The right to die

The right to die

As we know only too well, a quarter of the UK’s projected population is expected to be over 65 within 30 years from today. Of this number, an anticipated 6 million are expected to be 80 years, or over.Unfortunately, many (too many) of us can be expected to suffer, or have relatives who will suffer, serious strokes, stroke dementia, Alzheimer’s and other terrifying age related medical conditions for which there is no hope of remission.

This of course leads to only one end: a long and futile haul in often costly aged care facilities, and an appalling emotional and financial penalty to be paid by families, and British society as a whole.

Currently, governments of either hue seem content to ignore this situation, expecting the taxpayer to fund this ever increasing burden, burying the matter under the carpet, leaving it to a future government to deal with.

But by 2043, if the current system persists, it is highly unlikely any government will be able to foot the accommodation, medical and other costs, so large will they have become.

My own father, Gerald Arthur Govier was born in Exeter. A former athletics coach and school principal, he suffered a series of strokes whilst in his late 80’s, rendering him a ‘virtual corpse’.

Years before, my father had written a clear Advanced Directive stating he did not want to be kept alive, in the event of such an irretrievable situation.

His Directive was ignored, for legal reasons. He disappeared slowly. He was barely coherent for more than a minute or 2. He was condemned to literally rot away in a costly aged care locked dementia unit for the last 9 months of his life.

I hope my concern is shared by some of you who have endured, or will endure this type of cruel and inhuman ‘treatment’.

Of what value is it to sustain a life that has in effect terminally deteriorated, despite all the legal testaments and Advanced Directives which state the opposite?

How can a human being be permitted to die in such a manner? If you did this to your dog or cat, would you not risk prosecution? Such concerns must go through the mind of almost everyone over 50, at some time or other.

But what can be done about this?

If anything here strikes a cord, I would like to hear from you, to discuss forming a sustainable and community based Friendship Society. Its purpose would be to share our experiences, to discuss what we can do to publicise the issue.

The long term aim is to change the legal framework so that those who have stated, whilst in sound mind, that they do not wish to be kept alive should certain conditions arise, have their wills honoured. It will take many years.

If the matter I have raised involves or affect you in any way please contact the Mature Times team on or 01934 864414 and they will pass on your details to me.


Mark Govier