Posted by Kendall Harmon

Rejected in 2006, and again in 2009, attempts to introduce assisted suicide are now back on the table. This also follows rejection in Wales, Scotland and the Isle of Man. Rob Marris MP has introduced an assisted dying bill that is expected to be largely the same as Lord Falconer’s previous effort, which ran out of time before May’s general election. It is anticipated the bill will make it legal to assist in the death of people who are terminally ill with six months or less to live, provided they are considered mentally competent by two doctors. The change is presented as a compassionate response to tragic situations. Cases of people in severe continual pain make us want to be compassionate, and that is a good thing.

But this is a wholly wrong way to look after the most vulnerable. In fact, it does the opposite, putting them in mortal peril. The law must stay as it is now to protect those who are least able to have their voice heard: the disabled, terminally ill and elderly, people who might otherwise feel pressured into ending their lives. Campaigners to change the law make grand promises for the modesty of their goals, but I don’t believe them. The parameters set out for who could ask for a doctor’s help in killing themselves are ambiguous, open to challenge, and not unanimously supported among assisted dying advocates.

For example, many campaigners would like the law to apply to chronic non-terminal conditions.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted June 29, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“Time is catching up to me and because of that I am considering a change,” McKissick said Sunday night amid the first reports that he was considering retirement.

McKissick, who has more coaching wins than any other football coach at any level, is 88 years old. He has a world-record 621 wins during his career at SHS.

He coached 10 Green Wave football teams to a state championship.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHistoryMenSportsTeens / Youth* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyPastoral Theology

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Posted June 17, 2015 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Human life has reached an inflection point—one that matters a great deal for those planning for retirement.

One hundred years ago, the average lifespan was about 42. That's now doubled. People are living longer and trying to stretch their income to make ends meet and stay ahead of inflation, but that's not the inflection point financial advisors are really concerned about—that's just the everyday blocking and tackling on behalf of client portfolios. The emerging challenge goes way beyond that.

Scientists have found the mechanisms that govern aging and are already doing experiments in rats on how to reverse it. They've found species that do not die of old age, such as the jellyfish Turritopsis.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinanceThe U.S. GovernmentSocial Security* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted June 4, 2015 at 11:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Americans have major doubts about the financial health of Social Security.

A new survey by Pew Research Center finds that 41 percent of Americans think there will be no Social Security benefits for them when they retire and nearly a third expect reduced levels of benefits. (Tweet This)

Some of those fears may be overblown. "People who think they will get zero benefits from Social Security are wrong and they should look at the facts," said Andy Landis, a former claims representative for the Social Security Administration (SSA) and author of "Social Security: The Inside Story."

There are concerns that benefits may be reduced, however.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinanceThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetSocial SecurityPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 23, 2015 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Watch it all--so encouraging.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyBlogging & the Internet* General InterestAnimalsPhotos/Photography

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Posted May 2, 2015 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Judge Fabricius, quoted in local media, said the ruling applied only to Mr Stransham-Ford and that future cases would be debated on their merits.

"It is not correct to say from now on it will be a free-for-all," he is quoted as saying.

The justice and health ministers, as well as the Health Professions Council of South Africa, have opposed the legal case.

Dignity SA said it would welcome an appeal as a chance to test the right to die against the constitution, the Associated Press news agency reports.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife Ethics* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General

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Posted May 1, 2015 at 3:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



A British couple with a combined aged of 194 will be getting married in the summer - making them the oldest newlyweds in the world.

George Kirby, who will be 103 when they tie the knot in June, and his bride-to-be Doreen Luckie, 91, got engaged on Valentine’s Day this year after being together for 27 years.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineMenPsychologyWomen* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted April 27, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Because of the work I do in the area of third-party assisted reproductive medicine, I have Google alerts set for “egg donation,” “sperm donation,” and “surrogacy.” Often the daily digest reads like the lineup for a week of reality-TV programming. Stories break with headlines that boggle the mind: “Mother tells of giving birth to her gay son’s baby,” or the recent court decision that a “dead reservist’s parents may use his [frozen] sperm, against widow’s wishes” so they can have grandchildren. Or this dreadful decision from Australia’s foreign minister, who said “Department of Foreign Affairs correct to allow couple to abandon unwanted Indian surrogacy twin” because the couple claims they cannot afford to keep both of the babies.

More recently, news broke of 65-year-old Annegret Raunigk, who lives in Berlin and is pregnant with quadruplets via egg and sperm donation. Because egg donation is illegal in Germany, Raunigk left the country to conceive the babies. If the pregnancy is successful — that is, if it results in live births — she will be the oldest woman to give birth to quadruplets. The current holder of this claim to fame is Merryl Fudel of San Diego, who was a five-time divorcee and 55 years old at the time she gave birth to quadruplets in 1998....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyMiddle AgePsychologyReligion & Culture* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 18, 2015 at 3:12 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is no question that Donna Lou Rayhons had severe Alzheimer’s.

In the days before being placed in a nursing home in Garner, Iowa, last year, Mrs. Rayhons, 78, could not recall her daughters’ names or how to eat a hamburger. One day, she tried to wash her hands in the toilet of a restaurant bathroom.

But another question has become the crux of an extraordinary criminal case unfolding this week in an Iowa courtroom: Was Mrs. Rayhons able to consent to sex with her husband?

Henry Rayhons, 78, has been charged with third-degree felony sexual abuse, accused of having sex with his wife in a nursing home on May 23, 2014, eight days after staff members there told him they believed she was mentally unable to agree to sex.

Read it all from the New York Times.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologySexuality* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted April 16, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Canada’s medical schools are preparing for what was once unimaginable — teaching medical students and residents how to help patients take their own lives.

As the nation moves toward legalized physician-assisted death, Canada’s 17 faculties of medicine have begun to consider how they will introduce assisted dying into the curriculum for the next generations of doctors.

It is a profound change for medical educators, who have long taught future doctors that it is immoral to end a life intentionally.

“If legislation passes, and if it becomes a standard of practice in Canada for a small subset of patients who desire assisted death, and where all the conditions are met, would we want a cadre of doctors that are trained in the emotional, communicative and technical aspects of making those decisions, and assisting patients,” said Dr. Richard Reznick, dean of the faculty of health sciences at Queen’s University in Kingston. “We would.”

Read it all.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 2, 2015 at 7:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After dinner, Mr. Iero washes Mr. Myers’s face and hands with a hot washcloth in his room and trims his mustache and eyebrows. As Mr. Iero leads Mr. Myers down the hallway to the lobby for dessert, a female resident grabs Mr. Myers’s hand. The trio slowly shuffles along.

“Do we know who she is?” Mr. Myers mumbles.

“Yeah, we know who she is, Paul,” Mr. Iero says reassuringly.

His days are long. Prepping food in the morning for Mr. Myers. Grocery shopping after work. The 30-minute drive home in the dark.

“It’s just a horrible, horrible disease,” Mr. Iero says. When someone dies, “you lose that someone but then you go on. You have some closure. With Alzheimer’s it’s just an ongoing reminder of what you lost.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPsychologyScience & Technology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 31, 2015 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This is just a wonderful picture.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the Elderly* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* General InterestPhotos/Photography* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

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Posted March 28, 2015 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I think luo has something important to teach us in the face of dementia. In the face of deficit, decline, and death we try hard to cling on. But the lesson of the little word luo is that maybe the path of resurrection lies in letting go. If death is starting now, maybe resurrection can start now too.

Perhaps it’s only when we let go of who and what our loved one was that we can receive who they are now. Perhaps only when we find ways to enjoy who they are now can we reverse the deficit and the decline, because we stop assuming they’re moving away from something good and start appreciating that they’re moving into something new.

Dementia is not a living death. It’s an invitation to see how we can remain the same person yet take on new and rather different characteristics. In that sense it’s a training in resurrection, in which we shall be changed but still recognizably ourselves. Like resurrection, we can’t experience it unless we find ways to let go, to let loose, to be released and forgiven. God welcomes us into eternal life not by keeping a tight hold on us but by letting us go. The challenge for us in dementia is to find ways that we can do the same.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicinePsychology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted March 21, 2015 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As the nation awaits legalized doctor-assisted death, the transplant community is grappling with a potential new source of life-saving organs — offered by patients who have chosen to die.

Some surgeons say every effort should be made to respect the dying wishes of people seeking assisted death, once the Supreme Court of Canada ruling comes into effect next year, including the desire to donate their organs.

But the prospect of combining two separate requests — doctor-assisted suicide and organ donation — is creating profound unease for others. Some worry those contemplating assisted suicide might feel a societal pressure to carry through with the act so that others might live, or that it could undermine struggling efforts to increase Canada’s mediocre donor rate.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 20, 2015 at 4:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Loneliness kills. That’s the conclusion of a new study by Brigham Young University researchers who say they are sounding the alarm on what could be the next big public-health issue, on par with obesity and substance abuse.

