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Thoughts about euthanasia
Iris L.
Posted: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 12:56 AM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18509


Gidget P on the Caregiver board responded to a query about assisted suicide.  I realize many newly diagnosed patients or suspicious patients immediately think, "If I have AD or other dementia, I'm going to kill myself before I get too bad."  That was a theme of the book "Still Alice".   

 

Well, it won't be happening.  Gidget P explains why in her post.  Here is a link to that post.  Basically the patient must be of sound mind in order to request  assisted suicide.  That may apply ot ALS or cancer patients, but not to dementia patients. 

 

http://www.alzconnected.org/discussion.aspx?tid=2147485259&g=posts&t=2147485253   

(scroll down.) 

 

Iris L. 


Michelle 50
Posted: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 8:23 AM
Joined: 12/28/2011
Posts: 43


I have to admit that I have said for years ( long before my Dx of EOAD) after watching my mother and four of her siblings die from alzheimers. That I will not die from this disease. I am hoping that if somthing else doesn't kill me before I loose my ability to do it my self that I will take my own life. The way I see is that we are robed  of our person pretty early on in the disease. Before you know it we are someone else.

Being in the shoes of loosing family from this disease along with  having been the director of nursing in a skilled nursing facility I have seen the tremendouse pain it has caused the family member of these pt's. To me there is nothing worse than seeing a loved one die this way.I was also a hospice nurse fore 5 years so my decision is based on lots of experience/education and the one thing I don't want is for my family to have this experience. I have made the decision that I no longer want to be treated for anything but behavior and pain. That means no more coloscopys, mamagrams or anything like that. I will treat my EOAD but thats it. I have filled out my 5 wishes and my Dr and family have a copy so were all on the same page. I know this is a very controversial subject but they're just my own feelings. please respect that.


ffwife
Posted: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 4:23 PM

Michelle,

 

You and I are on the same page and I to ask people to respect it


Mimi S.
Posted: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 7:15 PM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7027


OK. I've been diagnosed with Alzheimer's for over five years. I am 83 years old, well past my normal expected life span. My dementia and other neurological disease are stable. My high cholesterol is under control.

 

I do get UTI's. Are you saying that next time, if you were in my shoes, you would not treat it?

 

I respect your decision. However ....

 

I still drive, within reason, can still fly alone. I still live by myself. I just published a book and have others in the pipe line.

 

Sorry, I have a lot of life left in me. 

 

I do agree with your thinking, but not until the very end. Not until my body is saying, let me go. 


Iris L.
Posted: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 10:33 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18509


Michelle, did you read gidget p's post?  What do you think of what she wrote?

Iris L.


Michelle 50
Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2012 7:20 AM
Joined: 12/28/2011
Posts: 43


Iris,

Let me first  say I have read all of your post since Isigned on and I think you are remarkable!!! To answer your questions. Yes I would treat a UTI or any simple infection for that matter it would be very painful not to. I am more talking about anual diagnostic testing for which if somthing was found I would not treat. I would love to live a long and healthy life however I DO NOT want to die from alzheimers. Even though I am very healthy at the moment I have made myself a DNR. I firmly believe that medicine has gone a bit too far with keeping poeple going far beyound their time. So I hope I will go when it's God will to take me, if not I'll have to do something for myself.  I just know that  medications, hospitals or machines are not going keeping me going beyond my time. I believe you are in your eightys and that is woundeful you don't need to apoligize for having a lot of life in you. That is a gift for you to honer every day. God Bless!

As far as what Gidget wrote I believe she is entitled to whatever she feels about the subject I very much respect how she feels. I just don't happen to feel the same way. That's is what makes our Country so great we can speak our own minds and share our beliefs openly. Thanks Iris for all your wonderful knowledge that you share on this board!


Mimi S.
Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2012 9:35 AM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7027


Basically Michelle, I think we are pretty much on the same page. When there is not much meaning to my life, let me go. And my papers are also in order.
Iris L.
Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2012 1:57 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18509


From my understanding the point of gidget's post was that by the time an AD/dementia patient gets to the point of being "far enough gone" to decide THIS is the time to make her move, the existing laws that permit assisted suicide will not be applicable because the patient will be not of sound mind.    So those who are thinking along these lines will have to make other arrangements.   

 

I'm not questioning anyone's beliefs.  I was raising the issue that what one thinks one wants to do in the future may not be possible within the existing laws. 

 

Iris L


skericheri
Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2012 4:09 PM
Joined: 12/10/2011
Posts: 287


Iris---I didn't have the opportunity to read Gidget's thread...but...was disappointed when I realized the existence of the sound mind clause.ruled out assisted suicide for someone with A/D even if request by a person assigned as a health care power of attorney. 

  

 An advance directive should have priority.   In my opinion that rule is cruel on top of being against my final wishes.
 


