What is the GATE Project and why was it set up?
The GATE (Good At The End) Project is a volunteer project which was established at the start of 2013. The core group of volunteers have all seen first hand the the problems caused when no thought has been given to issues which arise at the end of life and have, conversely, seen how affirming and positive forward planning in this way is giving peace of mind and comfort to the person concerned and the people they leave behind when they are gone. Death is a part of life and we want to get the people of the North East thinking and talking and making choices while life is good so that when tough times come it is easier for everyone. This project is about getting people talking, thinking and making informed decisions. It is not about waiting until someone is approaching the end of their life, it is about thinking ahead, planning and taking action now, when things are good, so that when end of life and death come the people they love and who care for them have a clear understanding of what is important and what is not important. This project encourages positive planning which will increase the chances of a good end of life, the chances of dying well.
What difference does planning for the end of my life make? (I will be dead before my plan starts to work!)
When someone dies there are lots and lots of decisions to be made, often by those most deeply affected by the death and who are struggling themselves. Having a GATE Plan in place with many of the decisions made will allow those you love to get on with the process of grieving and supporting each other. There is evidence to suggest that grief can be positively affected and stress reduced if instructions are left. It is also a very positive thing for each of us to do – to reflect on our lives and record key things. All this helps us accept our own (inevitable) mortality and frees us up to enjoy our lives. Do not underestimate the positive aspects of planning either. After all, when we say planning, in practice that is thinking about, talking about and exploring different things to see what feels right for us. Whether you do that alone or with another member of your family or a friend, it is a good thing to do – think of it as “personal housekeeping”!
What are the main choices you recommend that I make?
The GATE Plan and project is about raising awareness about the importance of planning for the end of our lives. You need to decide what you should/should not do and, indeed, there are no right or wrong answers. However, it is far better that you have considered these things and made a decision (even if that decision is to do nothing and leave it to someone else) than to just ignore them!
I want to make my own plans – where do I start?
Take a look at Your GATE Plan. You can print the pages of the plan off there or order your own copy. Note that the pages will only print in black and white. Full colour copies in our specially designed folder are available to order.
What do I use the GATE Plan for?
To record your life and what is important to you. To leave memories for loved ones. To positively plan your wishes for after you have died so that the ones you love do not have to decide for you or guess what you would have wanted. To put life into death! This is your plan – write on the pages, put other clippings, photographs, documents in it as you go along. It should be whatever you want it to be.
How can I get my own copy of the GATE Plan?
You can either print your own black and white copy of the GATE Plan, or you can order your own full colour copy in a folder which is big enough for all your other documents. See Your GATE Plan for details.
I live outside the UK. Can I have a copy of the GATE Plan?
Of course! It is currently only available in English and it should be noted that the advice on legal aspects is only relevant to Scottish Law but please do Contact Us with your request and we can calculate costs for you.
Who is the GATE Plan for?
Anyone who wants to use it! We would not suggest that children be given a pack to complete unsupported however there are some activities which you may want to talk to your children about.
I have no-one to talk about this with. What do you suggest?
One of the reasons we created the GATE Plan as a physical resource was because people were telling us that their friends/family would not talk to them about their wishes. The GATE Plan is designed to be a record of what your wishes regardless of whether you have someone to talk them through with or not. We have some suggestions for conversation starters in the Plan which may help.
At what age/stage of life should I start planning?
If you are reading this then we would suggest that you consider making some kind of plan. Not everyone will want to or feel the need to plan at any age however many see it as a sensible and practical thing to do. None of us know how many years we have to live so some preparation for our death is worth consideration at any age.
How can I volunteer to spread the word about the GATE Plan?
We are always looking for people who can help us spread the word about the GATE Plan. As a first step we recommend that you read through the Plan here Your GATE Plan to familiarise yourself with the content and then tell family and friends about us. Like our Facebook page which is where we post interesting articles and information about our events.
Should I complete my GATE plan alone or with someone else?
Either option works. We have had people completing their GATE Plan with another member of the family (Grandmother and Granddaughter, Sister and Brother, Father and Son etc) and we have also had people completing as part of a social group. You can also complete the plan on your own although you may find it useful to discuss some of your thoughts with a friend or family member.
How long does it take to complete the GATE Plan?
It takes as long as you want to spend on it! Your GATE Plan reflects your life so it may take you a while and we hope that you will also come back to the Plan from time to time to update it. Some parts you will be able to complete quite quickly but others may need more thought.
Where should I keep my GATE Plan?
We would suggest that you keep it with your other important documents and that you tell either a friend or family member that you have completed a Plan.