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"I will chose the date of my own death" - Carers UK Forum

"I will chose the date of my own death"

For issues specific to caring for someone with dementia.
I would imagine this article will bring forth mixed reactions but it is something we are hearing about more and more.
An academic who is in the early stages of dementia has become the first person in Britain with the disease to speak publicly about his intention to end his life at an assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland.

Alex Pandolfo, 63, says he wants to choose when he will die because he cannot face the agony caused by the progressive and incurable disease – after witnessing the suffering and indignity endured by his father, who also had the illness.

In an exclusive interview with The Mail on Sunday, the former university lecturer said his family – his mother and two younger sisters – are fully supportive of his decision. He is unmarried and has no children.
read in full here and there have been comments added towards the bottom
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... z4hhQyKMku

x x
Interesting. I do wonder who and how capacity would be decided by. There is a thread in here of someone sitting in their own urine deemed to have capacity, so following that through....

The novel and film Being Alice explored this in that the main character upon diagnosis wrote herself letters to remind herself of decisions she had made. Of course she then forgot or could not read the letters.
It's a real Catch 22 isn't it? The dreadful truth is that once dementia sets in, at some point they/we would/will lose the ability to realise we HAVE dementia, and therefore will not be horrified by our condition, and therefore will have no urge or reason to end our lives ....JUST as we are getting worse and worse and worse....

By definition, we can only end our lives BEFORE dementia reaches a certain stage, when our quality of life is still, really, not that bad (ie, as bad as it will become when the dementia is advanced), and where, therefore, one might reasonably wish to go on enjoying what we do still have, rather than end it all because we know that 'worse is coming'.

At a slightly lesser level, I think that signing an Advance Directive while we are still compos mentis, stating we want NO resuccitation and NO hospitalisation for life-threatening conditions, and NO anti-biotics, is easier to administer in reality. We could stipulate we only want palliative treatment to keep us pain free, but nothing to maintain or extend our lives if physical illness attacks us. But for many, like my 92 y/o MIL, she is in very good physical condition for her age - it's only her mind that is dying....
As has been said, if you wish to end your life because of
of dementia, you virtually have to do it before you get it !

The real sufferers are not those with it but those around them.
OKay Rosemary ;) xx

Free choice is all very well. I don't condemn anyone for choosing suicide, I have no religious or moral convictions against it per se. BUT how long before it will be EXPECTED of us to end our own lives? And in what circumstances? Dementias are not the ONLY scary terminal illness.

Let's take it to an extreme. If a human is incapable of contributing to society at large (think disabled, terminally ill, think retired, think no longer capable of reproducing, think of costs of care......).... .....

hey slippery slope. Offensive isn't it? But generally good for us to see the Bigger Picture before we make snap judgements. (Discussed this one before on the forum have we not???)

Think wide again. Is a baby happy in the womb or is it scared shite of entering the world? What proof do we have??

By the way, slightly off topic....but I have seen many at the end stages of living with dementia who appear to be quite content. And nursing/caring for them can bring great satisfaction.

Shall I go hide in a corner now??? Specially as I haven't done a day's professional work in last twenty years since I was forced to take early retirement!!
HI Mrs A :D
If you (or anyone) want to understand more about "capacity" check out the Mental Capacity Act. It explains who, why and how's and just everything you might ever need to know. It is deffo NOT a "blanket" decision/result like passing exams. And it certainly applies to more areas than cases involving dementias. And neither is it an IQ test by the way.
Hope this helps, I suspect you are indeed a practical,person and appreciate facts etc. (Hope so anyway cos I mean well, honest :)
Another general question for anyone.

Who is most important ....the refuse collector or the brain surgeon?

(Don't worry I won't be marking answers!!!! Prob won't be around for awhile anyway)
Sadly, I think Albert nails it. Especially with identifying the real victims.....

That said, it only applies once the dementia is so advanced the patient cannot know they have it - previously to that, knowing it is developing must be intensely distressing and frightening.

Danced, you raise very important issues......and ones that may be fundamentally unanswerable alas.

The issue of 'society expecting' has been demonstrated, I believe, in other societies - I can remember something on the TV about nomadic herdsman somewhere in central Asia in the highlands, who have to 'leave behind' the very elderly and infirm up in the summer pastures when they descend to the valleys for winter, knowing beforehand that when they return in the spring the elderly will not have survived the winter. The society simply did not have the resources to 'carry' (literally!) the elderly and infirm back down to the valleys, and keep them fed and looked after. I believe the Inuit had to adapt the same tactic.

So your fear is not entirely unjustified - there would need to be massive safeguards in place to stop that 'expectation' developing in our own society.

That said, my own article of faith is that each and every one of us has a 'sovereign right' so to speak to end our lives if we wish to do so BUT (a) not if we have non-adult children and (b) not if we are mentally ill (ie, so it is not a 'rational' act, but an act inspired by a 'malignity' of the mind.

However, again personally, I sort of 'put my trust' in medical science coming up with a cure for dementia and age-related infirmities....though I guess that raises the question of 'why die if you're actually feeling quite well and happy'!!!! (Yet die we must if we are to have children.....)