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Old 01.06.2014, 11:30
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Re: EXIT would you consider being a member?

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This exactly.

My concerns are not with EXIT per se, but rather with the direction in which society's attitude to the elderly, the vulnerable, the 'non-productive' is moving.

Attitudes towards the elderly and vulnerable - especially among medical professionals - frightens me. Basing the value of human life on continued 'usefulness' is becoming acceptable. Suicide is seen as the noble gesture, while wanting to live until the last is now seen as selfish, as using more than one's fair share of resources.

I've been intimately involved in eldercare, with death and the dying process. I'm under no illusions as to what end of life care entails. And still I intend to 'rage against the dying of the light'. I have no intention of going early, thank you very much. But when I speak of my wishes to Swiss acquaintances, they are shocked at my 'egoismus'.

Given the shift I see in social attitudes coupled with the shrinking economic pie, I do indeed worry that the right to die movement is being used to avoid putting resources into eldercare, and more importantly into palliative care.

---

EXIT has just announced that 'Lebensmüde' is now an acceptable ground for assisted suicide, that the bar will be lower for the elderly wishing to end their lives than for a younger person.

What exactly are the checks that are given as assurances that one will not be pushed to suicide?
Imo absence of a terminal physical illness doesn't mean that one should be denied help regarding suicide. Absence of physical ailments doesn't make people any less capable of feeling like they'd be better off if they completed suicide. As for the possibility of being driven to suicide, I believe that can happen to people with physical illnesses just as it can happen to people without. Absence of terminal illness doesn't automatically mean that people who claim that they want to die could be happy if they just (insert whatever).

I think there is a documentary by sf on the net regarding a patient who completed suicide -google sf suicide - where the methods of interaction with suicidal people which strive to determine if the individual is being pushed to suicide are discussed.

Last edited by glowjupiter; 01.06.2014 at 11:53.
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  #62  
Old 01.06.2014, 12:17
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Re: EXIT would you consider being a member?

Not wanting to be a burden is a terrible reason to join Exit and I don't really think that is what they are about or should be about. One should never choose to end ones life because they feel they are a burden. Pain, terminal illness etc are the only reasons someone should go this route.

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Absolutely.

I've no wish to die, but I wouldn't want life as a burden on anyone else.
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Old 01.06.2014, 12:28
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Re: EXIT would you consider being a member?

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Not wanting to be a burden is a terrible reason to join Exit and I don't really think that is what they are about or should be about. One should never choose to end ones life because they feel they are a burden. Pain, terminal illness etc are the only reasons someone should go this route.
I guess the pain goes without saying, but it's not something I think about.

For various (probably unfounded) reasons, I expect to get Alzheimer's when I get older. I've seen what that puts families though, and I wouldn't want that and would want to express that while I still have the mental capacity. I expect there's some sort of interview/counselling on joining (I note that you can't join online), saying what is and isn't possible. But it's just an insurance policy.

ETA : And I'd discuss it with my family before joining. It's not something I'd decide unilaterally, on a whim.

Last edited by mirfield; 01.06.2014 at 12:43. Reason: Added last bit
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Old 01.06.2014, 12:32
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Re: EXIT would you consider being a member?

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The second sentence is unacceptable especially as it's been posted by a mod
I agree, and I'm embarrassed. There should have been a comma.
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Old 01.06.2014, 12:59
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Re: EXIT would you consider being a member?

I've thought about this long and hard, and I still don't have a clear answer. I've cared for my mother at the end of her life (with the rest of my family) as she died from breast cancer. I've seen my father go through a year of hospitalizations and nursing home stays until he died very peacefully of kidney failure. And earlier this year, my father in law died of much the same. He died very quickly, almost by force of will. Right now I have two aunts, 92 and 90 in the US, frail but still cognizant. Are they a burden? Yes. Would I want to see them go? No.

I've been treated for breast cancer. At the moment, no evidence of disease, but I could die of it sometime in the future. Or whatever.

When I was younger, I thought assisted suicide was a good thing. Stop the suffering. But as I've seen people live and die with various maladies, I'm just not sure. Like Meloncollie, I do worry about that slippery slope, feeling that life isn't worth living, and like Lou, I think being a burden is insufficient reason for ending one's life.

My mother had a pretty rotten time of it. Lots of pain, till her pain centers were numbed by brain mets and then frustration and anxiety as she lost more and more of her ability to move and communicate. After that, my father and I talked a lot about his desire for me to pull the plug if this should ever happen to him. But, when he was in a similar situation, he said no to being taken off the ventillator and he got off on his own. In the end, he died of kidney failure six months later. With my mother, I wish that we'd known more about talking about death frankly to her when we could. But it was 1991, and we had so many wrong ideas about the whole thing.

