Suicide prevention for the elderly vs legalized euthanasia

Suicide prevention week in Quebec is happening from the 1st to the 7th of February 2015. This is an important activity considering the high number of people affected, directly or not, by suicide. An article in the Journal de Montréal this week mentions the high suicide rate for the elderly in Quebec.

"Nearly 150 older people kill themselves annually. Why? They feel alone because of illness and they are unhappy."

The article adds that "it is a problem that isn't much discussed, but that claims victims amongst the most vulnerable".

Living with Dignity has long said that the elderly are particularly vulnerable in these circumstances. With the legalisation of "medical aid in dying", which actually is euthanasia, the risk will be even higher for these people.

Proponents of euthanasia will say that the criteria in the Act respecting end-of-life care would not allow our elders to be euthanized simply because they are alone and feel unhappy. However, a recent case in Belgium shows us that the risk is real. An elderly couple were afraid of loneliness if one of them died before the other. They asked to be euthanized together, and the request was approved. They weren't ill or at "end of life".

Our society must look critically look at these realities. It isn't logical to wish to prevent suicide while, at the same time, promoting euthanasia!