More and more healthy adults are raising the issue of “rational suicide” and we are ill prepared for this concelt. Doctors have thought about it for themselves if they should get very sick an terminal. Doctors are just people with the same concerns and at the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry (AAGP) 2015 Annual Meeting, there was a session dedicated to the issue “aimed to provide guidance to clinicians who may be faced with elderly patients expressing a desire to die by suicide while they are still relatively healthy and cognitively intact”.
If you saw the movie Still Alica where Julianne Moore played a woman who knew she had early onset Alzheimer Disease and while she was rational, she made a tape in the hope that the ‘Alice of the future’ would see. She recognized that the Alice of the Future might be unable to take her life, so she created this video, step by step, on how to overdose herself with a bottle of pills she hid and tole that Alice how to find and what to do with it. OF course, as Hollywood or the writers would have it, she was incapable of following even the simplest instructions and failed to do what the rational Alice (the same person who should have been able to control her destiny, wanted.
I am 73 and healthy. My Great Grandmother lived to 114 and one Grandfather to 102. I hope that I will never be confronted with Alice’s problem whatever my age. If the terminal cancer patient who lived a good life and rationally wants to move on, he should be given the choice between suffering and a rational death. Death is something that we all will face and we should have the ability to face it with the dignity we want, particularly if we are rational and at the end of our lives. Governments should not only, not tell us how to live, but not interfere with our choices at the end of our lives.