More and more, people live after treatment for chronic diseases, injury, etc, but have to deal with long term or even life-long consequences of treatment. Although palliative care grew out of oncology and other specialities dealing with terminal patients, it is no longer designated for terminally ill patients alone.

Palliative care is there to alleviate pain, loss of mobility and other side effects. I would like to see more support for palliative care - alleviate pain, deal with depression, anxiety and mobility issues. More and more people treated for cancer live for example, but with side effects from the treatment that persist. Palliative care can help with pain, anxiety, and other consequences. It is often cost effective. Whether there are sufficient resources is another issue, but I'd hate to see people end their lives over resource issues. I suppose that as long as I can make that decision for me any of you should be free to decide the same (or not) for yourselves.

I guess my discomfort with EXIT stems from the idea one could be pushed into a decision one's not quite ready for. You can assure me that it's not the case, but I'm not convinced. An exception to this is neurological disorders like ALS (Motor Neuron in the UK, I guess). I'm not sure about that either.

But anyway, join EXIT if you want, or not. I find it very discomforting that in a thread about the cost of retiring to Switzerland, we discuss EXIT as a possible advantage. But that's the Internet for you.

Weather's too nice to consider this any more. Out to plant and power wash. Power wash and plant?

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  #66  
Old 01.06.2014, 15:40
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Re: EXIT would you consider being a member?

We mammals are emotional creatures and we do everything possible to survive, self preservation comes natural to us (I guess to all living things). I get that as I am human too. I am in a wonderful and extremely loving relationship with my wife for many years now, we are both healthy and just hitting 40 and the thought of ever losing her plays on my mind daily, if not hourly. I would like to live with her for eternity

That said when body and mind starts completely failing then one has to draw the line somewhere and accept the reality of death, like billions before us. We can drag it out as much as we like but some of us don't want to drag it out and be stuck in bed like Jabba the hut. Anyone who wants to cling on to life at all costs is free to do so but please don't take my choice away from me! Also if in my old age I don't want to live simply because I don't want to be burden on society or because I am all alone then from my point of view that is a valid enough reason not to live too.

Our friend who was few decades older than us was in too much pain and just did not have anything or anyone to live for. We tried talking her out of it for months but there was no desire to live. Her life was not going to magically become better. Frankly us trying to talk her out was more to do with our selfishness than actually seeing things from her point of view.

So yes I want to live as long as I can, I try to eat very healthy (apart from the chocolate I just ate ) and exercise regularly but we know death or disease does not care.
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Old 01.06.2014, 16:02
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Re: EXIT would you consider being a member?

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We mammals are emotional creatures and we do everything possible to survive, self preservation comes natural to us (I guess to all living things). I get that as I am human too. I am in a wonderful and extremely loving relationship with my wife for many years now, we are both healthy and just hitting 40 and the thought of ever losing her plays on my mind daily, if not hourly. I would like to live with her for eternity

That said when body and mind starts completely failing then one has to draw the line somewhere and accept the reality of death, like billions before us. We can drag it out as much as we like but some of us don't want to drag it out and be stuck in bed like Jabba the hut. Anyone who wants to cling on to life at all costs is free to do so but please don't take my choice away from me! Also if in my old age I don't want to live simply because I don't want to be burden on society or because I am all alone then from my point of view that is a valid enough reason not to live too.

Our friend who was few decades older than us was in too much pain and just did not have anything or anyone to live for. We tried talking her out of it for months but there was no desire to live. Her life was not going to magically become better. Frankly us trying to talk her out was more to do with our selfishness than actually seeing things from her point of view.

So yes I want to live as long as I can, I try to eat very healthy (apart from the chocolate I just ate ) and exercise regularly but we know death or disease does not care.
You took the words right out of my mouth. Especially with your third paragraph.
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Old 01.06.2014, 16:50
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Re: EXIT would you consider being a member?

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please don't take my choice away from me!


All we can ask for is that each of us gets to make our own choice freely.
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Old 01.06.2014, 16:56
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Re: EXIT would you consider being a member?

Suppose I was 90 and frail and required constant care.

Would I be considered a selfish egotist if I told people I wanted to live? OK, maybe, maybe not. It might depend on who my friends are.

