Monthly Archives

June 2016

Caregiver support key in tackling dementia

By | Recent News

TVNZ One News 23 June 2016
Family First Comment: One thing we SHOULDN’T do is legitimise euthanasia!
“The psychogeriatrician said it was also important that people knew the condition wasn’t “the end” and people could have a positive quality of life for years after diagnosis. “It’s another phase of their life. Sure it’s a debilitating disease, but that’s over many years.””

Innovative support for family carers, not building more nursing homes, will be key to tackling the rising costs of looking after dementia sufferers, an expert in the field says.
Professor Henry Brodaty, described as the father of alzheimer’s and dementia research in Australia for his 35 years in the field, has just been given the $250,000 Ryman Prize – awarded for work that improves the lives of the elderly – in Wellington.
While in New Zealand, he told NZ Newswire that research into new approaches to support for people caring for family members with dementia would be a significant part of dealing with the condition in the future.
New Zealand currently has an estimated 45,000 to 50,000 people with dementia, but world trends suggest that figure might triple by 2050 as the population ages.
Prof Brodaty said despite billions of dollars being spent researching treatments, there hadn’t been breakthroughs and budget issues would become “challenging” in decades to come.
“We can’t just keep building more and more nursing houses. We need to find better ways to support people at home, to support the families and to stave off the symptoms with lifestyle changes,” he said.
READ MORE: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/caregiver-support-key-in-tackling-dementia

signup-rollKeep up with family issues in NZ.
Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.

Legalising euthanasia not a priority for Labour, says Andrew Little

By | Recent News

Stuff.co.nz 19 June 2016
Family First Comment: A record number of submissions does not mean the law has to be changed. It simply shows how controversial the issue is, and how split the public is on the issue. What will be interesting is the breakdown for those against and those for euthanasia. That may be quite revealing! 🙂

The Labour Party is supporting an inquiry into the euthanasia debate, but it’s not a priority.
A record-breaking public response to a petition to legalise assisted dying has renewed calls for politicians to take action.
The Voluntary Euthanasia Society (VES) said it has received 22,000 submissions on a the petition that sought an inquiry into public opinion and a law change. The final tally of submissions is yet to be confirmed by the Health Select Committee.
Labour leader Andrew Little said other issues such as homelessness, employment and healthcare that would be put before a euthanasia campaign.
“It would be nice to be able to do everything from Opposition but we can’t, we have to focus on those things that are about building a better nation,” he said.
“That’s gonna be our priority, I make no apology for that.”
In 2014, a bill which would legalise voluntary euthanasia was dropped at Little’s request, even though he was in favour of it.
READ MORE: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/81219380/renewed-calls-for-euthanasia-debate-as-petition-submissions-set-to-break-record
twitter follow us

Unrealistic safeguards

By | Recent News

Maxim Institute 13 June 2016
Family First Comment: New York State and Canada already show evidence that the terms ‘safeguards’ and ‘euthanasia’ are oxymorons

“Safeguards.” It’s an official-sounding and soothing term often used by those in favour of euthanasia, to ease concerns about the effect of physician-assisted suicide on vulnerable communities. The literature and overseas experience, however, seem to suggest that in this area, no safeguard has been safe enough.

The End of Life Choice Bill (currently waiting to be pulled from the Member’s bill ballot in Parliament) contains this sentence: “Analysis of overseas jurisdictions where assisted dying is permitted demonstrates that concerns, including concerns about abuse of the vulnerable, have not materialised and that risks can be properly managed through appropriate legislative safeguards.”

These words are presumably intended to provide comfort to many who are nervous about the unintended consequences of the Bill. However, given several expert opinions I’ve read over the past few weeks contradicting this assertion of safety, they are right to be nervous.

For instance, the New York State Task Force on Life and Law—considering a medical perspective on assisted suicide and euthanasia—stated that; “one can posit ‘ideal’ cases in which all the recommended safeguards would be satisfied: patients would be screened for depression and offered treatment, effective pain medication would be available, and all patients would have a supportive, committed family and doctor. Yet the reality of existing medical practice in doctors’ offices and hospitals across the state generally cannot match these expectations, however any guidelines or safeguards might be framed.”

Recent events in Canada are also instructive. Last year’s Supreme Court decision—making physician-assisted suicide legal for any competent adult suffering from “a grievous and irremediable” illness, disease, or disability—came into effect on Monday, 6th June. The 16 month delay between the ruling and when it came into effect, was meant to give Canada’s Parliament enough time to pass legislation that would control the practice of physician-assisted suicide, setting out guidelines for whom, how, and when such a procedure could be carried out safely.