The subjective feeling of loneliness increases risk of death by 26%, according to the new study in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science. Social isolation — or lacking social connection — and living alone were found to be even more devastating to a person’s health than feeling lonely, respectively increasing mortality risk by 29% and 32%.

“This is something that we need to take seriously for our health,” says Brigham Young University researcher Julianne Holt-Lunstad, an author of the study. “This should become a public-health issue.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicinePsychology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted March 20, 2015 at 5:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

More than two decades before Brittany Maynard’s public advocacy for death with dignity inspired lawmakers in Washington, D.C., and at least 16 states to introduce legislation authorizing the medical practice of aid in dying for the terminally ill, Senator Frank Roberts of Oregon sponsored one of the nation’s first death-with-dignity bills.

Had he lived longer, Frank might have been able to benefit from Oregon’s becoming a state that allowed death with dignity. But he died too soon. I had spent 25 years as an emergency room and intensive care nurse and a physician assistant in cardiology. I witnessed many people’s deaths. But Frank’s was the one that truly ignited my conviction to help change the way Americans die. Frank served in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1966 to 1970 and the Oregon State Senate from 1974 until terminal cancer forced his retirement in September 1993. I was privileged to meet him when I staffed the Health Care and Bioethics Committee on which he served. He was one of the few politicians I ever called a “statesman.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife Ethics

0 Comments
Posted March 18, 2015 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

More Americans are saying “I do” more than one time.

Nearly one in five U.S. adults—roughly 17%—has been married two or more times, according to a new analysis by the U.S. Census Bureau of its 2008-2012 American Community Survey. About 4% of U.S. residents age 15 or older have been married three or more times.

The findings—the first snapshot of remarriage trends by the census with levels of geographical detail—are the latest to suggest that, while marriage has declined in the U.S. since the 1960s, remarriage, especially among older Americans, is on the rise.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyMiddle AgePsychologySociology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 16, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Last year, the radio host Diane Rehm watched in agony as her husband, John, starved to death over the course of 10 days.

Severely crippled by Parkinson’s disease, his only option for ending the suffering was to stop eating and drinking. Physicians in most states, including Maryland, where he lived, are barred from helping terminally ill patients who want to die in a dignified way.

“He was a brilliant man, just brilliant,” Ms. Rehm said in an interview. “For him to go out that way, not being able to do anything for himself, was an insufferable indignity.”

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 15, 2015 at 2:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The nation’s shortage of doctors will rise to between 46,000 and 90,000 by 2025 as the U.S. population grows, more Americans gain health insurance and new alternative primary care sites proliferate.

A new study announced by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), a lobby for medical schools and teaching hospitals, said “the doctor shortage is real” with total physician demand projected to grow by up to 17 percent as a population of baby boomers ages and the Affordable Care Act is implemented.

“It’s particularly serious for the kind of medical care that our aging population is going to need,” said Dr. Darrell Kirch, AAMC’s president in a statement accompanying the analysis by research firm IHS.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 7, 2015 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

World War II veteran Erling Kindem found a best bud in his 4-year-old next-door neighbor, Emmett Rychner. But after the unlikely pair enjoyed countless hours of lawn mower races, croquet matches and gardening, Emmett's parents made the difficult decision last year to move from their suburban home south of Minneapolis to a new house in the country.

The distance became even harder to bear as Kindem planned to move with his ailing wife to a retirement community about 30 miles away. "It was good while it lasted," Kindem told NBC affiliate KARE last September. His voice cracked as he reasoned that he would someday see his friend again: "It isn't over."

On Sunday, they were reunited.

Read it all and watch the whole video report.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenPsychology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 4, 2015 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The number of words we can’t use without offending is ever growing, and if the supporters of the right-to-die movement have their way, it will stretch yet again to include the word “suicide.” At least when that suicide is the result of a dying patient taking a lethal dose of drugs to avoid impending mental and physical anguish.

It’s insensitive at best to use the “S” word in this context, I’ve been informed by several advocates, because people would not be choosing this option because of a psychiatric disorder or despair over life. They don’t want to die; their diseases have forced that on them. Senate Bill 128, legislation recently introduced in California to allow physicians to write lethal prescriptions under tightly controlled circumstances, not only refrains from calling this suicide but would not allow death certificates to reflect how the death occurred.

“The cause of death listed on an individual’s death certificate who uses aid-in-dying medication shall be the underlying terminal illness,” it reads.

In other words, it wouldn't mention the legal drugs that actually caused the death. The public should have a problem with that.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & Family* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 24, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Elder care is also often done for low wages by new or undocumented immigrants. Will that change?

Manufacturing in the ’20s and ’30s was sweatshop work, largely done by new immigrants. We turned factory work into good jobs with pathways to opportunities. That professionalization was the basis for 20th century prosperity. That’s what the care workforce needs to be. These have the potential to be really good jobs.

You compare investing in home-care workers to investing in railways or the Internet. But aren’t those about growth, not dying?

For working-age adults right now, especially with what they call the sandwich generation–people who are caring for children and aging parents–this is having an impact on their productivity.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyMiddle AgePsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 23, 2015 at 3:56 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As New York lawmakers began to consider a bill to legalize physician-assisted suicide, the New York State Catholic Conference launched a new website "to offer Catholics moral clarity and guidance on the church's teachings regarding end-of-life decision-making."

"Talking about death and dying can be difficult and uncomfortable, yet perhaps no conversations are more profound or necessary for all of us," says the "About" section of the site. "The fact is that most of us will face challenging decisions regarding treatment and care at the end of life, either for ourselves or our family members."

Developed with a grant from Our Sunday Visitor, the site provides links to resources, church teaching, advance directives and a variety of Catholic sources all across the country.

The Catholic church teaches that physician-assisted suicide is immoral and unethical.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted February 20, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As we ponder this momentous ruling of our nation’s highest court, let us pray that the gifts of the Holy Spirit will guide all of us in our response: Above all, that the gifts of wisdom, right judgment and courage will flourish among us.

Moreover, we cannot fail to proclaim the gospel of life with both vigor and joy: that every life has an inherent God-given dignity from the moment of conception until life’s natural end. And let the words of St. Paul we heard in today’s second reading ring out in our minds and hearts: “If I proclaim the Gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe to me if I do not proclaim the Gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:16).

The mission ahead of us is not committed only to a few. Rather, it is mine; it is yours; it is ours.

With God’s help, which he offers in this Eucharist, may we fulfill this obligation to proclaim the Gospel for the welfare of all our brothers and sisters.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryCanada* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted February 11, 2015 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The recent ruling of the Supreme Court of Canada, striking down the long held ban on physician-assisted dying is cause for celebration among many Canadians and cause for great concern among many others.

For those who have long advocated for a person’s right, in the face of immense and intolerable suffering, to end their life with medical assistance the ruling is a victory. For those who hold to the conviction that our life is something larger than any individual person’s “ownership” of it, and is not simply ours to “discard” the ruling is deeply troubling.

Whatever one’s perspective, serious attention needs to be given to the court ruling’s intent and application. While enabling legislation may not be imminent, we know consideration of any new laws will be a matter of intense public interest and debate within Canadian society at large, within the country’s medical community, and certainly within and among the churches, including ours.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife Ethics* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted February 10, 2015 at 5:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Catholics are called by their faith to assist all those in need, particularly the poor, the suffering and the dying. Comforting the dying and accompanying them in love and solidarity has been considered by the Church since its beginning a principal expression of Christian mercy.

Helping someone commit suicide, however, is neither an act of justice or mercy, nor is it part of palliative care. The decision of the Supreme Court of Canada today does not change Catholic teaching. "[A]n act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, our Creator." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2277).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryCanada* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted February 7, 2015 at 10:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Canadian adults in grievous, unending pain have a right to end their life with a doctor’s help, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday.

The unanimous ruling, by establishing that the “sanctity of life” also includes the “passage into death,” extends constitutional rights into a new realm. The courts have used the 1982 Charter of Rights to establish gay marriage and to strike down a federal abortion law. The new ruling will change the way some Canadians are permitted to die.

In a brief, powerful opening paragraph, the court explained why it was creating a new constitutional right to autonomy over one’s death in some circumstances: Those who are severely and irremediably suffering, whether physically or psychologically, “may be condemned to a life of severe and intolerable suffering” by the government’s absolute ban on assisted dying. “A person facing this prospect has two options: she can take her own life prematurely, often by violent or dangerous means, or she can suffer until she dies from natural causes. The choice is cruel.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 7, 2015 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

California legislators have introduced assisted suicide legislation modeled on Oregon's assisted suicide law, energized by the heartbreaking story of Brittany Maynard, a young woman with brain cancer, who moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Oregon to end her own life Nov. 1.

Before her suicide, Maynard, 29, created videos asking for assisted suicide legislation that drew tens of millions of views, and her mother and husband are now campaigning for legalization.