How about these:
Would I be considered a selfish egotist if I stayed silent about whether or not I thought I had the duty to stop being a burden, even as everyone around me is tossing around the idea that it is more noble to kill oneself off?

Would I be considered a selfish egotist if I just assumed that nobody should have to decide whether they wanted to go on living, or that it is crazy-making to regularly open the question, "Should I exist? or not?"

Would I be considered a selfish egotist if my relatives cared about me very much and wanted to care for me? What if they could barely afford it?
What if my relatives resented my existence?

Should other people's desire or lack of desire to care for a person mean that the person has a duty to consider suicide, else get classified as a selfish egotist?


If people who are in pain and require care also have to constantly assess whether they would be considered a selfish egotist by deciding against suicide, I guarantee that there are going to be people who "freely choose" suicide who would not have otherwise
(... and in a manner that is indistinguishable from anyone else who "freely chooses" -- "choice" is a notoriously slippery concept, but that's another subject -- which messes up the hope of screening against "bad decisions").
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Old 01.06.2014, 17:01
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Re: EXIT would you consider being a member?

Really good points........why should you have to go through all this crazy making navel gazing. And does it matter if you are considered a selfish egoist?
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  #71  
Old 01.06.2014, 17:03
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Re: EXIT would you consider being a member?

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All we can ask for is that each of us gets to make our own choice freely.
Yes I agree.

Although I predict a two tier system will emerge based on our bank balance
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Old 01.06.2014, 17:04
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Re: EXIT would you consider being a member?

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Really good points........why should you have to go through all this crazy making navel gazing. And does it matter if you are considered a selfish egoist?
It matters because

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If people who are in pain and require care also have to constantly assess whether they would be considered a selfish egotist by deciding against suicide, I guarantee that there are going to be people who "freely choose" suicide who would not have otherwise
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Old 01.06.2014, 17:24
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Re: EXIT would you consider being a member?

Say you are 90 and had your share of fun in life. Now you have gone completely blind due to years of ignoring the doc about those rising sugar numbers, you are in constant pain and bed ridden due to multiple other problems. Expensive machines are keeping you alive without which you would have gone long time ago. Your younger family member is taking care of you 24/7 as he/she can't afford nursing care. Dating and holidays are out of the question for them as just holding on to their job is a struggle.

You live to120 and the person who was looking after you 24/7 has basically lost 30 years of their life that they could have spent doing the things they like but you kind of thrust yourself on them as you had no one else.

Do I think you were being selfish putting your lust for life above your carer's? Yes I think so but why should it matter what I think just like it does not matter to me what you think about my views I surely won't be coming around and telling you to kick the bucket, it has to come from you.

Regarding choices, every decision we make in life is dependent on accompanying factors. What makes you think that death should be any different

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Suppose I was 90 and frail and required constant care. .....
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Old 01.06.2014, 17:34
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Re: EXIT would you consider being a member?

Just curious what your thoughts are about the American concept of "self-deportation."
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  #75  
Old 01.06.2014, 17:41
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Re: EXIT would you consider being a member?

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Just curious what your thoughts are about the American concept of "self-deportation."
Sorry I don't do America or understand that place but I am all for deporting US politicians to Uranus (the planet)
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  #76  
Old 01.06.2014, 17:47
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Re: EXIT would you consider being a member?

I think whether one gets in trouble due to one's own negligence and ignorance or due to negligence and ignorance of a doctor and poor health care system, is not important. Why should this person feel guilty for occupying time and resources of caring family? I'd take care of you as a sister, screw dates and holidays. As much as I'll take care of my folks. One doesn't have just one sister, either. Network. Community. Of course that the decision must come from the person. Most medical staff respects, there are ways and they are quiet. It's this solitude, acting as if family and community didn't exist, or expecting them to fail, that makes me worried. Consequences of this. I want kids to grow up knowing it's part of life to help older members. Living far from family accentuates this problem, honestly. Lack of cohesion. Despite that, we are tight. There are ways to avoid pain. But how to avoid heartache when family no longer cares, ugh. Exiting?

Seems to me that it's this possibility that treats death as something different. For everything else, there is decent aid. Unemployment, disasters, partner leaving you, etc. There's network in place.

Next time we know it, we will be expected to commit Harakiri because our business failed and we don't feel valued and contributing anymore, having wasted resources, failing to pay in the system, etc.
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Old 01.06.2014, 18:20
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Re: EXIT would you consider being a member?

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Suppose I was 90 and frail and required constant care.

