, that person’s coming tomorrow”.

We could manage visitors as well, because that started getting a bit, we’d have too many people at once, so sending out that sort of global text message meant that everybody knew what was going on, who was going to be around. “Oh, okay, we’ll it’s quiet from this time to that time. I could pop in then”.

Nicolette: Yeah.
Lynette:

That was incredible and made such a difference, so I would send it to my sister, and then she would distribute it out to the group.

That group got wider and wider, so it started off with just the immediate siblings, and then all the nieces and nephews were copied in as well because they wanted to know straight away and not wait for mom and dad to pass it on. Then my cousin and all of that started being added, and that was absolutely incredible.

Then in the hospital as mom started declining, I would use music a lot, particularly at night when things were tougher and she’d be in pain and not be able to sleep. I would set up a YouTube playlist of her favorite hymns, or I would bring in an iPod with songs that she loved and play that to her, because that seemed to calm her down. It would’ve been much harder to do that 20 years ago with a tape deck.

Nicolette: Even the apps that we’ve got now for meditations and relaxation and breathing things and visualization, yeah, you could use those.
Lynette: Yeah, I could see definitely. My Mum wasn’t interested in that sort of stuff, but I could see from a younger person’s perspective, that would definitely be something that I would be interested in.
Nicolette: Yeah.
Lynette:

Then it was, once we moved into palliative care- so we’d done a lot of funeral planning, or she’d already done a lot well before I got involved.

We did the last little bit while she was still conscious and able to make decisions. She got to pick what reading she would have, all those things. I was able to type them into my laptop by the side of the bed, all of that notes was already there. Then we, because we knew once we decided that we weren’t continuing treatment, it was like, “Okay, well, there’s going to be a funeral,” rather than worrying about that afterwards when we’re already in heavy grief. Let’s start getting as much planned.

As people were coming in to visit Mum, they’d bring a pile of photos on a USB, I’d dump them on to my laptop, give them the USB back, and sit there and we’d have the photos playing on the TV in the palliative care room, not that mum could see, but we could see them, and we would sit and chat about them. Photos from 55, 60 years ago of my older siblings when they were little, and just that chatter, I think, around Mum would’ve been very calming and consoling and comforting. That was amazing.

Nicolette: Yeah.
Lynette:

Then when it came to her actually passing away, we actually had, we said as part of the funeral planning to our entire family, there will be a media blackout.

That’s something I would never have considered in the past, but I have seen, and you were saying about people finding out too early.

I have seen people find out about a death on Facebook from someone who’s not the immediate family, and to me that’s just horrifying. It seems to be the thing, perhaps our younger generation, that’s how they do things, but even people who should know better, people who are older than me who have put a message to somebody, “Oh, I’m sorry to hear about it.”

They might not have even told, there might be a cousin or a sibling or somebody in another country that’s in the middle of the night and we haven’t rung them yet, so we said to everyone, you do not put anything on Facebook, not even any photos, no teary faces, no emoticons, nothing. You don’t put anything up until we have told all of the core people on the list.

Nicolette: Yeah.
Lynette:

Right? Then what we decided to do, again because there’s nine of us, the majority of us went on Facebook. We decided we would do a group Facebook post regarding Mum’s passing, and then also about the funeral, and that in itself was really quite an incredible experience.

We posted it from my elder sister’s account, and then we all shared it across our Facebook feeds, and that alone was such an incredible experience because we had all of these people who had touched all of our different lives that might be friends of friends or whatever all jumping on and going, “Oh, your Mum was such an amazing woman,” or “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that”.

People that couldn’t come to the funeral that might have been in the UK or over east were able to offer all these condolences, but it was still under our control, it was on our terms, and that was really incredible as well.

Then with the funeral notice, so many young people don’t read death notices in the paper anymore.

Nicolette: I don’t think many people do anymore.
Lynette: I know, most people don’t get pamphlets.
Nicolette: I think they’re becoming… All of that. People just put it all on Facebook now.
Lynette:

Yeah, we put the funeral notice on, and we were able to add more, so we still did a paper one because Mum was of that generation, but we were able to add more, because per word, it’s not cheap in the paper.

We could then add things like she wanted everyone to wear nice bright colors, and parking was going to be limited, all those things that we couldn’t put in a tiny little 60 word funeral notice.

Nicolette: Yeah.
Lynette: We had some really amazing experiences with technology around Mum’s passing, and she was 84. She didn’t really like technology all that much, but.
Nicolette: No, but like you said, it’s the younger generations. It’s the children. That’s how we do it in our, yeah, the children of that generation now. That generation it’s not happening.
Lynette: That’s right.
Nicolette: Yeah.
Lynette: But you go traveling anywhere now and there’s plenty of baby boomers and above with their iPads taking photos and capturing the grandkids and Skyping.
Nicolette: Oh, yep. They are.
Lynette: All of that. We were lucky in that everybody close to her got to come and say goodbye in person, including my niece who lives in Karratha and my brother had been traveling overseas, and he got home and all of that, but we were able to make phone calls to some of her close friends that she didn’t get to go home and see first, so that sort of stuff was really quite powerful.
Nicolette: That all got to happen before it went to the bigger.
Lynette: Yeah. Yeah.

End of Transcription N.B. This transcription has been edited for better readability, however, the general structure is the same as the video.

Bits and Bobs an interview series for new business owners looking to avoid the pitfalls that we who have gone before have either already fallen into it and climbed out of or managed to skip over all together.
Subscribe to watch other episodes where I along with other business owners dive into some less talked about and sometimes tough subjects highlighting some of those – “I wish I had known” topics so that you can get your business going faster and easier.

Cheers,

Lynette embodies an intrinsic ability to save business owners money by delivering back the all-elusive “spare” time so they can use it to do what they love. She puts these principles into practice in her own business – Kits and Bits. Lynette is an avid genealogist and tango dancer.

Lynette Delane

Tech Translator, Kits and Bits

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