California S.B. 128, as it is called, would allow doctors to prescribe a lethal dose of medication to terminally ill patients who want to commit suicide. Written by Democratic Sens. Bill Monning and Lois Wolk, the bill has sparked strong opposition.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 2, 2015 at 1:21 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As someone who supports all those other liberal causes, yet opposes physician-assisted suicide, I'd ask my fellow progressives to shine a cold hard light on this issue. We have been the target of a decades-long branding campaign that paints hastening death as an extension of personal freedoms. We should bring the same skepticism to physician-assisted suicide that we do to fracking and genetically modified food.

Groups such as Compassion and Choices, the nonprofit advocacy organization spearheading SB 128 and similar bills elsewhere, masterfully employ Orwellian propaganda techniques: Redefine words to mean what you want them to mean. Repeat key points until they acquire an unquestioned air of truth.

“Suicide” is distasteful, so they promote “physician aid-in-dying,” “death with dignity” and the “right to die.” And yet all of these mean taking action to end one's own life. The news media have largely adopted the assisted suicide movement's terminology, so these euphemisms are worth unpacking here.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & Family* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted February 1, 2015 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Also, as Ian Dowbiggin showed in “A Merciful End: The Euthanasia Movement in Modern America” (2003), physician-assisted suicide was periodically championed in the 20th century yet rejected time after time by American voters when its practical harms were comprehended. As recently as 2012, Massachusetts voters defeated an initiative to legalize assisted suicide.

There are two essential harms from the practice. First: Once doctors agree to assist a person’s suicide, ultimately they find it difficult to reject anyone who seeks their services. The killing of patients by doctors spreads to encompass many treatable but mentally troubled individuals, as seen today in the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland.

Second: When a “right to die” becomes settled law, soon the right translates into a duty. That was the message sent by Oregon, which legalized assisted suicide in 1994, when the state-sponsored health plan in 2008 denied recommended but costly cancer treatments and offered instead to pay for less-expensive suicide drugs.

Read it all from Paul McHugh.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife Ethics* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 23, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

She was then a farm kitchen helper before working at a hotel which was visited by the Queen and Queen Mother while she was there.

Miss Gallan, who now lives in a care home in Aberdeen, said: 'My secret to a long life has been staying away from men. They're just more trouble than they're worth.

'I also made sure that I got plenty of exercise, eat a nice warm bowl of porridge every morning and have never gotten married.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & Medicine

2 Comments
Posted January 21, 2015 at 11:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Following interventions by a few high profile Christians, some people are suggesting that the Church of England's position on the 'Assisted Dying Bill' lacks clarity. For once, nothing could be further from the truth. In February 2012 the current law was debated by General Synod, a representative body made up of bishops, clergy and lay people. No member of Synod voted against a resolution to support the law as it stands. It is relatively unusual to find an issue which attracts such an overwhelming consensus of opinion. This is one such issue, and the reasons for that massive level of agreement were well rehearsed.

Foremost among them is the view - shared by many people of other faiths and none - that every person's life has an intrinsic value regardless of circumstance. Whatever they themselves or other people may think of their 'value' to society, and despite any apparent lack of productivity or usefulness, nothing can alter their essential significance as human beings. To agree that some of us are more valuable than others when it comes to being alive would be to cross an ethical Rubicon. Until now, our society has regarded this as self-evident. That is why we have 'suicide watch' in prisons; and why we try to stop people killing themselves by jumping off bridges or cliffs or high buildings. It is why doctors undertake to give only 'beneficial' treatment to their patients, and why we attach so much importance to human rights legislation.

Then there is our fundamental responsibility as a 'civilised' society to care for and protect the most vulnerable among us.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted January 15, 2015 at 3:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the new film "Still Alice," Julianne Moore plays a linguistics professor in the prime of her professional and personal life who is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease after she begins forgetting words, misplacing items around the house and getting lost while out jogging.

The film underscores what is perhaps a little-known fact: almost three-quarters of the almost 750,000 Canadians with Alzheimer's are women. It's not that women have a greater risk for the disease than men — they don't. But because females tend to live longer on average, a higher proportion end up developing the progressive degenerative brain disorder.

Still, advancing age isn't the only factor. The film's main character, Alice Howland, develops a rare genetic type of Alzheimer's not long after turning 50. And such cases of early-onset dementia appear to be on the rise.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineWomen* International News & CommentaryCanada

0 Comments
Posted January 14, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Legal experts and the police said a law allowing assisted suicide in Scotland needed more clarity in order to remove the risk of someone being prosecuted.

There is a "fine line" between assisting someone killing themselves and an act of euthanasia which could result in criminal charges, MSPs heard.

The plans, contained in a backbench bill, have widespread public backing, said supporters.

But opponents believed such a move was "unethical and uncontrollable".

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Scotland* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 14, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Everyone in the Netherlands, where a right-to-die law was passed in 2002, seems to know of someone who has lost a loved one through a mercy killing.

As many as one in 33 people now use euthanasia to end their lives, and the number of cases rose from 1,923 in 2006 to nearly 5,000 in 2013. It is thought that in 2014 around 6,000 people could have chosen to die by this means.

You might be entitled to think that what people do in Holland is their business and nothing to do with us in Britain. But you could not be more wrong.

If campaigners have their way, the law will be changed here, too, to allow those who wish to end their life to do so at a time of their choosing. For opponents of euthanasia, this raises grave moral questions, as well as concerns that unscrupulous relatives might take advantage of elderly family members — whose estates they might covet — by encouraging them to end their lives.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeThe Netherlands* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 2, 2015 at 2:34 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Alzheimer's patients are finding their voices again with the help of music.

Take the time to watch the whole heartwarming story (only a couple of minutes).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyMusic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 24, 2014 at 7:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Assembly Members (AMs) were asked to vote on whether they supported the principles of the Assisted Dying Bill.

The answer was a clear and refreshing “No” - it does not support it. Only 12 Assembly Members voted to support it, 21 voted against doing so; 20 abstained.

It was heartening to watch the quality of this debate from the public gallery.

I was particularly impressed by the understanding which many Members showed of a Bill that goes to considerable lengths to dress up what it is proposing in reassuring language (for example, by describing the lethal drugs it would supply to terminally ill people as ‘medicines’) yet makes no effort, beyond stating a handful of vague eligibility conditions, to provide for any serious safeguards to protect vulnerable people from harm.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife Ethics* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Wales* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 21, 2014 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is little doubt that those in favour of changing the law on assisted suicide have talked up a storm. In spite of peers expressing very mixed opinions during debates on the Assisted Dying Bill, the casual observer might be forgiven for thinking that all that remains to be done is to find effective safeguards ensuring that vulnerable individuals are not pressured into requesting assistance for ending their own lives; otherwise the matter is a done-deal. Leaving to one side, the rather important point that finding effective safeguards is proving as elusive as finding the Holy Grail, recent announcements from the medical profession have helped to bring some much-needed perspective to the debate.

The Royal College of Physicians’ recent announcement that, in the light of a thorough survey of its members, it will continue to oppose a change in legislation, is significant...

Read it all and follow the links.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 20, 2014 at 1:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Global life expectancy for men and women has increased by about six years over the past two decades, according to the one of the most comprehensive studies of global health done so far.

The rise in global life expectancy is mainly the result of dramatic advances in health care. In richer countries longer lifespans are spurred by a big drop in deaths related to heart disease, while poorer countries have seen big declines in the death of children from ailments such as pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria.

But there are worrying signs, too. While global deaths from infectious disease dropped by about 25% over the past two decades, the number of deaths linked to noncommunicable diseases has jumped by about 40%. Noncommunicable maladies, such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes, tend to be chronic in nature and often more expensive to treat.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyGlobalizationHealth & MedicineScience & Technology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 18, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

lzheimer’s disease is by far the most common cause of dementia and one of the world’s most feared disorders. By 2050, there will be 135 million Alzheimer’s sufferers worldwide, a threefold increase from today, with three-quarters of cases occurring in low- and middle-income countries. Predicting the onset of Alzheimer’s, let alone preventing or curing it, remains an immense challenge.

Alzheimer’s disease was identified more than a century ago from autopsy results that showed characteristic brain lesions called “amyloid plaques.” The disease is more difficult to diagnose in the living. Doctors rely on observation of memory loss and other thinking deficits (such as reasoning or language comprehension) – signs that plaques are already present in the brain. But any cure would have to be administered before the plaques form, and years before symptoms of dementia appear.

Alzheimer’s might be more predictable if scientists had the time and resources to conduct far-reaching longitudinal studies over many years. Such studies ideally would involve blood, imaging, memory, and medical tests, as well as detailed lifestyle questionnaires filled out by thousands of young and middle-aged people. Study participants would be followed over decades to see who developed the disease, and which tests proved positive before Alzheimer’s was diagnosed.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & Family* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 17, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Antipsychotic drugs have helped many people with serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. But for older people with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia, they can be deadly. The Food and Drug Administration has given these drugs a black box warning, saying they can increase the risk of heart failure, infections and death. Yet almost 300,000 nursing home residents still get them.

So in 2012, the federal government started a campaign to get nursing homes to reduce their use of these drugs. But an NPR analysis of government data shows that the government rarely penalizes nursing homes when they don't get with the program.

