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The dangerous ideology of ‘rational suicide’

by Michael Cook, MercatorNet, 11 May 2018

Although Dr Goodall was healthy enough, considering his age, he did not seem well supported in day-to-day life. The turning point for him seemed to be a fall in his one-bedroom flat. Although he did not break any bones, he was unable to get up from the floor and remained there for two days. Two days without visitors, not even relatives? Something was wrong.

Although the extensive media coverage about his decision focused on airport hugs from his grandsons, Goodall’s family life must have been less than satisfactory. He had been through three marriages. None of his four children and 12 grandchildren accompanied him on his trip to Switzerland. Instead, his travelling companion was the West Australian coordinator of Exit.

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What does euthanasia mean for those who want to live?

by James Eglinton, The Sunday Herald, 17 May 2018

A society that legalises it automatically creates a new pair of choices for all of its citizens. These choices – to stop living, or to carry on living – are both novelties occasioned by the legalisation of euthanasia. If the terminally ill are granted the right to die, every terminally ill person who declines this new possibility is necessarily making the counter-choice to carry on living. The same is true regardless of which group is given the right to choose death: the old, the ill, the depressed, the poor, and so on.

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When it comes to ageism, are we fighting a losing battle?

by Catherine Foot, Centre for Ageing Better, 1 May 2017

Ageism is the last socially normal, socially acceptable form of prejudice. It’s been internalised, ingrained in us. It’s the last taboo.

People tend to think of ageing in terms of loss: whether it’s of loved ones; physical and mental capability; or independence, identity and sense of purpose.

Ultimately, we can’t prevent these losses, but I believe our response to longer lives needs to do six things to manage them and prevent ‘internalised ageism’ from taking root…

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Lives are precious, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise

The New Zealand Herald, 28 February 2018

Most older people I know, like me, forget names, lose their keys, and fairly often can’t find things they know they put somewhere. They have aches and pains and don’t enjoy them, don’t have their youthful libido, and may not feel confident climbing up ladders any more, but they don’t want to die.

Old age is not for sissies. Sometimes we are sissies anyway, but while the sight of a small flock of wax eyes feeding among flowers still makes us smile we are in and of the world, and our lives are precious.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

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Peta Credlin: Euthanasia in Australia not the mark of a civilised society

by Peta Credlin, The Telegraph Australia, 26 November 2017

I think it’s a mistake to see it through a personal prism.

In fact, that’s an indulgence if you’re making laws because we should make laws for the most vulnerable in society; for the worst case scenario, not the best.

We must make laws for the lonely, the depressed, the mentally at risk, those who might be preyed upon, the very old and the very young.

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Assisted dying laws pose a grave risk to the vulnerable

by Joel Hodge, The Age, 7 September 2017

Joel Hodge is a senior lecturer in the School of Theology at Australian Catholic University.

In a study of states with euthanasia law, published in Current Oncology, Dr J. Pereira writes that “laws and safeguards are regularly ignored and transgressed in all the jurisdictions and that transgressions are not prosecuted. For example, about 900 people annually are administered lethal substances without having given explicit consent, and in one jurisdiction, almost 50 per cent of cases of euthanasia are not reported.”

It is easy to underestimate the vulnerability of the elderly and dying, and the delicate human dynamics involved in caring for them. Whenever we are seriously ill, we are placed in a precarious position, heavily dependent on others and confronting all manner of fears.

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People near the end of life need the same protection as children

by Tony Walter, The Conversation, 7 September 2017

Tony Walter is a Professor of Death Studies at the University of Bath.

But in many societies, the approach to end of life care requires us to continue as active and responsible citizens for as long as our mental capacities allow – to make choices about what kind of care we want, and where. In anticipation of losing capacity, people are urged to act responsibly and make preferences known in advance while they are still able.

This approach to policy has not of course prevented a series of elder care scandals in hospitals and care homes in Britain. That is because these scandals were not about lack of choice, but about neglect and abandonment: patients not turned over in bed, food being left out of reach, residents not helped to the bathroom.

As well as badly structured and poorly funded health and social care systems, an underlying cause of these scandals may be traced to a blind spot in Western democracies. The single-minded valuing of individual autonomy fails those whose deteriorating body or mind compromises this very autonomy.

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