Iris L.
Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2012 6:40 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18509


skericheri wrote:

even if request by a person assigned as a health care power of attorney. 

  

 

According to the existing laws, no one else can make this final decision, regardless of your previous written instructions.

Iris L.



SteveSanJose
Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2012 9:37 PM
Joined: 1/3/2012
Posts: 189


You can't dye from AD, just complications caused by late stages of AD. So I believe that a person who has EOAD or AD is more likely to have other medical problems that will be the cause of death. While I do have it in my health POA, I never want to assisted suicide to end my life, I say anything that gives you longer life is good. I never want to be on a life support machines. Thats not life. In a way that is asking to end life. and can be done in a health POA.

custom smiley


skericheri
Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2012 9:48 PM
Joined: 12/10/2011
Posts: 287


Steve---I respect your wishes....but...I can't understand why current laws are written in a way that prohibits me from obtaining mine.
Iris L.
Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2012 10:52 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18509


Cherie, this is my personal opinion, but I believe the laws were written so that developmentally delayed adults and the severely mentally ill would not be "influenced" into giving up their lives, when they could not fully understand the meaning of what they might be giving permission for.   

 

Iris L. 


SteveSanJose
Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012 1:49 PM
Joined: 1/3/2012
Posts: 189


Here is a good link on how to write a health POA. What can be in it ect.

http://www.wvlegalservices.org/medpoa.pdf 


hopeful30
Posted: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 2:11 PM
Joined: 12/31/2011
Posts: 64


i sometimes have thoughts of "joing" my Mom and sister and grama and baby brother, but they are not in a feel sorry for me way, i just get so tired of it all sometimes, but i try to give myself time for the thoughts to go away and at the end i wont know whats happening anyway. the only real sadness is my grandchildren (the younger ones which i already have trouble remembering) seeing me like that. i just pray alot that i can endure and stay strong. i wish you good things, i will pray for you!! LORENE
dianefrances
Posted: Saturday, November 3, 2012 8:33 AM
Joined: 10/28/2012
Posts: 5


Michelle,

I'm new to this site and it has already helped me so much.  My mom has AD.  I've watched her mother and 2 sisters die a horrible death from this disease. I so agree with you about having a choice to end your life if you have AD.  I was disappointed to read about the Assisted Suicide laws in Oregon and Washington.  Why should cancer patients be able to end their misery but those with dementia cannot?!  We all put dogs out of their misery when they are ready to die, but we can't do this for humans? Most everyone disagrees with me, so it's good to know there are others who feel like I do. Good luck in your journey.. 


John50
Posted: Saturday, November 3, 2012 10:13 AM
Joined: 3/14/2012
Posts: 140


I have heard this subject, more suicide than assisted suicide, come up many times over the time I have been diagnosed. I have heard it discussed more by people diagnosed with FTD than AD and have heard some say they have a plan but I think that thought just gives them some comfort that far off in the future when it becomes intolerable they are going to end their life. Well the reality is that usually at that point you are not still capable of making that decision or carrying it out. It is totally against all of my beliefs and morals to even consider so I have never seriously considered it. While the pain of imagining the future, having watched my father go through it, is almost unbearable, I still believe that for some reason this is my path that I must travel it and not dwell on the future. Live in the day is the only way to go with this disease and actually in general for all people because life never has had any guarantees what tomorrow will bring or whether you will still be part of this world or another one.


John50
Posted: Saturday, November 3, 2012 10:18 AM
Joined: 3/14/2012
Posts: 140


I should say though that my wishes will be the same as the decisions we made about my father. When there was basically zero quality of life left, he didn't know anyone, didn't talk, wasn't eating or even getting out of bed most of the time we did withhold all medications, especially antibiotics because at that point things like pneumonia are a good thing to put an end to the suffering. That is my opinion which is shared by my brothers and wife as well so I know my wishes will be carried out. Others can not bring themselves to do this and that is their decision, I am not here to criticize other people's choices.


Iris L.
Posted: Saturday, November 3, 2012 1:24 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18509


Welcome dianefrances.  I hope you continue to visit our patient boards and gain support.

I'm glad this older thread was brought to the top.  I believe this topic is something we all need to explore beforehand so we can develop our own believes and wishes.

We don't have to have the same opinions but we can express our opinions.

Iris L.

Abuela
Posted: Sunday, November 4, 2012 10:24 AM
Joined: 6/24/2012
Posts: 605


I believe that there can be meaning in suffering... but at the end stages of this disease, that suffering would be put onto our families as we would no longer be aware of it.  Is that important enough for me to endure all that in their presence?  I don't know the answer.  I have said repeatedly since my diagnosis that I hope a tree falls on my head way before we get to that point.  But we are not talking about whether one point of view is right and another is wrong.  We are talking about making criminals of people in desperate circumstances who choose how they wish to die.