Read or listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & Medicine* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 9, 2014 at 11:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(Blog readers are asked to remember that this piece is responding to the Atlantic article posted in later September on the blog i recommend reading the article and the comments--KSH).

I have been thinking quite a bit lately about aging.

Three things fuel those ruminations. The first is that I am aging. I have been able to deny it for several decades but my retirement this year coincided with several manifestations of mild and generally innocuous physical decline. The second is my participating with several of my brothers and sisters in being a care-giver for my 89 year old father.

The third was a provocative essay published in the September issue of The Atlantic. The author is a prominent oncologist and medical ethicist named Ezekiel Emanuel. The title of Dr. Emanuel's is largely self-explanatory: "Why I Hope to Die at 75." He has no desire to live past that age, largely because by then his creative contributions to medicine will be over. No longer being socially useful, he would become a burden, a condition he has no desire to bear. He would not directly cause his own death but would indirectly facilitate it by eschewing standard medical treatments such as annual check-ups and colonoscopies.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & CultureScience & Technology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 8, 2014 at 7:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Rick Cloud, 68, knew that he wanted to stay in his home in Austin, Tex., as he aged. But Mr. Cloud, who is divorced, was not sure how he could do that without relying on his two daughters.

Then he ran across the idea of virtual retirement villages, whose members pay a yearly fee to gain access to resources and social connections that help them age in place. Sold on the concept, Mr. Cloud joined with some friends to start Capital City Village four years ago.

“Our virtual village can connect me with people my own age so I can do more things,” said Mr. Cloud, a retired technology consultant. “I worry about being single and getting older.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyBlogging & the Internet--Social Networking* TheologyAnthropology

0 Comments
Posted December 2, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pope Francis denounced the right to die movement on Saturday, saying that euthanasia is a sin against God and creation.

The Latin American pontiff said it was a “false sense of compassion” to consider euthanasia as an act of dignity.

Earlier this month, the Vatican’s top bioethics official condemned as “reprehensible” the death by assisted suicide of a 29-year-old American woman, Brittany Maynard, who was suffering terminal brain cancer and said she wanted to die with dignity.

“This woman (took her own life) thinking she would die with dignity, but this is the error,” said Monsignor Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, the head of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife Ethics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 15, 2014 at 12:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Carer Assisted Serial Killing (CASK or "Quiet Killing") [is] a phenomenon only receiving belated recognition while the ominous numbers escalate.

CASK was first described by toxicologist Robert Forrest; James Thunder suggested the alternative term of "Quiet Killing." It refers to the murder of patients in health care facilities. This growing phenomenon, largely directed at elderly patients and children, is a reflection of the expanding institutionalisation of health care in a growing and ageing population. Their care is taken away from the family home and put in the hands of "service providers."

Caring for vulnerable patients in an indifferent environment with easy access to potent drugs has the potential for a murderous carer to cause havoc. In the United States in 2000 there were over 33 million hospital admissions and 1.7 million residents of nursing homes; hospital employees numbered over 4 million and nursing home employees another 1.8 million. 2011 had special significance as the year when the baby-boomer generation reached 65.

CASK happens in hospitals or nursing homes because deaths are expected to occur and attract little attention.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 14, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Richard Overton, 108, is thought to be the oldest living veteran in the United States. But he’s as active as ever.

On Tuesday, shortly after he served as grand marshal in Austin’s Veteran’s Day Parade, Overton was relaxing on the porch of his Texas home — the same house he bought when he returned from World War II (he paid $4,000 for the house, Austin Fox affiliate KTBC reported in May).

This year’s parade, Overton told The Post, was “fine, lovely beautiful. The best one I’ve seen yet.”

“It made me feel good. I appreciate everything they’re doing,” Overton said. “I had my name and age on the side of the car, and they couldn’t believe it. I was still walking and talking and riding along and everything.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyMilitary / Armed Forces* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

1 Comments
Posted November 11, 2014 at 7:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A top medical expert in Britain has said that assisted dying will be made legal in UK within the next two years.

The deputy chair of the British Medical Association Dr Kailash Chand has confirmed that a Bill that offers assisted dying to terminally ill patients who are mentally capable and are likely to have less than six months to live will soon be cleared.

UK has been seeing a growing support for the move — influenced by opinion polls suggesting that up to three quarters of the public would support a change in the law allowing assisted dying.

One of the world's most revered religious leaders Desmond Tutu - a Nobel peace laureate and archbishop emeritus of Cape Town has lent his full-fledged support to Britain's plans of legally allowing assisted death.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 9, 2014 at 5:58 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Billy Graham, born just days before the end of World War I, turns 96 on Friday.

This year, he’ll celebrate his birthday quietly with family at his mountaintop home in Montreat.

No big party is planned like last year’s, when 900 people – including a score of celebrities – gathered at Asheville’s Grove Park Inn.

But admirers of the Charlotte-born evangelist can listen to a new message from Graham in a 30-minute video called “Heaven” that was produced by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & Medicine* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

0 Comments
Posted November 7, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Though it has brought advanced care planning to a remarkable number of people, Respecting Choices has encountered some resistance. Britt Welnetz, the organization’s business development consul­tant, said that she is often asked whether a nonphysician facilitator can effectively discuss medical decisions. She explains that the standardized, patient-centered conversation leads to an overall level of patient satisfaction.

Others ask if the Respecting Choices model can work in a community that’s more diverse than La Crosse. Research indicates that it can. The Respecting Choices program was implemented in a hospital in Mil­wau­kee, and the use of advance directives among racial and ethnic minorities in­creased substantially from 25.8 percent to 38.4 percent. Research suggests that it’s knowledge of advance directives, regardless of race and ethnicity, that leads to their use.

The advance care planning facilitator model has gained acceptance both nationally and internationally. Respect­ing Choices has trained more than 10,000 facilitators, as well as nearly 600 instructors and nearly 30 faculty members who can implement system-wide changes. There are facilitators in 47 states in the United States, and Respecting Choices is the national standard of care in Singapore and Australia; the program is also the model for an $8.5 million European Union study of advance-stage cancer patients and end-of-life care.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPsychology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 5, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An estimated 2.8 million older adults in the United States meet the criteria for alcohol abuse, and this number is expected to reach 5.7 million by 2020, according to a study in the journal “Addiction.” In 2008, 231,200 people over 50 sought treatment for substance abuse, up from 102,700 in 1992, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a federal agency.

While alcohol is typically the substance of choice, a 2013 report found that the rate of illicit drug use among adults 50 to 64 increased from 2.7 percent in 2002 to 6.0 percent in 2013.

“As we get older, it takes longer for our bodies to metabolize alcohol and drugs,” said D. John Dyben, the director of older adult treatment services for the Hanley Center in West Palm Beach, Fla. “Someone might say, ‘I could have two or three glasses of wine and I was fine, and now that I’m in my late 60s, it’s becoming a problem.’ That’s because the body can’t handle it.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyAlcoholismDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 7, 2014 at 2:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Consider also the reasons given by Francis and Anne which are partly personal fears and partly about a false altruism. Not wanting to ‘watch the slow decline of a partner’; fear of going to a nursing home; ‘too many people on this earth’- making more pension money available for others; not wanting to ‘dig into our savings’ and not being able to do the things they could at an earlier age. Add this to John Paul’s clear point that he didn’t want to look after them, and it’s almost a ‘perfect storm’ of lack of imagination, lack of a willingness to care and to look towards other alternatives.

There is also an insidious cultural side to this affair evident in the reporting at Moustique. There is no alternate voice here; no suggestion that promoting this story might have a deleterious effect upon others. No help lines promoted, no questioning in any constructive way. The social question, as always, is about the cart and the horse – is the media effectively pushing the issue or is it, as it may claim, simply reflecting the vox populi?

This is not a ‘celebration of choice’; far from it. It is a rationalization devoid of humanity and created, in the first instance by the legal possibility of euthanasia. It is then abetted by whatever it is in that family and that society that confirmed and supported the kind of dysfunction that allowed the children to confirm and assist instead of saying a clear, No, and offering every alternate support, no matter what the cost.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyMediaPsychologySuicideReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeBelgium* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsSecularism* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 26, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After I published a story about my grandmother’s dilemma on July 24 last year, I received hundreds of emails and letters from readers worldwide. Some wrote about struggles they’d experienced with their relatives. Others were anxious about their parent-care challenges ahead.

“I have never cried when reading a Bloomberg story,” wrote one reader. “I am going to make sure to talk with my grandmother about what she wants when she reaches that point.”

The story was also read by medical professionals. Kojiro Tokutake, a Japanese gastroenterologist, shared his story about his own internal conflict about the value of tube feeding. His experiences formed the basis of another story that I published.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAsiaJapan* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 16, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Britain may be the first country to appoint an “older workers’ champion.” Last month, pensions expert Ros Altmann was given the task to challenge outdated perceptions of the elderly and rewrite the rules on early retirement.