OK

Would I be considered a selfish egotist if I told people I wanted to live? OK, maybe, maybe not. It might depend on who my friends are.

IMO: No.
How would you feel if they judged you? Would it influence your decisions regarding living or dying?

How about these:
Would I be considered a selfish egotist if I stayed silent about whether or not I thought I had the duty to stop being a burden, even as everyone around me is tossing around the idea that it is more noble to kill oneself off?

IMO: No. It is your decision if you want to live or die, why you want to do so, and if you want to be vocal about it or not.

Would I be considered a selfish egotist if I just assumed that nobody should have to decide whether they wanted to go on living, or that it is crazy-making to regularly open the question, "Should I exist? or not?"

IMO one should have the freedom to decide and act upon that decision (turn machines off, complete suicide, turn machines on, etc.) or not to decide and let nature take its course.

Would I be considered a selfish egotist if my relatives cared about me very much and wanted to care for me? What if they could barely afford it?
What if my relatives resented my existence?

IMO: Your life, your decision. Your relatives' life is your relatives' decision.

Should other people's desire or lack of desire to care for a person mean that the person has a duty to consider suicide, else get classified as a selfish egotist?

No way. Indirectly ordering someone to step out of the way so that others can be more comfortable? That is selfish in my book. If you don't want to care for someone medically, don't enter a caring profession (doctor, nurse etc.). If you don't want to care for someone emotionally, it is your right to leave them. But don''t guilt trip someone into dying or staying alive.

If people who are in pain and require care also have to constantly assess whether they would be considered a selfish egotist by deciding against suicide, I guarantee that there are going to be people who "freely choose" suicide who would not have otherwise
(... and in a manner that is indistinguishable from anyone else who "freely chooses" -- "choice" is a notoriously slippery concept, but that's another subject -- which messes up the hope of screening against "bad decisions").
Just my two rappen...
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Old 01.06.2014, 18:22
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Re: EXIT would you consider being a member?

If I was seriously ill bed ridden, what more would there be for me to gain by postponing the inevitable? Will I suddenly turn back the clock and become 20 and fit? If I could function then sure I would try to drag it out but not if I was a caged brain in a bag of skin and bones.

I find it amazing the lengths to which a human goes to deny death even when it is knocking on the door.

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Next time we know it, we will be expected to commit Harakiri because our business failed and we don't feel valued and contributing anymore, having wasted resources, failing to pay in the system, etc.
People already do that and have been doing it for eternity, just ask SBB.

Although it would be awful if it was state enforced. Say you lost your job and then next day you get email from Stadt Zürich "You have 7 days to find a new job or termination crew will be around to put you drain on society waste of space to rest."
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Old 01.06.2014, 18:26
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Re: EXIT would you consider being a member?

So, on this interesting very pragmatic note of who is more selfish.. Society that prioritizes elderly and high quality geriatric care, eliminating trauma as much as possible so there doesn't have to be this Exit insurance on a mass scale? Or prioritizing those who shouldn't be inconvenienced by their ill elderly family, so they can date and go on hols and kids don't have to check up on them? I sense too much cash in all this for me to see the ethical issue exactly the way it is being sold to public.

I have an elderly neighbor who I check on at times knowing her son comes only rarely and she is lonely. She was so wigged out when I asked her 1st to do shopping for her, apparently it's just not done. She was worried I was gonna charge her. It's ridiculous.
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Old 01.06.2014, 18:28
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Re: EXIT would you consider being a member?

Where I have a problem with all of this is that we treat death as failure. You fight till the end - win, you live, lose, you die. And death becomes something outside of normal life. It's another race to win or lose.

So I like the idea of dying at home, dying on your own terms away from machines and doctors and institutional green walls. Or dying in a hospice or a hospice bed in hospital where you're just comfortable.

Maybe 50 or 60 years ago, many people died at home, and families experienced death. It was the normal end of life. It wasn't this scary failure, it was the end of life. I was with my mother when she died, it was a remarkable thing, she just stopped.

So why am I having a problem with EXIT? I don't know - I think I'm not ready for the process of hastening death so actively. Having seen it, albeit in just one situation, I like the idea that you neither hasten nor prevent it, just let it happen.

But it's an intensely private and personal thing. That's what so important. That it remains private and personal and people have choices. So if you want to join EXIT, that's fine. If you want to change your mind, that's cool too. When I asked my dad if he wanted to be taken off the ventilator he said "no, but I want to be able to change my mind, too".

I guess that's the thing. And I wonder if it will remain a personal and private choice.
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