However, by the 6th, the Canadian Parliament had failed to pass any such legislation, largely due to significant backlash by advocates of euthanasia and assisted suicide. They say, “in its current form, it’s legislation that discriminates on age, mental status, and level of health.” In essence, they believe the safeguards proposed by the Liberal Government are too restricting to the new rights of Canadians to seek physician-assisted death.

Instead of greater safeguards to protect those vulnerable to abuse—the elderly, depressed, disabled, or emotionally vulnerable—proponents of euthanasia are calling the Government to keep the category open to anyone with “grievous, irremediable” conditions. This terminology is dangerously vague and, as The Netherlands and Belgium have proven, loose definitions leave room for initially “tough” safeguards to similarly loosen in short order.

As Canada struggles to turn promises of safeguards that will protect vulnerable people into acceptable legislation, New Zealanders should take note. Across the jurisdictions that have legalised assisted dying, promises to create these safeguards have largely failed to live up to the rhetoric.
http://www.maxim.org.nz/Blog/Unrealistic_safeguards

signup-rollKeep up with family issues in NZ.
Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.

Elder abuse soars as country's vulnerable targeted

By | Recent News

Stuff.co.nz 15 June 2016
Family First Comment: And legalising euthanasia in NZ would simply exacerbate the problem. Older New Zealanders are not a problem to be rid of — they’re a generation to be honoured and cared for. Elder Abuse has become a significant problem in New Zealand. We cannot ignore the possibility that dependent elderly people may be coerced into assisted suicide (euthanasia). We cannot put older New Zealanders at risk by creating new paths to elder abuse, potentially resulting in a ‘duty to die’. Assisted suicide (euthanasia) poses a threat to the equality of persons.

A spike in family members assaulting, neglecting or ripping off their elderly relatives has been reported in Canterbury.
Age Concern Canterbury reported a 53 per cent increase in the number of elder abuse cases from 2014 to 2015, with 187 cases last year.
As of June, the organisation was well on its way to surpassing that figure, with 10 new cases reported each week.
June 15 marks the start of Elder Abuse Awareness Week and Age Concern Canterbury has called for an end to the abuse of the country’s vulnerable.
Age Concern Canterbury social worker Trina Cox said over the last 12 months there had been noticeable growth in family violence toward elderly in Canterbury.
“What we’re seeing is the physical assault of elderly.”
Nationally, more than 75 per cent of elder abuse was committed by family members.
Elder abuse included psychological, financial or material abuse, physical and sexual abuse, neglect and institutional abuse.
READ MORE: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/81023228/elder-abuse-soars-as-countrys-vulnerable-targeted.html

signup-rollKeep up with family issues in NZ.
Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.

The Case Against Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

By | Recent News

University of Otago – Faculty of Law – Rex Ahdar
March 2016
New Zealand Law Review, Forthcoming

Abstract:
The arguments in favour of legalising voluntary euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide initially appear convincing. We should, it is said, respect people’s autonomy, euthanasia is a compassionate response to unbearable suffering, it has (supposedly) worked well in those nations that have implemented it, and so on. But on closer analysis, the arguments are far less persuasive. Such a new law is unnecessary given the current legal ability of all but the most incapacitated to take their own life and the availability of palliative care. Any euthanasia law — even one carefully drafted with requisite safeguards — is susceptible to noncompliance and vulnerable to abuse. Moreover, any law would face the ineradicable reality of self-imposedpressure the vulnerable experience to “do the right thing”. This article sets out ten reasons why euthanasia should not be legalised and contends that the case for decriminalising it has not been made out by the proponents of it. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2791236

facebook_icon

Man seeks euthanasia to end his sexuality struggle

By | Recent News

BBC News 9 June 2016
Family First Comment: More slippery slope…..
“Psychiatrist Caroline Depuydt, who works at the Clinique Fond’roy psychiatric hospital in Brussels, prefers to encourage patients to seek further treatment. “We always have something that could work. Time, medication, psychotherapy – something that we must try and keep going with that. And the psychiatrist must give hope to the patient that it’s never finished,” she says.”

A gay man in Belgium is trying to end his life because he cannot accept his sexuality. He told the Victoria Derbyshire programme he wanted to be granted euthanasia on the grounds of extreme psychological suffering.

