It seems public support for elderly suicide is growing in the United Kingdom and I suspect that is has a great deal to do with money. At some point in time, countries are going to have to make hard decisions about how to deal with a burgeoning aging population. This has become a frequent topic of conversation when I get together with my family.

Many of my baby boomer aunts and uncles are terrified of ending up in a nursing home like my grandfather and they all loathe sending him there but he simply requires too much care to be taken care of in anyone’s home. It takes a team of about 5 or 6 people to take care of him and he’s just one person. Americans want to believe that socialized medicine will bring rationing but the reality is that there isn’t going to be enough money, people, or resources to handle 78 million retiring and aging people under any private or public plans.

As part of their plan to take care of each other, most of my aunts and uncles on my grandfather’s side have all moved to homes near each other in a small town community in the hopes of living and taking care of each other during their elderly years. This is one approach while those that have little or no family seem to face the prospect of suicide.

From the article,

Six out of ten people also want friends and relatives to be able to help their dying loved ones to commit suicide without fear of prosecution.

Changing the law has always been opposed strongly by doctors, with two out of three against legalisation. But yesterday saw the first sign of change in the medical establishment.

The Royal College of Nursing dropped its opposition to assisted suicide and adopted a “neutral” position after a three-month consultation with members. Nurses will receive new guidance on how patients can deal with terminal illness. Many nurses are being asked by desperate patients about travelling abroad to clinics such as Dignitas, in Zurich, to end their lives and are unsure what they can say.

Remember, getting old is a terminal illness so don’t let the definition make you think that it’s only about people who have cancer.