For a very long time, people have been making this choice to end their lives before the end stages, but having to do it in secret and being penalized from leaving insurance policies, and being ostracized by society after their deaths for this decision, which again affects their surviving families... not them!!  It is not our decision to make for them.  But they should at least be free to make that decision without becoming criminals by doing it.  The practice will continue whether or not laws are passed about it.  To give people real dignity is to let them make their own death decision.  We need to think about our own death decisions.... not someone else's.  

Just my opinion.  


struggling
Posted: Sunday, November 4, 2012 5:30 PM
Joined: 9/29/2012
Posts: 50


Great post Abuela.  I agree with 100%.

 

P.S.   Check your email.


John C
Posted: Monday, November 5, 2012 8:06 PM
Joined: 10/30/2012
Posts: 1


Every day of my life is a new adventure that begins unfolding when I wake. I saw every member of my family of origin - my father, mother and brothers - sink into the fog that is the curse of dementia. The last one died just 3 years ago. Today, however, there are medications that, at least for me, push back the gathering clouds and fog. And, there's greater hope on the horizon in the form of Rx's that block the formation of beta-amyloids in the brain. I survived Viet Nam. I survived a 60 mph head-on with a drunk driver. I survived an Agent Orange induced heart attack. I can't help thinking I  must still have something of value to contribute to the race of men and women, or I wouldn't be here. Rather than wallow in my woes and sorrows, I consciously chose to greet each new day with joy and hope and see it as an opportunity to do some good. Death is forever, life is far too brief to willingly leave before it's over! Just my opinion.
struggling
Posted: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 1:20 PM
Joined: 9/29/2012
Posts: 50


John C wrote:
Every day of my life is a new adventure that begins unfolding when I wake. I saw every member of my family of origin - my father, mother and brothers - sink into the fog that is the curse of dementia. The last one died just 3 years ago. Today, however, there are medications that, at least for me, push back the gathering clouds and fog. And, there's greater hope on the horizon in the form of Rx's that block the formation of beta-amyloids in the brain. I survived Viet Nam. I survived a 60 mph head-on with a drunk driver. I survived an Agent Orange induced heart attack. I can't help thinking I  must still have something of value to contribute to the race of men and women, or I wouldn't be here. Rather than wallow in my woes and sorrows, I consciously chose to greet each new day with joy and hope and see it as an opportunity to do some good. Death is forever, life is far too brief to willingly leave before it's over! Just my opinion.
John C, you have had quite a life so far, and I'm sure you still have something to contribute. Enjoy your days and your adventures to come!
 That said, your post implies that those of us who see ourselves choosing assisted suicide are wallowing in our woes and sorrows. However, the people I have met on this board who plan to choose assisted suicide when the time approaches are definitely not wallowing - they are living their lives, connecting with others, sharing joys and hopes and fears and plans.
The key here is CHOICE.  Everyone gets to make their own.
  

Abuela
Posted: Thursday, November 8, 2012 6:29 AM
Joined: 6/24/2012
Posts: 605


Yes,  that is what I think you missed, John.  By virtue of the fact that people come to these boards exhibits that they have hope and are reaching out and trying to live each day to the fullest.

I honestly do not know what choice I would make.  I still hope that a tree will fall on my head or I will be struck by lightening.(and given the weather on the East Coast lately that is not out of the question)

 

 No one should be made to feel that there choice is wrong.  But the important thing is to give people the choice and not take it away from them because of our own feelings or opinions.  



The key here is CHOICE.  Everyone gets to make their own.

Iris L.
Posted: Thursday, November 8, 2012 2:26 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18509


I don't think John missed anything.  He was expressing his opinion based on his experiences with his family and his own near death experiences.

The reason I began this thread is to give members an opportunity to thresh out their thoughts and feelings so that they can further develop their own opinions and choices.

These will be different but it may be helpful to some of us to know other people's thought processes and how they came by them.

Iris L.

2dinky2
Posted: Saturday, November 10, 2012 8:44 PM
Joined: 4/12/2012
Posts: 17


I am the wife of a 60 yr old man who has had EOAD for over 5 years, and probably longer. He has been the love of my life (we've been married 30 years) and I come to these boards often so that I can learn as much as I can about this terrible disease and be a better caregiver. I'm usually on the spouse caregiver board, but tonight I thought I'd visit here. 