Her key message to employers and even workers themselves: A person’s talents and experience don’t stop at age 65.

Dr. Altmann’s appointment reflects two trends in wealthier nations. More people are retiring later. And many governments are reversing policies that encourage early retirement.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicinePsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted August 10, 2014 at 2:38 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rt. Rev. James Newcome, who speaks for the Church of England on health, has called for Lord Falconer to withdraw the Bill in favour of a Royal Commission on the subject.

The Bishop of Carlisle said: “It has brought the issues to the forefront of public discussion and highlighted what an important issue this is. Certainly, our hope as the Church of England is that the Falconer Bill will be withdrawn and that, because this is such an important issue, it could be discussed at length by a Royal Commission.”

A Royal Commission would allow the arguments to be “carefully assessed” and for expert opinion to be taken.

He added that the Church of England is in favour of the law on assisted suicide to remain unaltered as it provides a “good balance” between compassion and protection of the vulnerable.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 24, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

t's not exactly "The Golden Girls," but for Marcia Rosenfeld, it'll do.

Rosenfeld is among thousands of aging Americans taking part in home-sharing programs around the country that allow seniors to stay in their homes and save money while getting some much-needed companionship.

"It's a wonderful arrangement," said the white-haired Rosenfeld, who when asked her age will only say she's a senior citizen. "The way the rents are these days, I couldn't stay here without it."

She shares her two-bedroom, $1,000-a-month Brooklyn apartment with Carolyn Allen, a 69-year-old widow who has suffered two strokes and no longer wants to live alone.

Agencies that put such seniors together say the need appears to be growing as baby boomers age and struggle to deal with foreclosures, property taxes and rising rents. The typical situation involves an elderly woman, widowed or divorced, who has a house or an apartment with extra room and needs help with the upkeep.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the Elderly* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingHousing/Real Estate MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 23, 2014 at 3:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The arguments against assisted suicide are strongly held. Many people object on moral or religious grounds, while some doctors say that it conflicts with their oath to “do no harm”. Opponents add that vulnerable people may feel pressure to spare their carers the burden—or, worse, may be bullied into choosing suicide. And there is a broader argument that allowing assisted suicide in some cases will create a slippery slope, with ever more people being allowed (or forced) to take their own lives, even for trivial reasons.

But the arguments in favour are more compelling. In a pluralistic society, the views of one religion should not be imposed on everybody. Those with a genuine moral objection to assisted suicide need not participate. What a doctor sees as harm a patient may see as relief; and anyway it is no longer standard for medical students to take the Hippocratic oath. The hardest argument concerns vulnerable people: they may indeed feel pressure, but that is simply a reason to set up a robust system of counselling and psychiatric assessment, requiring the agreement of several doctors that a patient is in their right mind and proceeding voluntarily.

It is also true that as some countries relax their restrictions on assisted suicide, the practice will become more common and there will probably be pressure for other restrictions to be removed. But there is nothing unusual in this. Moral absolutes are rare. When faced with dilemmas societies draw boundaries and carve out exceptions.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsPsychology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.England / UKEurope* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 21, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Up until yesterday for someone who has little love for what I consider to be a deeply flawed bill, it’s been pretty depressing following the coverage. The pro-assisted dying lobby are a slick and well oiled machine and it’s most vociferous cheerleaders have been out in force to bang the battered right-to-die drum. In contrast the voices of opposition, at least in the secular mainstream media, have been few and far between. Having spent some time attempting to record as many articles as possible from the papers and the BBC over he last week that have either had an opinion piece or an item on an individual or group with a partisan view, the results have been stark. There have been 34 pieces with strongly held views in favour of assisted dying and only 8 against. In the last day and a bit at least there has been a noticeable increase in the voices opposing the bill. This is partly because the BBC has produced various interviews, being very careful to finally balance their coverage and also because the Guardian somewhat surprisingly came out strongly against the bill and also published a powerful piece by the Bishop of Worcester whose wife died of cancer in April. Andrew Lloyd Webber has also revealed that he contacted Dignitas whilst struggling with depression last year seeking to end his life, but now believes that taking such action would have been “stupid and ridiculous”.

It’s not that those in favour have more to talk about, it’s more that the same things have been said more frequently. Predictably, so much of this talk has been emotive and far less has been focused on the mechanics of what assisted dying would look like in practice. ComRes have published a poll today that finds that although 73 per cent of the public back assisted dying in principle, this dwindles to 43% when they are presented with (mostly empirical) arguments against it. Doctors who need to be listened to and considered more than any other group still overwhelmingly oppose assisted dying, but you probably wouldn’t know it from the coverage in the last few weeks.

Having trawled the internet it has become apparent that much of what has been driving the media coverage has been the religious aspect.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMediaReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted July 20, 2014 at 5:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Many, including former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, argue that it would have been the “compassionate” and “caring” thing to do. How difficult it would have been for Denise to argue with me if she was made to feel that she was a “burden” to myself and others. Had assisted dying been legal, I daresay the medics might have agreed with me, and the pressure on her, though subtle, would have been unbearable.

That is one of the many reasons I believe Lord Carey’s arguments to be so profoundly misguided and dangerous. He quotes a dying woman parishioner of his who whispered in his ear before she died that, “It is quality of life that counts, not length of days”. Well, maybe – but who is to decide, when, and on what grounds?

Denise’s quality of life at the time of her prognosis and following it was poor by any standards. However, against the odds the chemo did have an effect and the tumour shrank for a while. Had assisted dying been legal, we might never have had the opportunity to enjoy the precious months together that we were given as the more debilitating effects of the treatment wore off. The despair of the moment would have determined our actions. What a tragedy that would have been.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPsychology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 18, 2014 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

11.20 Lord Tebbit, whose wife was left disabled by the IRA’s bombing of the Brighton hotel, speaks against the Bill.

“No-one could dispute the good intentions of this bill, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

“I notice Baroness Greengrass talked of the right we have to take our own lives. We do not have that right. We have only the capacity to do it.”

It creates financial inventives to end the lives of the "ill, disabled, frail and elderly".

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 18, 2014 at 6:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Care Minister Norman Lamb has said he has "changed his mind" and would now support a new law on assisted dying.

The Liberal Democrat told BBC Newsnight an individual should be able to "make their own decision about their life".

But a cancer specialist told the programme it could create "death squads" by putting the decision in the hands of doctors.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 17, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The $2.8 trillion Social Security Trust Fund is on track to be totally spent by 2030, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday.

That's one year earlier than projected in 2013 and a decade earlier than the CBO estimated as recently as 2011.

The CBO delivered the warning in a gloomy long-term budget outlook that shows federal debt reaching 106% of GDP in 25 years, up from 74% now.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the Elderly* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetSocial SecurityThe National Deficit* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 15, 2014 at 3:24 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I yield to no one in my respect for Lord Carey and for the good things he has said and done, but I am simply amazed at his arguments (or lack of them) in support of Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill for the terminally ill. Lord Carey says that he has changed his mind after encountering the cases of Tony Nicklinson and Paul Lamb, who had severe paralysis but were not terminally ill. In what way do these cases support a Bill specifically for those with a life expectancy of six months or less?

The majority of those who are terminally ill want what Dr Peter Saunders, of the Christian Medical Fellowship, calls “assisted living” rather than “assisted dying”. This is what the Christian-inspired hospice movement seeks to do, enabling those nearing the end of their lives to prepare for a peaceful and good death. The fact that good hospice care is based on a postcode lottery is what should shame us, rather than not having our own answer to Dignitas in Switzerland.

Instead of concocting expensive ways of getting rid of those at their most vulnerable, I strongly believe we should be making sure that good hospice care is evenly available across the length and breadth of the country.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted July 15, 2014 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One in three cases of Alzheimer's disease worldwide is preventable, according to research from the University of Cambridge.

The main risk factors for the disease are a lack of exercise, smoking, depression and poor education, it says.

Previous research from 2011 put the estimate at one in two cases, but this new study takes into account overlapping risk factors.

Alzheimer's Research UK said age was still the biggest risk factor.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicinePsychologyScience & Technology* TheologyAnthropology

0 Comments
Posted July 15, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As the social apparatuses and laws of post-Christian cultures continue to develop in ways opposed to Christianity, Christian churches faithful to the hope of the Christian message will have to create alternative structures of care for those who are dying. Rather than relying on for-profit hospices and state-funded apparatuses that participate in the utilitarian logic of assisted death, they will once again have to create hospices engaged in the Christian tradition of hospitality.

The narrative of Resurrection is opposed to the logic of assisted death. The hope of the Resurrection is not one of fanciful longing for reversal of physical death. Rather, the Christian narrative is one that claims that even the least of these can find hope, meaning and a life worth living in death's darkest hour, and that death does not have the final word in the hard work of dying.

The work animated by the Christian message is what created health care in the West, and it is what should animate Christian care of the dying against the logic of assisted death in the regnant social structures of modern health care.

Read it all.

