Death and the Elderly
Euthanasia - a good/gentle death
Active euthanasia - Actively ending a persons life (drinking a poison or getting a fatal injection)
Passive euthanasia - Medical support is withdrawn so the person no longer lives
Arguments for active euthanasia:
- If quality of life is bad due to illness
- Suffering and pain
- We have the right to decide when we die
- Just because we can extend a persons life doesnt mean we should
- It is morally wrong to keep a person alive who is suffering
Arguments against active euthanasia:
- When people are ill they have good days and bad days
- it is deliberately killing and that is wrong
- Life is sacred and god given only god can take away a life
- You cannot say for sure you wont be cured.
Examples and Alternatives
Examples of euthansaia:
Tony Bland suffered from brain damage after the Hillsborough disaster. He was left in a permannat vegatative state on a feeding tube. Eventually this was removed. (Passive euthanasia)
Reg Crew has motor neuron diesease and he wanted to have active euthanasia. He travalled to switzerland where they have a company called DIGNITAS which gave him a lethal injection. (Active euthanasia)
Hospices: Provide care for people who are in their last stages of life and also support their family. Their aim is to provide a place where the can die with dignity and not be in pain, but be in the presence of loved ones.
Christian and Buddhist Views
- Life is sacred (we are "made in the image of god")
- There are alternatives like hospices
- God has a plan for each of us and it is up to him when our lives end " I knew you even before you were formed in the womb"
- The view active euthanasia as murder and murder is a sin.
- Ahisma - no harm to living things
- Metta - loving kindness to all things (Help someone who is in pain)
- Accept suffering is a part of life.
Problems faced by the elderly:
- Lack of money
- Less mobile
- Feeling of worthlessness
Who should care for the elderly:
- Live at home with support from organisations such as meals on wheels
- Live with the family
- Sheltered housing - their own flat with social facilities and a warden near by
- Residential homes - has their own room but meals are provided
- Care homes - For the elderly that need help
Christian and Buddhist Views 2
A christian teaching is to "honour your mother and father" and this includes looking after them when they are old. The believe the elderly should be respected and that we have a duty to look after our parents. "love one another as i have loved you"
Buddhists respect the elderly as they have lived a long life and are full of knowledge. They believe the children should look after the elderly and see it as a privilege.
Beliefs about life after death (Christians)
- When a person dies they go to heaven or hell
- Believe in reincarnation (rebirth) which is dependant on good deeds (karma)