  

My DH has always said that if he ever got sick, he didn't want to go through a protracted decline. He has always said he wanted to die on his own terms. In our searching for answers after his dx, we came across an organization called Caring Advocates. You can find them online. They have put together a comprehensive program for dementia patients so they can make their wishes known while they are still able. It's not a one size fits all document, the patient can customize it to precisely fit their needs. The wishes are then written into a legal document, signed by the patient, their advocate and their doctor. There's much more to it than this, but long story short, we went through the process a couple years ago, used their My Way cards and my DH and I are comforted knowing that his wishes are clearly spelled out and on file. Of course he can change them at any time, but he hasn't. He's held these same beliefs since we met. 

  

After carefully reading the resulting paperwork, the doctor said he'd never seen anything like it, was very impressed, and signed immediately. (I was surprised.) I reminded him that it needed to be notarized, and he said no problem and called down the hall for a notary. Then we took the signed documents to our attorney who read them over and said they were very well written legal documents and he too was impressed.  

  

Since assisted suicide isn't an option for dementia patients, other avenues must be considered for those who wish it, and Caring Advocates has worked this out too. Of course, the patient must be able to do this themselves, since anyone assisting would be at risk, under our current laws.  

  

If this is something that is important to you, as it is for my DH, take a look at what they have to offer. We are in no way affiliated with Caring Advocates, my husband is simply someone who has been helped and comforted by their guidance. And I only hope that he goes peacefully, when it's time, in his own way.

 

 

 


Iris L.
Posted: Saturday, November 10, 2012 9:17 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18509


Thank you for contributing to our discussion on this very sensitive topic, Dinky. 

I'm glad we patients and family members can explore our options while we still have the capability of making decisions.

Iris L.

cantthinkofonenow
Posted: Thursday, July 4, 2013 5:59 AM
Joined: 7/4/2013
Posts: 4


It all comes down to how much of a religious belief you have in later years, to a reward or punishment after death. Most people who may have been taught religious beliefs when young, learn to understand life much better in later years and probably realize if there was a deity, their probably wasn't one that couldn't understand burden and quality of life issues. Making it comfortable to end their life.

Truly, it is just a final sleep, to which we never wake. The only difference otherwise, we learn of each morning anyway.

 

Regardless, this is only a personal matter. You have decided after fighting for life, no one should tell you when quality of that life, might require a decision to be made, it no longer exist, but you.


ffwife54@yahoo.com
Posted: Friday, July 5, 2013 9:29 AM
Joined: 4/15/2012
Posts: 247


2dinky2,

 

Can you tell me how this document is different than a living will or advance directives? I completed both of those and appointed a POA for health and finances?

 

 


Iris L.
Posted: Friday, July 5, 2013 10:22 AM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18509


Ffwife, this thread is old and 2dinky2's post was posted in November 2012.  I haven't seen 2dinky2 on the board lately and you probably won't receive a response.  Apparently the organization she mentioned can be found online.  If you looked at their website you might find your answer or someone else might know.

Iris L. 

2dinky2
Posted: Saturday, July 6, 2013 11:19 PM
Joined: 4/12/2012
Posts: 17


It's been a long time since I've posted and a lot has happened 
First, to answer your question, the organization is Caring Advocates and its a .org web address. Going through their program was a good way for my husband to legally document and clarify his wishes soon after his EOAD diagnosis. I still recommend this program, and his doc and attny both thought it was excellent, but he realized that by the time he had symptoms as serious as in the My Way cards (part of the program) he would be unable to carry out his own wishes, which he had been clear about since his 20s. 
Because of our current laws, a person who doesnt want to die of AD has to go early because if they wait til their symptoms are really bad, it's too late. My DH didn't want to die of Alzheimer's and go through the personal existential pain or put his family through it. He documented his wishes on numerous occasions up until the day he decided it was time to go. He died on his own terms a few months ago and set himself free of this horrible disease. It was incredibly brave and honorable and he left his friends and family in awe. It was really difficult for those of us who loved him, but we were committed to support him and his wishes as long as we didn't do anything to risk ourselves in the process. We didn't, it turns out, and he got exactly what he'd always wanted. 
I know this is a very controversial subject and I don't want to offend anyone here. I do want to let everyone know that if there's a will there's a way and even friends with religious conflicts that we have known along this journey, when faced with the realities of AD, have understood and supported his decision. 
I miss my soul mate every day and I read these boards every day too, even now. It makes me even more committed to supporting the freedom of choice when I read about the hardships that the wonderful people on these boards are going through. Iris has been my personal hero for a long time and her input here has helped so many, as have the efforts of so many others. 
I will continue to follow your journeys and wish you all the freedom and ability to get what you truly desire as you go along this rocky road. 
2dinky2


Geegee
Posted: Sunday, July 7, 2013 9:11 AM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 514


It's g so good to hear from you.  I'm sorry about the recent loss of your soul mate.  It must have been very difficult for you to watch his decline and yet give him up so early within his own timing.


May you be comforted in the coming days.  Thank you for checking back in with the boards and update us on the loss of your DH.


Blessings!