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0 Comments
Posted July 15, 2014 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“I am against Lord Falconer’s Bill because actually, it has got lots of holes in it and it is not really fit for purpose,” argued Dame Grey-Thompson, describing the Bill as “too vague”.

Speaking on internet station Fubar Radio, she added: “I am worried that there will be people, vulnerable people, who will think they have got no choice, who will be encouraged to choose assisted suicide when it is not really their choice.

“What we have to make laws for is to protect the vast majority of people in society and there are vulnerable people who just would not be protected and that is the biggest worry.”

Read it all.

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0 Comments
Posted July 14, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This takes me to the question of what does it mean to be alive. What constitutes quality of life and dignity when dying? These are big, important questions. I have come to realise that I do not want my life to be prolonged artificially. I think when you need machines to help you breathe, then you have to ask questions about the quality of life being experienced and about the way money is being spent. This may be hard for some people to consider.

But why is a life that is ending being prolonged? Why is money being spent in this way? It could be better spent on a mother giving birth to a baby, or an organ transplant needed by a young person. Money should be spent on those that are at the beginning or in full flow of their life. Of course, these are my personal opinions and not of my church.

What was done to Madiba (Nelson Mandela) was disgraceful. There was that occasion when Madiba was televised with political leaders, President Jacob Zuma and Cyril Ramaphosa. You could see Madiba was not fully there. He did not speak. He was not connecting. My friend was no longer himself. It was an affront to Madiba's dignity.

Read it all.

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2 Comments
Posted July 14, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England (CofE) has called for an inquiry into assisted dying.

It follows a U-turn by former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey, who said he would back legislation to allow the terminally ill in England and Wales get help to end their lives.

The current Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby says the Assisted Dying Bill is "mistaken and dangerous".

But the Church said an inquiry would include expert opinion and carefully assess the arguments.

Read it all.

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0 Comments
Posted July 13, 2014 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dorothy’s words — ‘It is quality of life that counts, not number of days’ — ring in my ears.

The current law fails to address the fundamental question of why we should force terminally ill patients to go on in unbearable pain and with little quality of life.

It is the magnitude of their suffering that has been preying on my mind as the discussion over the right to die has intensified.

The fact is that I have changed my mind. The old philosophical certainties have collapsed in the face of the reality of needless suffering.

It was the case of Tony Nicklinson that exerted the deepest influence on me. Here was a dignified man making a simple appeal for mercy, begging that the law allow him to die in peace, supported by his family.

Read it all from the Daily Mail.

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4 Comments
Posted July 12, 2014 at 7:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The compassion argument, as presented by proponents of the bill, runs something like this:

1 It is always right to act in a compassionate way;
2 Some terminally ill people face unbearable suffering and wish to have help in ending this suffering by bringing their lives to an end;
3 It is compassionate to provide
this help;
4 The law ought to be changed to allow this to happen.

Even if we leave to one side major difficulties in determining what legally constitutes “unbearable suffering” and “terminal illness”, the above argument is deeply flawed. Were it to be presented by a candidate in a GSCE religious education exam, I should expect an examiner to take a dim view of it.

The matter is, however, of more than academic interest; it is, in truth, a matter of life and death.

Read it all.

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0 Comments
Posted July 12, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I don’t need to remind you of the widespread concern about the ill-treatment of the aged and those at the end of life in some of our care homes and hospitals - and this in spite of the many dedicated people working in these fields of care. It seems all the more incomprehensible, then, that we would be considering a change in the law to diminish the protection given to those most vulnerable.

Next month a Bill to legalize “assisted suicide” for those at the end of life will begin its passage through Parliament. This legislation will be presented as a “compassionate” measure, whose sole aim is to relieve the suffering of the sick and the aged. Yet, it is far from compassionate to remove the legal protections provided for some of the most vulnerable members of society. The proposed change to our laws will license doctors to supply lethal drugs to assist the deaths of those expected to live for six months or less. If Parliament allows exceptions to the laws which protect the very sanctity of human life, it would be impossible to predict where this will end. In 1967, the politicians who legalised the killing of unborn children in limited and exceptional circumstances did not foresee how violating the sanctity of human life would lead to the wanton destruction of millions of lives. It is not surprising that many vulnerable people, including those with disabilities, are today worried by Lord Falconer’s “assisted dying” Bill. It might sound reasonable to speak of “choicesat the end of life” - as the campaigners for euthanasia do - but what choice will be left for many?

Read it carefully and read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 7, 2014 at 6:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Of course choice is good. I aspire to more of it and so do people who have enjoyed much less of it than I have. Offer me more choice, at least in theory, and I'll say Yes. I'll answer your loaded opinion poll and tell you I am in favour of this choice and that choice because who, in this culture, can be against more choice without being a heretic? But talk about choice on that day in the future when I am wholly dependent on the people around me, when my life is almost over and I have far more chance of pleasing others by getting out of their way quietly than of making much difference to my own situation, and my choice won't be about me, it will be about them. And those last days of life, surely, are precisely the moment when choices ought to be about the one approaching the end - and no one else.

How many Parliamentarians who will shortly debate the Falconer Bill on assisted suicide are people with wide enough life experience to empathise with those who see more choice as a threat and not a blessing? How many subscribers to the BMJ put themselves, day by day, into the shoes of people for whom consumer choice is someone else's luxury, even if their editor chooses to use his journalistic position to make a ruling on behalf of ethicists everywhere?

Some of them, to be sure - maybe many of them. Will they encourage the rest to dig deep into their imaginations, to empathise with people who are not articulate, who are used to being done unto, and who have lived on the receiving end of other's choices all their lives?

They are in Parliament to govern on behalf of all citizens. The weak. The poor. The vulnerable. The dying. The ones who don't want to be a nuisance. The ones who do not regard choice as an unalloyed good, as well as the people who are used to choosing. And the medical profession too - despite the sweeping assertions of the BMJ about the nature of ethics, are also in business for those people.

Will the Parliamentarians and the medics empathise beyond their own kind? I hope so. I do hope so.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPhilosophyPsychologyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 7, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If you are considered a burden by others, you sense it. Like Dr Ashton’s youngish men disheartened not to be the breadwinners, sick old people may well be overwhelmed by a sense of rejection, made worse by physical pain. The supporters of Lord Falconer’s Bill make much of the fact that those handed out the “only six months to live” sentence proposed by the Bill will take the fatal drugs it provides themselves, and by their own choice. But what in the culture will guide that choice? What is the effect on the patient’s free will when a profession whose entire previous raison d’être has been to assist life now stands ready to give you the tools of death?

Once it becomes legal that such a thing could happen, how long before it becomes expected? Most old people in hospital try to conform to what they think the system wants. If it wants them dead, and gives them the power to die, their grim path of duty lies clear. Some will have families who do not care enough whether they live; others will have no families at all. To all of these, Lord Falconer’s “choice” could become as proverbial as Hobson’s.

It does not have to be this way. Think of the revolution in attitudes to the disabled and mentally handicapped that has taken place in the past 40 years.

Read it all.

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2 Comments
Posted July 5, 2014 at 1:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One French court acquitted a doctor of poisoning seven terminally ill patients while another ordered physicians to suspend treatment for a comatose man, while Britain's top court said the country's ban on assisted suicide may be incompatible with human rights.

The decisions of the past week are fueling the arguments of Europeans who say the duty of doctors is to end the suffering of those beyond treatment.

But emotions run high on all sides around the issue of euthanasia and assisted suicide, as is shown by the bitter case of the comatose Frenchman, Vincent Lambert. Hours after the French court sided with his wife in ordering an end to treatment, the European Court of Human Rights blocked the move at the request of his parents, in a rare late-night ruling.

Read it all.

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0 Comments
Posted June 29, 2014 at 12:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

French law now contains guidelines for palliative care, discontinuing life support and other matters. Yet the debate surrounding Mr Lambert’s case differs little from the debate over Humbert.

In urging patience, the European Court acted responsibly. Few of the desperately ill are truly incommunicado or lack any kind of “living will” or directive. And drawing up rules for securing the “dignity” of patients is a dangerous business in the best of cases. Death by natural causes, as we have always understood it, involves many things we consider undignified.

Assertions that the patient “wouldn’t have wanted to suffer” can offer too much leeway to doctors and relatives. The danger is that we will turn the “end of life” into an excuse for making exceptions to our medical and moral common sense.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKEuropeFrance* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 28, 2014 at 10:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As lawmakers continue the call for answers into the troubled Veterans Affairs health care system, including South Carolina's Sen. Tim Scott, the White House released findings Friday describing "significant and chronic system failures," substantially verifying problems raised by whistleblowers and internal and congressional investigators.

A summary of the review, ordered by President Barack Obama and conducted by deputy White House chief of staff Rob Nabors, says the Veterans Health Administration must be restructured and that a "corrosive culture" has hurt morale and affected the timeliness of health care. The review also found that a 14-day standard for scheduling veterans' medical appointments is unrealistic and has been susceptible to manipulation.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in General* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 28, 2014 at 9:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For Jerry Conkle, life in America’s fastest-growing metropolitan area moves as slowly as the golf carts that meander through his palm-lined neighborhood at dusk. Most days, he wakes early, reads the newspaper, and then hops into his four-wheeled buggy for a 20-mile-per-hour ride to one of the 42 golf courses that surround his home.

