Feed on


Nowadays it’s fashionable to use euphemisms for elderly suicide, self- deliverance and doctor-assisted suicide. Old age self-killing is now called the ‘completed life’.

The arguments for and against are already laid out in dozens of articles and books, almost entirely by academics and physicians (see Google). Thus, I will summarize mine as a lay person:

For a person over 70 who has declining health and scant happiness it is logical to end their life if they so wish. Each person must decide for themselves, not go with a trend or somebody else’s persuasion.

Suicide in not a crime, nor is it such a disgrace as it was in older times, provided there is a reason.

I think this reason for leaving life should not be sanctioned or advocated or practiced by groups.

Life is a personal responsibility, thus whether a person hangs on to the inevitable end depends on individual medical circumstances, personal ethics and each person’s quality

of life values.
But to have that choice in what I call ‘self-deliverance’ requires thinking and planning
ahead. Many persons do not do so until it is too late or they are trapped in nursing home or hospital.

Over my 40 years involvement in the movement for choices in dying (personal and lawful) scores of people have begged me for help to die and I had no alternative in their particular circumstances but to say “Sorry, but you’ve left it too late.” Too many people want to lean on you instead of in advance deciding themselves.

I do not think that right-to-die organizations should program themselves to aid those with what is called ‘completed lives’. Nowadays we have broad public acceptance of assisted dying for those who are end-stage terminally ill and the hopelessly degeneratively ill – provided it is their rational choice.

In my opinion, it is a step too far to offer assisted dying to the elderly or mentally ill. Outsiders cannot see into the minds of such requesters – what is their motive? Is their thinking balanced? What does their family think? What is the true state of their finances and their financial legacy? Especially in such a litigious country as America, potential legal problems abound.

If a person no longer wishes to live, then they must end it themselves, preferably by planning ahead and advising close family and friends of their intentions so as to reduce the shock when it occurs.

Derek Humphry is 90 and author of the Ebook “Final Exit 2020” at

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.