I heard a recent news story about a woman in Germany who chose to commit suicide over moving to a nursing home. Did she not have loved ones to live with; or some other option? She consulted with a knowledgable person about what drugs/chemicals to mix together to kill herself because she said she had no wish to struggle with a mediocre life. She was not going to live the rest of her life, living what she considered to be a less than ideal lifestyle for the rest of her life; how sad is that? Some families park their elders in a home and neglect to visit them; maybe she was afraid of being abandoned in this way.
Unfortunately in the report where i first heard about the woman who killed herself on Saturday, there were too few details for my liking. I wanted to know things like…did she have family, was she suffering from depression, did she feel guilty about being a burdeon on others who were maybe providing her some caregiving, was she destitute…was she facing eviction from where she was living at the time of her death, who was forcing her into a nursing home?
I wanted to know more about why this woman felt that she would choose death over a nursing home. Are the nursing homes in Germany (in general) so bad that she couldn’t stand going to one? Was she made to feel somehow that her life had no value? I can’t imagine her thought processes. It was stated in the newspiece that she was not ill with a fatal disease…so that wasn’t it.
I know in many cases the elderly feel that many of their life choices are taken from them such as driving priviledges, personal care, medical care, financial decision making…life is full of adjustments that are often hard to deal with.
I just feel sad that this woman felt that there was no room for improvement in her daily life so she chose to leave the world instead. So many of our loved ones deal with stresses that we know nothing about and sometimes it takes a bit of pushing for information on their well-being…it is hard to get in your parents or grandparents business on some level without feeling like an intruder…but, it is important that they never feel alone or overburdened by life’s difficulties.
Remember in time, we will all be in the same place if we live long enough…how do you want to be treated at that time? How do you make an effort to meet their physical, emotional, and financial needs? How have you handled this stage of life with your elderly loved ones?