“It’s like an adult Disney World,” Conkle, 77, said of The Villages, Florida, whose expansion has come with virtually no crime, traffic, pollution -- or children.

The mix has attracted flocks of senior citizens, making The Villages the world’s largest retirement community. Its population of 110,000 has more than quadrupled since 2000, U.S. Census Bureau data show. It rose 5.2 percent last year, on par with megacities like Lagos, Nigeria, and Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketPolitics in GeneralCity Government* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

4 Comments
Posted June 27, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Revd Dr Brendan McCarthy, National Adviser: Medical Ethics and Health and Social Care Policy for the Archbishops' Council, said...."We remain convinced that the current law and the DPP guidelines for its application provide a compassionate framework within which difficult cases can be assessed while continuing to ensure that many vulnerable individuals are given much needed protection from coercion or abuse...."

Read it all.




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0 Comments
Posted June 26, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The American people -- most of us, anyway -- did "choose" to provide first-class medical care for our veterans. But we didn't do it. We set up the Veterans Administration to do it. And the Veterans Administration -- or, more accurately, some of the people who work for and run the Veterans Administration -- had a stronger interest in other things. Things like fat bonuses, and low workloads in comfy offices.

Thus we find that, even though veterans were dying, and books were being cooked, every single VA senior executive received an evaluation of "fully successful" or better over a 4-year period. That's right. Every single one. Over four years. At least 65% of them received bonuses ("performance awards"). All while veterans around the country were suffering and dying because of delayed care. The executives got these bonuses, in part, because they cooked the books, because the bonuses were more important to them than the veterans' care.

It would be nice to believe that this sort of problem is limited to the VA, but there's no particular reason to think that it is. The problem with the VA is that, like every other government agency -- and every other human institution -- it's not a machine that runs itself. It's a collection of people. And people tend to act in their own self interest.

Read it all(emphasis is his).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyThe U.S. Government* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 24, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A leading woman priest in the Church of England has spoken out in favour changing the law to allow assisted dying.

Canon Rosie Harper, vicar of Great Missenden and chaplain to the Bishop of Buckingham, said she supports Lord Falconer's Assisted Dying Bill which receives its second reading in the House of Lords on July 18.

Her position directly contradicts that of the Church of England, which has argued consistently for no change in the law.

Read it all from Christian Today.

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3 Comments
Posted June 12, 2014 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Watch it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlySports* General InterestHumor / Trivia

0 Comments
Posted June 11, 2014 at 11:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Patients who document their end-of-life wishes using a special medical form get the specific care they want in their final days, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

The study by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University looked at the growing use of the voluntary form, called Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, or Polst. The document lets patients request or refuse certain medical treatments such as CPR or intensive care. The study is the largest on the topic so far and the first to look at preferences stated in the form and where people actually die.

Polst programs have been adopted or are in development in 43 states. Proponents say that in addition to giving patients a voice in the face of advanced illness, they can help trim the nation's bill for costly interventions that don't extend life for patients who don't want them. However, the programs remain controversial with some groups in the often-fraught national debate about end-of-life care.

Read it all.

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0 Comments
Posted June 9, 2014 at 11:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Latin America is a very, very particular church", he says. As he sees it, the Catholic Church - particularly under Pope Francis - must try to work more closely with the local community.

In keeping with that sentiment, he has already overseen some impressive infrastructural projects during his 40 years in the town.

"First we started with the elderly. We used to gather the elderly people who die on the street during the night because of the cold and we built them a home," he recalls.

"Then we built an orphanage for the street kids."

The list goes on: a nutritional centre, a kindergarten, a bakery, a healthcare centre for local AIDS patients and even a prison to tackle chronic overcrowding in the penal system.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyPovertyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryLatin America & Caribbean* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

0 Comments
Posted June 7, 2014 at 4:12 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With five months to go until the Affordable Care Act’s 2015 open enrollment season, states that had troubled exchanges during the inaugural sign-up period are scrambling to either upgrade their sites or transition to the federal exchange—all on the taxpayer’s dime.

A new analysis from the Wall Street Journal finds that the cost for Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada and Oregon to overhaul their exchanges or transition to healthcare.gov will be as high as $240 million in total.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinanceThe U.S. GovernmentPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentSenateState Government* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted June 4, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I know that if she could, my mother would grab that pail and toss it out the window. She would forgive me; in fact, I believe she has forgiven me. But in a way, that makes it harder. Knowing of her unfailing love and grace makes me feel worse about my own failure. Of course, I am envisioning her at her very best, now in heaven knowing as she is known and seeing me with the eyes of God, and I am remembering myself at one of my lowest moments. What about God’s forgiveness? God is always in a best moment and ever aware of our worst. Does that divine forgiveness erase our regret or increase it?

Jesus’ first word to the disciples on the other side of the locked doors is peace. I imagine myself in that room, staring at his wounds and accepting the resurrection miracle. I imagine embracing the improbable, exciting mission commended to me in the words that follow. But peace? Peace is another story.

After Jesus called Peter to feed his sheep, did Peter ever think back on that day around the charcoal fire when he denied the one he dearly loved? Did Peter remember when Jesus yelled at him and called him a terrible name? When Peter stood to preach on Pente­cost and 3,000 were baptized in one day, did he go home and lie awake wishing he could take back his actions on another day? According to the psalm, our transgressions are removed “as far as the east is from the west.” If we accept that as true, then it seems that regret should not linger. But in my experience, forgiveness has not erased regret. Not yet anyway.

These post-Easter days, I am thinking that if my mind and heart are not yet in sync with what should be—with sin removed to a distance beyond my reach—perhaps mere inches matter.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterParish MinistryPastoral Care* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & Medicine* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySoteriologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

0 Comments
Posted May 19, 2014 at 7:39 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Previous studies suggest that many people will use the new coverage to obtain medical care for conditions that went untreated while they were uninsured.

The new health law reduces special payments to hospitals serving large numbers of low-income patients, on the assumption that many of the uninsured will gain coverage through Medicaid.

But hospital executives are unsure that the savings will materialize. Dr. Campbell said the cuts could create serious financial problems for hospitals treating large numbers of Medicaid patients.

Recent research in other states has raised similar questions.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebateLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeThe U.S. GovernmentMedicaidThe National DeficitPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted May 18, 2014 at 11:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The time has come. On Sunday, May 4, I announced my retirement plans. In case you were not present at worship, this letter will provide the details. My last day to serve as Rector of St. Paul’s Summerville will be Friday, November 14, 2014. That date will mark my 19th anniversary among you and in the meantime provide a window to enjoy our remaining months among you.

I will always treasure these years…always. In vestry meetings for many years, I made this observation: ‘St. Paul’s needs a long-term pastorate! It doesn’t have to be me, but it needs to be someone. I am willing to be that person, but it may not work out that way.’ I would offer that thought in light of the fact that since the retirement of Dr. Ambler in 1940 (He served as St. Paul’s Rector for 32 years.), the average tenure of a Rector has been 4 ½ years. That is not healthy for a parish since you never have time to establish traction and momentum under sustained leadership. It is not unlike the long coaching tenures which often complement the strongest programs in athletics, think Coach K at Duke or Dean Smith at Chapel Hill, etc.

So, it turned out to be me after all—a long-tenured priest for St. Paul’s. I step down grateful and excited for all we have done together. It has been so rich and fruitful! May the Lord and you continue to build on the foundation that has been laid. Don’t you just know, He will! And may St. Paul’s next Rector be enabled and empowered as well for a long pastorate.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchAging / the Elderly* South Carolina* TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted May 10, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the Elderly* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted May 5, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The world is on the cusp of a staggering rise in the number of old people, and they will live longer than ever before. Over the next 20 years the global population of those aged 65 or more will almost double, from 600m to 1.1 billion. The experience of the 20th century, when greater longevity translated into more years in retirement rather than more years at work, has persuaded many observers that this shift will lead to slower economic growth and “secular stagnation”, while the swelling ranks of pensioners will bust government budgets.

But the notion of a sharp division between the working young and the idle old misses a new trend, the growing gap between the skilled and the unskilled. Employment rates are falling among younger unskilled people, whereas older skilled folk are working longer. The divide is most extreme in America, where well-educated baby-boomers are putting off retirement while many less-skilled younger people have dropped out of the workforce.

Policy is partly responsible. Many European governments have abandoned policies that used to encourage people to retire early. Rising life expectancy, combined with the replacement of generous defined-benefit pension plans with stingier defined-contribution ones, means that even the better-off must work longer to have a comfortable retirement. But the changing nature of work also plays a big role.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 27, 2014 at 3:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We start with this reality: Social Security and Medicare are practically sacrosanct. Nearly nine-in-ten Americans say they're good for the country. That's an amazing number. But the popularity of these programs really isn't all that surprising. People love them because they do what they were created to do. They ease many of the frets and dreads of old age – a blessing not just for seniors but for everyone who loves, supports and depends on seniors. Which is to say, everyone.

