Posted by Kendall Harmon

If there is one certainty, it is that there will be lawsuits. Within days of Bill C-14 being adopted, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association launched a constitutional challenge, saying the “reasonably foreseeable” clause is discriminatory. A group of Christian doctors has challenged the requirement in Ontario that physicians who have a “conscientious objection” to providing assisted death themselves must, minimally, refer patients to another physician who will. (Quebec resolved this debate by allowing objecting physicians to refer to a neutral third party, to a hospital administrator who will, in turn, find a physician who will carry out a patient’s final wishes.)

Almost all of Canada’s 110 Catholic hospitals have also indicated that they will refuse to provide assisted dying, something that will be particularly problematic in small centres with a single hospital.

Quebec law – like federal law – requires a patient to be terminally ill to be eligible for assisted death. It also requires two physicians to sign off on the request, though at the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM), a nurse can provide the second signature. This rule change came because doctors appeared to be rejecting many legitimate requests.

Read it all and if necessary another link is there.

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Posted July 14, 2016 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With a heavy heart, retired Anglican priest Mike Gardener is preparing to leave Iqaluit after a lifetime of work in the Arctic.

"It's not my choice to leave," says the 85-year-old.

After 61 years of life on Baffin Island and more than 41 years of work with the Anglican church in Kimmirut, Cape Dorset, Pangnirtung and Iqaluit, Gardener is moving to Ottawa next week.

His wife, Margaret, is moving into a special facility for Alzheimer's patients.

Read it all from the CBC.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryCanada

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Posted June 29, 2016 at 2:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a nod to changing times, the Anglican Church of Canada’s latest report on physician-assisted dying, rather than opposing the practice, recognizes it as a reality. The report offers reflections and resources around assisted dying and related issues, such as palliative care.
The Supreme Court of Canada struck down last year a ban on physician-assisted death for the “grievously and irremediably ill” as unconstitutional, notes the paper, entitled In Sure and Certain Hope: Resources to Assist Pastoral and Theological Approaches to Physician Assisted Dying, released Thursday, June 9.

In the wake of this decision, the paper states, “public debate concerning the legal ban on physician assisted dying is in some ways over.”

As a result, the authors continue, “our energy is best spent at this time ensuring that this practice is governed in ways that reflect insofar as possible a just expression of care for the dignity of every human being, whatever the circumstances.”

Read it all.

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Posted June 11, 2016 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Looking at married couples who were together less than 20 years and couples together for more than 50, Mejia and her colleagues have found striking similarities between partners who have spent decades together, especially in kidney function, total cholesterol levels and the strength of their grips, which is a key predictor of mortality. They presented their findings at the annual meeting of the Gerontological Society of America.

The data came from 1,568 older married couples across the United States. The couples were part of a larger dataset that included information on their income and wealth, employment, family connections and health, including information based on blood tests.

One obvious reason for partner similarity is that people often choose partners who are like them — people from the same stock, with similar backgrounds. But that didn't explain why there were more similarities between the long-time partners, compared to the others.

Read or listen to it all.

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Posted May 31, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Although Bill C-14 unavoidably damages the value of respect for life and puts vulnerable Canadians at risk, its goals include, as its preamble recognizes, maintaining respect for human life at both individual and societal levels and the protection of vulnerable people. Achieving those two goals demands another goal be explicit in the preamble: not allowing medically assisted suicide to become part of the norm for how we die.

So how can we, as far as possible in the current circumstances, achieve these three goals?

The conditions legislated for qualification for hastened death will be critical. They must be very limited and strictly controlled; they underline that it is an exceptional intervention, limited to adults competent at the time of death, terminally ill from a physical disease or disability, in unbearable suffering and giving their informed consent.

Read it all.


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Posted May 4, 2016 at 11:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I spend most of my time in the company of my cherished wife. I think there is truth in the old line that older marrieds tend to resemble each other as time goes by. I enjoy visits with friends as well, but I have a rule: None of us can speak more than three sentences about medical news. I am certain my problems have limited interest, and so, I fib a lot when I am asked how I am doing.

To me, old age seems to be the art of keeping going. Speed and direction are not important. Movement is. I swim but slowly. I barely walk. I write, but with acute knowledge that my values and opinions are outdated. I still think duty, honor and country should be the national mantra. I know better.

The very best thing about growing older is that I no longer try to change anyone’s mind. I can easily accept disagreement from friends and even critics. I also have long since surrendered any hope of impressing others, or of being impressed by them. In these final innings I want to stay at bat, even if I know I cannot expect to get a hit.

Read it all.

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Posted March 3, 2016 at 2:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Canada’s doctors are pleading with the federal government to put specific guidelines in its medically assisted dying law regarding patients who want to end their lives because of psychological suffering.

“There are still a lot of grey areas, and a lot of unknowns,” said Jeff Blackmer, vice-president of medical ethics at the Canadian Medical Association.

“Before we sort of open that Pandora’s box, we need to have a lot more clarity as to what would qualify, and exactly what the process would be.”

Read it all.

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Posted March 1, 2016 at 5:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A majority of people killed by euthanasia in the Netherlands for so-called psychiatric reasons had complained of loneliness, a new study has found.