Sébastien has thought carefully about the moment he hopes his life will come to an end.
“The moment when they put the drip in my arm – I’m not worried about that,” the 39-year-old explains. “For me, it’s just a kind of anaesthesia.”
Sébastien, whose name we have changed to protect his identity, is from Belgium – where euthanasia has been legal since 2002.
There were 1,807 confirmed cases of euthanasia in 2013, the most recent year for which figures are available.
The majority of cases are elderly people suffering from terminal illnesses including cancer – only 4% were suffering from psychiatric disorders.
‘Permanent suffering’
For Sébastien, or anyone else in Belgium who seeks euthanasia as an option, it is not as simple as asking a doctor and being granted a lethal injection.
The law states that patients must demonstrate “constant and unbearable physical or mental suffering”.
In psychological cases, three doctors must agree that euthanasia is the right option.
Nevertheless, Sébastien remains determined to pursue it.
“I have always thought about death. Looking back on my earliest memories, it’s always been in my thoughts. It’s a permanent suffering, like being a prisoner in my own body,” he says.
“A constant sense of shame, feeling tired, being attracted to people you shouldn’t be attracted to – as though everything were the opposite of what I would have wanted.”
There is widespread public support for the euthanasia law in Belgium and the number of approved cases has risen year by year since it came into effect in 2002.
In 2014, the law was amended to allow euthanasia for terminally-ill children.
But there is debate among the medical profession about whether it should be an option for people who are mentally ill.
Psychiatrist Caroline Depuydt, who works at the Clinique Fond’roy psychiatric hospital in Brussels, prefers to encourage patients to seek further treatment.
“We always have something that could work. Time, medication, psychotherapy – something that we must try and keep going with that. And the psychiatrist must give hope to the patient that it’s never finished,” she says.
“It’s a very difficult law, it’s a philosophical and ethical question, very deep and there is no one good answer.”
READ MORE: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36489090

signup-rollKeep up with family issues in NZ.
Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.

Yes, Me Before You is fiction – but so are most arguments for assisted suicide

By | Recent News

The Telegraph 4 June 2016
Family First Comment: “The closer to reality of death and dying, the less support there is for legalising assisted suicide. Whereas a majority of the British public believe they need the “right” to die, the percentages go down in accordance to experience of death and dying. Less than half of all doctors support legalised assisted suicide. Of hospice doctors, 90 per cent oppose legalisation of assisted suicide. The closer to reality of death and dying, the less support there is for legalising assisted suicide. Whereas a majority of the British public believe they need the “right” to die, the percentages go down in accordance to experience of death and dying. Less than half of all doctors support legalised assisted suicide. Of hospice doctors, 90 per cent oppose legalisation of assisted suicide.”
There is an outbreak of fictional assisted suicides, of which the film released this week, Me Before You, is simply the most recent example. Before, we had Million Dollar Baby, The Sea Inside, One True Thing, and episodes of Lena Dunham’s Girls, Coronation Street, and Hollyoaks. Such a plot-device is neither new nor “taboo-busting” – that taboo has been well and truly busted.
It is interesting that the case for assisted suicide exists more in the fevered imagination of authors and screenwriters than in reality. Only a handful of Britons kill themselves in Swiss assisted suicide clinics every year; the rate of fictional representations to people actually killing themselves in Switzerland must be nearly 1:1. But Me Before You has sparked protests, mostly from disabled groups, because it implicitly asks the question: If you were quadriplegic (or severely disabled), would/should you kill yourself?
Of course, the film is fiction and not particularly imaginative fiction at that, but there is a real context to the unease of groups of disabled activists like Not Dead Yet who have protested outside cinemas. Canadians with a “grievous and irremediable” medical condition (an illness, disease or disability) will soon be eligible for assisted deaths. The message is clear: don’t commit suicide. Unless you are disabled or elderly, in which case we may help you.
The whole case for assisted suicide is fictional. Rather than empathy, it is based on anxiety in the worried well. “I’d rather die than suffer like you do”, some actually say out loud to disabled people, who, in my experience are a feisty lot who enjoy (and all too often must fight for) their lives. There are real disabled lives – and there is the narcissistic projection of gloomy imaginings onto the disabled.
The case for legalised assisted suicide has at its heart a fictional scene – a relative near the end of her life wracked with pain, betubed and hooked up to beeping machines, looks pleadingly to her anxious family who in turn look to the doctor, who shakes her head sadly, constrained by a law founded on outdated religious mores.
READ MORE: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/films/2016/06/04/yes-me-before-you-is-fiction—but-so-are-most-arguments-for-ass/

signup-rollKeep up with family issues in NZ.
Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.

