Life is sacred and valuable in every manner. The only reason that we are all alive is because of the life that we have. Death is the finality to all life thus it is inevitable that all living things will die. There is joy and celebration at the birth of a newborn and there is tears and remorse when someone loses their life. This is the cycle of life that we cannot change and is inevitable. People often lose their lives through various ways, illnesses, fatal accidents; natural calamities are just but examples of these ways. It is a human right that all people have a right to life and there criminal charges vetted on those that take other peoples’ lives. However, there have surfaced new schools of thought to the idea of death and if people really do have a right to choose to end their own lives. Geronticide or senicide often refers to the abandonment to death, voluntary killing and suicide of the elderly. These are people who are well over the age of seventy five years and who have lived their lives through all the good and bad that anyone can imagine.
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Geronticide can change the nature of death and dying. There are those who have been up and about trying to lobby for the support of Geronticide as a form of right to the person seeking it. In opposition is those that seek to uphold the dignity and sacred nature of life as we know it and argue that no one has the right to take even their own life. As a society that has evolved and literally pushed aside most of the traditional aspects of our lives, this form of death should not be an exception. It is important to look at the reasons that the aged have and put on the table as requests to be allowed to die when they choose to. A study was done to look into the motives that drove old people to take their own lives and the results were quite diverse. Motivations ranged from impatience, humiliation, vanity and suffering. The elderly are people who have gone through so much in their long lives. There is a point in the human lifecycle that the body starts to develop and grow, and this is in the early years of life. It then goes through a seemingly plateau phase which eventually leads to the deterioration phase where the body seems to weather down on its own. Advancement in medicine and technology has made it possible for doctors to diagnose and treat previously seemingly untreated illnesses. The elderly people make up the highest population of people with life challenging and threatening diseases.
Some of the elderly people have battled diseases like cancer, diabetes, arthritis and other disorders for years going through tough treatment regimes and years of swallowing pills and numerous medical visits and admissions. These are people who are just tired of this cycle and want finality to their misery. There is just so much that medications and doctors can do. At the onset of these diseases the medications seem to work and in most instances go a long way in making the lives of the sufferers comfortable and even prolong their lives. However there always is an end to all this. The patient is supposed to have a say in what they make of their lives (Sutton, 16).
When one takes a critical look into the minds of the elderly people looking for ways to end their lives, there are many observations that one can make. Some of them are just tired have waited impatiently for years and years to die without dying. It must be really disturbing when one waits for the moment they get to close their eyes and rest only to open them and find they are still alive. Other people may wonder why anyone would want to die at all. Just taking a walk through some hospital corridors and wards would answer this question properly. Some people who are relatively young including children that have suffered some painful illnesses have at some point wished that they were dead rather than keep going through all the pain that they go through in the course of their illnesses and subsequent treatment. Taking this into account, it is understandable for someone who has endured the same for years to just want to put it all behind them.
Some elderly people want to spare themselves the humiliation that comes with their age. At some age one degenerates to almost being a toddler often requiring twenty four hour care and assistance. Some of the elderly will have nurses to assist them while others will fully rely on their family and friends for this critical care. These old people will in most cases feel like they are imposing and placing an extra burden on their caregivers. Some of the elderly people require critical care that will push family members to hire nurses to look after them. The medical supplies and the professional nursing fees are very costly and the family can even run into debt and take up loans just to keep their loved one well taken care of (Brogden, 116). When the curtains finally fall on the old family member, the family is basically left in debt trying to keep afloat. They may have children who will suffer the consequences of the family’s dwindling financial position.
Some of the elderly people may argue that they have already lived best moments of their lives and have nothing to offer any more. They may feel like all they do is trouble their loved once and thus feel helpless in the sense that they no longer add any economic or financial assistance to their loved ones anymore. People normally take up numerous jobs and do a lot of investments all in an effort to save enough money to secure their futures and especially to have a comfortable old age. It then becomes a challenge when all of a sudden one finds themselves in the mercy of others since they are not in a position to even take care of themselves on their own. Some suffer from depression and do not recover from this and it pushes them to just want to die to get away from all their pain and agony.
The immediate families of the elderly people sometimes do not understand why their love ones may result to seek ways to end their own lives. Children despite of their ages will never want to see their parents die. As a result they will go at all lengths to try and seek the best care for their parents and other loved ones in an effort to prolong their lives for as long as they can. At times they just may not understand that their aged loved one has just had enough and even thought they too would have loved to stay around with their family, their end has come. These are some of the circumstances that gerontiside should be considered. It would even make them go and rest in peace knowing that their family understood.
Euthanasia should be upheld in some cases as it is a form of mercy killing. This should not be taken for the wrong reasons though but only in well examined cases that clearly show that the patient or the person in question really does deserve the procedure. In cases where the person has been battling a disease for so long, probably even the family should be involved in making and assisting their loved one make the decision to end their life. Some diseases like cancer can reach the point where the sufferer has to endure immense pain (Logue, 83). Painkillers work in the onset of these diseases and can be used over periods of time to keep the patient comfortable and free of pain but it also gets to a system where the pain medications become non assistive to the patient. In such cases the disease will have progressed to a point where it cannot be treated thus the patient will only be given care to assist him get through the day until his death comes. It should be an option possible for people to make if they could no longer take the pain anymore and opted to just die to get over it (Brogden and Preeti, 75). A patient and their doctor are the people that the final decision should sorely rest to determine any further course of action since the doctor is the one who knows just how far an illness has progressed and if there maybe any further medical assistance that could save the patient. On the other hand the patient should have the choice to choose whether they wanted to hang onto life as it is or if they wanted to put all their pain and suffering to a stop once and for all.
All in all it has been the stand of the religious clergy that no one has the right to choose when to end a life even if it was their own life. Some people still believe this and are against mercy killing. Every school of thought should be given a chance and the religious stand should be upheld by those who wish to. Those who want to have the choice to have their will and personal choices respected should also be given the chance to do the same. There has been well documented proof that geronticide was practiced in the ancient days throughout Serbia, Japan and India. This is proof that this is not a new thing in our world today; it has been there even in the ancient cultures. It was then only used to save the elderly people in those communities from their predicaments and pain. Though the practice would have been crude then, there are better and more sober ways of assisting one to die peacefully without the slightest of pain.
In conclusion, there should however be strict measures put in place to ensure that strict procedures are followed before a patient is allowed to make this kind of a decision. The doctors should also have strict guidelines to follow before placing forth and going through such a request for their patients. We all came into this world in a celebratory way and we all would want to leave the world in a dignified manner. As such we all should have the choice to do it in the way that we see fit but still in way that respects human life and that which upholds human dignity. Life is still sacred and as the humans we should all respect and appreciate the fact we have been given this chance to live. As a society should hold ourselves responsible for all the decisions that we make and this should not be an exception.
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