Aged care residents have their say on assisted dying

We’ve all heard what some of our politicians, doctors and friends have to say about the concept of euthanasia or “assisted dying”.

But has anyone actually taken the time to sit down and ask those who would be affected by a change in the law?

The ABC has sat down and spoken with several residents at aged care facilities in Victoria, and their points of view might very well be something for our politicians to take note of!

Among those with strong opinions on the issue is 85-year-old Pat Allen, who lives at an aged care facility in Inglewood.

Ad. Article continues below.

She’s been battling emphysema for three years and will spend the rest of her life on oxygen – and that’s why she believes people should be allowed the option of assisted dying

“It’s your own personal choice to end [your life], and particularly if you’re very sick and in a lot of pain,” she told the ABC.

“I think it’s necessary, and it shouldn’t take long to do. If I was in a lot of pain I would want it done now when I decided to do it.”

As many of you may be able to relate to, some of the aged care residents featured by the ABC had watched loved ones die in pain.

81-year-old Joan Ridgeway watched her husband die in pain of bowel cancer.

Ad. Article continues below.

That’s why she’s a firm believer about assisted dying, telling the ABC “it’s no-one else’s business and God doesn’t always do it for you”.

“I just think you should be able to die with dignity and not have the government interfere with your life and tell you when you’ve got to go,” she said.


Another resident shared her story about living “endlessly” in pain with chronic emphysema.

Like many with an illness, Jaci Ayres can sympathise with the assisted dying cause.

Ad. Article continues below.

“When the time comes I want to be able to say, ‘Right, that’s it, out of here we go — off we go to wherever you go after you leave here’,” she told the ABC.

“Why do you have to suffer these things?

“If you were a dog they would put you down. It’s your right to decide this.”

But not all the residents said they were in support of assisted dying.

Despite having both his legs amputated, suffering a stroke and living as a diabetic, Arthur Martin want to die “naturally”.

Ad. Article continues below.

“[Assisted dying] shouldn’t be on anybody’s conscience, definitely not,” he told the ABC.

“I’ll go the way that God intended me to go, I reckon.”

Victoria will be the next state to debate and decide on legislation for assisted dying, just months after a similar push in South Australia was defeated by one vote.

Perhaps the option of assisted dying could finally be an option for those who want in 2017.

What do you think about the views of these aged care residents? Do you think our politicians should spend more time talking to those affected by the issue?