Thursday, February 7, 2008

Suicide. Not a catchy title but what else can I call it?

According to the November 27, 2007 NY Times article by Jane Brody, A Common Casualty of Old Age: The Will to Live ,

"Suicide is more common among older Americans than any other age group. The statistics are daunting. While people 65 and older account for 12 percent of the population, they represent 16 percent to 25 percent of the suicides. Four out of
five suicides in older adults are men. And among white men over 85, the suicide rate — 50 per 100,000 men — is six times that of the general population. . . snip . . .Contrary to what many people think, depression is not a normal part of growing older. Nor is it harder to treat in older people. But it is often harder to recognize and harder to get patients to accept and continue with treatment."
Apparently old people read The Times too. And some of them write. Therefore, a follow-up article, A Heartfelt Appeal for a Graceful Exit February 5, 2008. I quote:

After reading the Personal Health column on Nov. 27 on preventing geriatric suicide, Gloria C. Phares, a 93-year-old retired teacher in Missouri, wrote:

“I was healthy until 90, and then Boom! Atrial fibrillation; deaf, can’t enjoy music or hear a voice unless 10 inches from my ear; fell, fractured my thigh and am now a cripple; had a slight stroke the day after my beloved husband died after 61 years of marriage.

“I’ve lived a happy life, but from here on out it’s all downhill. Is there any point in my living any longer? I’m not living — just existing. I very much want to die, but our society doesn’t let me.
Oh for a pill to ease myself out and end my pain, pain, pain.”

Assisted suicide. It's not just for the young.

1 comment:

sharryb said...

Yes, what do you call it? I'd like to find another word for a rational decision to end one's life when the body has finished with it's functional role. Death with dignity is the way some have put it. I live in Oregon where it is legal to be pro-active in the death process. The Federal Government has tried, so far unsuccessfully, to overturn the right of Oregonians to make this decision for themselves. It should be an option in my humble opinion.