My wife and I cared for my late mother in our home for the last five months of her life.
She had Alzheimer’s, so I know what that disease is up close and personal. Believe me, it’s more than memory loss. Far more.
That is one reason this story chills me to my bones. Caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients in Quebec want euthanasia available to the demented. From the Montreal Gazette story:
The survey by Université de Sherbrooke epidemiologist Gina Bravo found that 91 per cent of respondents support the idea of assisted dying for individuals suffering from dementia who are at the terminal state of their illness, showing signs of distress and who have an advance written directive.
What’s more, 72 per cent said they were for assisted dying even for Alzheimer’s patients who did not sign a written directive before their illness.
Did you get that last part?
Here’s the thing: As bad as Alzheimer’s can be, the afflicted still can experience moments of clarity and joy. Even without that, these are human beings who have the greatest claim to our unconditional love and care precisely because they are so vulnerable.
Here’s another thing: Alzheimer’s can be far worse on the caregiver than it is on the afflicted, who often don’t remember their worst moments.
Anyone who doesn’t see the potential for caregivers working to put the patient out of their own misery, is ignoring the foibles of human nature.
And who can forget the Dutch Alzheimer’s patient lethally injected by a doctor as her family held her down because she was struggling against being killed.
Euthanasia corrupts everything it touches, including our duties to care properly for those who can no longer care for themselves.