The Hospice Gets it Right on Euthanasia

By | Recent News

Legalising euthanasia gains support in Bay
Bay of Plenty Times 3 June 2016
Family First Comment: Head of Tauranga Hospice “From my experience at hospice and hospices around the country, is that when you get that life-limiting condition, or given there is no further treatment discussion with your specialist, initially there is a loss of hope and often people do question, what is life all for and everything else like that, but … after a couple of weeks of being looked after by hospice, anyone who has any questions of wanting to have an assisted death in some way, actually change their mind.”
Well said!
Waipuna Hospice chief executive Dr Richard Thurlow said he too was not surprised by the result, but said those answering in this, and other recent surveys may not be the most appropriate to answer.
“We’re asking a population of people, who, this is possibly the first time they’ve thought about it,” he said. “Is that the demographic we need to be surveying, or is it actually the people who are in the period at the end of their life.”
“From my experience at hospice and hospices around the country, is that when you get that life-limiting condition, or given there is no further treatment discussion with your specialist, initially there is a loss of hope and often people do question, what is life all for and everything else like that, but … after a couple of weeks of being looked after by hospice, anyone who has any questions of wanting to have an assisted death in some way, actually change their mind.”
He said he thought funding was better to be directed into palliative care in hospice, and in hospital and in aged residential care.
READ MORE: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/bay-of-plenty-times/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503343&objectid=11649652

facebook_icon

Elder abuse on the rise

By | Recent News

Family members involved in 75 per cent of elder abuse cases
Stuff co.nz 1 June 2016
Several South Canterbury seniors have had savings of more than $45,000 each wiped out by the people they trust the most, Family Works says.
The community service provider said family members were involved in 75 per cent of the elder abuse cases it dealt with, and the number of cases was on the rise.
In the year to the end of May 2016 there were 66 new referrals, well up on 38 in the previous year.
Elder protection service co-ordinator Geeta Muralidharan​ said many older people did not want to damage relationships with family from fear of loneliness, even if there were concerns of abuse.
Elder abuse encompasses financial, physical, psychological, emotional, neglect and sexual abuse. More than 50 per cent of her clients were affected by financial abuse.
Some older people were unable to make ends meet because they were supporting their extended family while on the pension, Muralidharan said.
“They’re neglecting their own needs and their quality of life is deteriorating.”
READ MORE: http://www.stuff.co.nz/timaru-herald/news/80637632/family-members-involved-in-75-per-cent-of-elder-abuse-cases

signup-rollKeep up with family issues in NZ.
Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.

Boycott – Me Before You – "disability death porn."

By | Recent News

Alex Schadenberg – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition 26 May 2016
The movie – Me Before You will be released in theatres across North America on June 3.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is urging its supporters to boycott Me Before You to not give any money to the production of movies that perpetuate the ideology that death is better than living with a disability.
We also urge our supporters to donate the admission price to either: Not Dead Yet (donation), Not Dead Yet UK (donation), Toujours Vivant – Not Dead Yet (donate through the Council of Canadians with Disabilities) or the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (donation).
This is not a campaign to obstruct free speech, this is a campaign to oppose the “disability death porn” that this movie promotes.
In the Me Before You plot (Will Traynor) a man who was paralysed in an accident, decides to die by assisted suicide at a Swiss suicide clinic. His family, who are incredibly wealthy, hire Louisa Clark, as his care-giver.

As the story progresses, Clark falls in love with Traynor, but Traynor has decided that death is better than living with a disability. Traynor dies by assisted suicide in Switzerland and of course he loves Clark so much, that he leaves her an inheritance.
What is most insidious about the movie is that Traynor’s suicide is sold as an act of love. For me that borders on what I call “disability death porn.”
People with disabilities are fighting for social and attitudinal change. Me Before You perpetuates the idea, that death is better than living with a disability.

To understand the disability perspective, I urge you to read the comments by people with disabilities concerning Me Before You.
William Peace, a Syracuse University professor, known as Bad Cripple, wrote an excellent article: A Second Class Existence: Me Before You Gets It All Wrong.
READ MORE: http://alexschadenberg.blogspot.co.nz/2016/05/boycott-me-before-you-disability-death.html?utm_source=Euthanasia+Prevention+Coalition+Newsletter&utm_campaign=3cca35e0cf-Me_Before_You_Movie_Protests5_31_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_105a5cdd2d-3cca35e0cf-157142057
twitter follow us