But the status quo is unsustainable. Some 10,000 Baby Boomers will be going on Social Security and Medicare every single day between now and 2030. By the time everyone in this big pig-in-the-python generation is drawing benefits, we’ll have just two workers per beneficiary – down from three-to-one now, five-to-one in 1960 and more than forty-to-one in 1945, shortly after Social Security first started supporting beneficiaries.

The math of the 20th century simply won’t work in the 21st. Today's young are paying taxes to support a level of benefits for today's old that they have no realistic chance of receiving when they become old. And they know it – just 6% of Millennials say they expect to receive full benefits from Social Security when they retire. Fully half believe they’ll get nothing.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetMedicaidMedicareSocial SecurityThe National DeficitPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenate* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 22, 2014 at 11:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Check it out (with thanks to BrianHains1) and you can find liveblogged coverage there.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlySports* South Carolina

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Posted April 5, 2014 at 8:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Before he graduates from Bowdoin College this year, Alex Doering wants to leave the greater Brunswick area better educated about a topic that is sometimes considered taboo for American families: end-of-life care.

That's why Doering, with the help of others, is organizing a two-day symposium on the topic at Bowdoin this Friday and Saturday. The free, public event will include sessions with professors, doctors and local health workers that will explore death and dying through different lenses.

The symposium will also include a performance by actress Megan Cole, best known for her work in the popular TV series "ER," in a piece called the "Wisdom of Wit," a "dramatized lecture" of a Pulitzer Prize-winning play called "Wit," that explores life "through the eyes of a 50-year-old professor of English Literature who has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer," according to Cole's website.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLife EthicsYoung Adults* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 27, 2014 at 8:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“The demand for rehabilitation robots is very high as societies around the world are aging,” said Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi Investment Management Co. in Tokyo, who says he is considering buying Cyberdyne shares.

A 54-year-old paraplegic, strapped into a white exoskeleton made by Cyberdyne, recently walked slowly forward -- covering about a foot -- during rehab at Fukuoka University Hospital before collapsing on his physiotherapist. The suit he used has been approved for use as a medical device in Europe, and Cyberdyne said it may seek clearance this month to sell the product in the U.S.

Widespread use of the Cyberdyne device is some distance away. It is presently used in 170 hospitals and nursing homes across Japan, and it costs about 1.8 million yen ($17,700) annually to lease each suit. While founder Yoshiyuki Sankai’s ambition is to make the robots cheap enough for home use, he doesn’t have a specific time frame. For now, a Cyberdyne rehab center south of Tokyo makes them available to individuals at 10,000 yen ($98) per 60-minute training session.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineScience & Technology

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Posted March 19, 2014 at 11:24 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Aging baby boomers want to stay in their own homes as long as possible and a way to do that, the so-called village concept, is catching on in South Carolina.

Experts say it's less expensive for baby boomers as they age to live at home than in nursing homes, and people who remain in their homes are often happier and live longer. Some 8,000 baby boomers reach retirement age each day in the U.S.

"The baby boomers do not intend to go into nursing homes," said Janet Schumacher, the coordinator of the Office on Aging in Charleston. "They are looking to each other to provide support."

Virtual villages are associations set up to provide help to members with everything from transportation and home repairs to social and cultural connections. The first was started on Beacon Hill in Boston 13 years ago.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicinePsychologyRural/Town LifeUrban/City Life and Issues* South Carolina

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Posted March 17, 2014 at 5:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the Netherlands people with early dementia are already being visited by mobile euthanasia units. In Belgium the law allows euthanasia only when, technically, “the patient is in a medically futile condition of constant unbearable suffering”. Wesley J. Smith, of the US-based Centre for Bioethics and Culture, has listed examples of ways in which the law has been interpreted much more expansively.
It has, for example, permitted the euthanasia of a transsexual left distraught by the results of a botched sex change operation and elderly couples who prefer joint and early death to living alone. Belgian doctors encourage each other to look out for suicidal patients whose organs can be harvested. In one PowerPoint presentation it was noted that patients with neuro-muscular diseases were good potential donors because, unlike cancer sufferers, they have “high-quality organs”.
And don’t think that Britain will be any different. We can’t regulate the banks or the police properly and assisted dying laws would soon become lethal tools in the hands of activist judges, greedy relatives and financially stretched health services. Look at our abortion laws. Introduced to end the horror of back-street terminations, they’re now used to end late-term pregnancies because of a cleft lip or a club foot.

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsPsychology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted March 13, 2014 at 7:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In his new book, The Next America, Pew Research executive vice president of special projects Paul Taylor identifies two key trends that are already reshaping the United States and will continue doing so for decades to come. The first: far greater racial and ethnic diversity, driven largely by immigration. In 1960, the U.S. population was 85% white, 10% black and 4% Hispanic. By 2060 whites will be a minority (43%), while 31% of the population will be Hispanic, 13% black, 8% Asian and 6% other races or ethnicities. As Taylor puts it, “We were once a black and white country; now we’re a rainbow.”

But there’s also going to be a lot more gray in that rainbow. Not only are some 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 every day (and will continue doing so till 203o), but Americans are living longer and having fewer children than ever. Result: The nation’s “age pyramid” is turning into more of a rectangle. That poses challenges for, among other things, Social Security. In 1960, near the peak of the Baby Boom, there were 5.1 workers for every Social Security-eligible retiree. By the time the last Boomer retires, that ratio will be down to 2 workers per retiree.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSociology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted March 8, 2014 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Just why is American politics so dysfunctional? One answer is that both parties, for different reasons, have created self-serving mythologies that reward them for not dealing with pressing problems that, though daunting, are hardly sudden or secret. For proof, see Paul Taylor’s new book, “The Next America.” Taylor oversees many of the Pew Research Center’s opinion surveys. His masterful synthesis of polls shows that three familiar mega-trends lie at the core of America’s political and social stalemate.

First, immigration....

Second, family breakdown. In 2011, unmarried women accounted for 41 percent of U.S. births, up from 5 percent in 1960....

Finally, aging. Every day 10,000 baby boomers turn 65. The retiree flood is swamping the federal budget. By 2022, Social Security, Medicare and the non-child share of Medicaid will exceed half the budget, up from 30 percent in 1990, projects an Urban Institute study. To make room for the elderly, defense and many domestic programs are being relentlessly squeezed.

There’s no generational justice, argues Taylor: “The young today are paying taxes to support a level of benefits for the old that they themselves have no prospect of receiving when they become old.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHistoryMarriage & Family* Economics, PoliticsImmigrationPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 4, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...more people every year, locally and across the nation, continue laboring for a paycheck past the time when they could be collecting Social Security.

The average age of retirement in America, which had been on the decline during much of the 20th century, has been rising for the past two decades for a combination of reasons. A recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report found that about 27 percent of people ages 65 to 74 were still in the workforce, compared with just 20 percent in 2002. It predicted nearly one in three people of that age would be part of the labor pool in 2022.

“People today are working later than they have been for quite some time … as long today as in the 1970s,” said Kevin Cahill, a research economist for the Sloan Center on Aging and Work at Boston College. “The incentives have shifted in favor of work.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyMiddle AgePsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 20, 2014 at 11:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dr [John] Haas says that because of the current demographic trend the world population is aging and it is not being quickly replaced: “I think it is a very apt topic – these are grave social problems in most Western countries with an aging population, all kinds of ethical questions arise with regard to their treatment – end of life decisions have to be made”. “It can be “a very difficult time of life but it can also be a very beautiful time of life depending on how we go in to it” he said.

Commenting on the emphasis Pope Francis puts on the importance and value of the elderly, Dr. Haas says Francis has a profound impact on the way people think by virtue of his personality which leads them to “sit up and pay more attention”. He also says that Francis’ emerging “theology of compassion and of accompaniment” is fundamental in the way society treats its elderly. “I think that this call will really resonate with the faithful” he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLife EthicsReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 20, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For those in positions of leadership in over a dozen churches in..[Pictou County] it’s been a tough job knowing when to do what.

Declining membership, coupled with population decline, migration, rising heating costs and a decline in those practising Christianity, has caused churches of all stripes to re-examine themselves, their mission and their facilities.

Archdeacon Peter Armstrong of Christ Anglican Church in Stellarton believes this is part of a continuing cultural shift that began 40 years ago.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate Market* International News & CommentaryCanada

0 Comments
Posted February 12, 2014 at 7:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Many people ask me, several times a week... if I ever contemplate (assisted suicide). It makes one feel like I should be contemplating it for the sake of the health service, for my family watching what I'm going through. I'm afraid that it will extend into the social conscience that people will almost expect assisted dying.... a (new) law will pressurise people."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife Ethics* International News & CommentaryEuropeBelgiumThe Netherlands* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 25, 2014 at 11:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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