Researchers in the U.S. found that loneliness, or “social isolation”, was a key motivation behind the euthanasia requests of 37 of 66 cases reviewed, a figure representing 56 per cent of the total.

The study by the National Institute of Health also revealed that the Netherlands was operating a de facto policy of euthanasia on demand, with patients “shopping” for doctors willing to give them a lethal injection for the most trivial of reasons.

Read it all.

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Posted February 19, 2016 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Dolores Westfall]...endures what is for many aging Americans an unforgiving economy. Nearly one-third of U.S. heads of households ages 55 and older have no pension or retirement savings and a median annual income of about $19,000.

A growing proportion of the nation’s elderly are like Westfall: too poor to retire and too young to die.

Many rely on Social Security and minimal pensions, in part because half of all workers have no employer-backed retirement plans. Eight in 10 Americans say they will work well into their 60s or skip retirement entirely.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the Elderly* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted February 7, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Irwin Weiner felt so good after heart surgery a few weeks before turning 90 that he stopped for a pastrami sandwich on the way home from the hospital. Dorothy Lipkin danced after getting a new hip at age 91. And at 94, William Gandin drives himself to the hospital for cancer treatments.

Jimmy Carter isn't the only nonagenarian to withstand rigorous medical treatment. Very old age is no longer an automatic barrier for aggressive therapies, from cancer care like the former president has received, to major heart procedures, joint replacements and even some organ transplants.

In many cases, the nation's most senior citizens are getting the same treatments given to people their grandchildren's age — but with different goals.

"Many elderly patients don't necessarily want a lot of years, what they want is quality of life," said Dr. Clifford Kavinsky, a heart specialist at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. "They want whatever time is left for them to be high quality. They don't want to be dependent on their family. They don't want to end up in a nursing home."

Read it all.

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Posted December 14, 2015 at 7:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Q:Your article on homesickness was very thought-provoking. Many of my peers and I relocated in our sixties. Although we volunteer, attend houses of worship, have friends and travel, many of us are still lonely for home and sometimes depressed because of it. Has anyone studied this?

— E.M.

A:People of all ages can feel homesick, and longing for the security and comfort of a past home can increase with age, according to a few studies that have included healthy elderly participants.

People often look for new sources of identity as their relationship with career and past colleagues fade. A 2004 study by Norwegian researchers found that elderly Danes and Pakistanis who had settled in Norway decades earlier identified more strongly with their native countries as they grew older, bringing a feeling of homesickness. Connecting to their cultural heritage by decorating their homes with related artwork or talking about their memories supported self-esteem and helped make up for age-related losses in other areas, researchers found.

Read it all.

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Posted November 6, 2015 at 3:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A French doctor convicted last week of having given an elderly patient a lethal injection was hospitalized in critical condition on Saturday after apparently trying to commit suicide, according to media reports said....

The drama came seven days after the doctor, described in court as a “militant supporter of euthanasia,” was convicted of deliberately causing the death of an 86-year-old woman who was in a coma after suffering a severe stroke. Bonnemaison gave her a fatal dose of sedative, the court was told.

He was given a two-year suspended sentence in the woman's death, while cleared of six other charges of euthanasia involving elderly patients with fatal diseases at the hospital in Bayonne where he worked in 2010 and 2011.

Read it all.

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Posted November 2, 2015 at 3:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[The] Reverend David West said it was the first lecture the church had banned and admitted the timing was “unfortunate”, saying he only became aware of the content of the talk on Monday....

“We use church property for all sorts of groups, but the content of any group can’t be offensive to the Anglican Church and assisted dying is something the Anglican and mainstream Christian churches object to.”

Read it all.

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The grim reaper is feeling bullish.

Following success in California — the fifth state where doctors are now free to prescribe lethal doses of medication to terminally-ill or dying patients — so-called “right-to-die” activists have turned their eyes to Maryland, New York and beyond.

“I think that this is a national wave,” Maryland Del. Shane E. Pendergrass, D-Howard, told The Washington Post. Pendergrass plans to sponsor “right-to-die” legislation in January.

It’s a wave with the potential to sweep some of society’s most vulnerable — the elderly, the terminally ill and disabled — prematurely into the hereafter.

Read it all.

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Posted October 13, 2015 at 5:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Perhaps it's not surprising that the best arguments against assisted suicide — especially advanced by such liberal icons as E.J. Dionne and Victoria Kennedy — are progressive. Liberals are generally happy for government to restrict individual freedoms to prevent violence and killing. They are also generally skeptical of the idea that choice leads to genuine freedom, especially for those without power on the margins of our culture.

Indeed, liberal states such as Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and, until this week, California had all recently rejected such legislation. Britain's attempt to pass an assisted-suicide bill also went down to overwhelming defeat.

To get a victory in California, its supporters were forced to bypass the regular legislative process (which defeated the bill) and instead consider the bill in a healthcare special session, and under unusual rules. This context is as telling as it is disturbing.

Read it all from the LA Times.

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Posted October 9, 2015 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Q: What do critics say?

Many doctors continue to object to it, as do many religious leaders and activists for the disabled who fear that the disabled could be put under duress to end their lives prematurely.

The California Catholic Conference, the Medical Oncology Assn. of Southern California and the California Disability Alliance note that similar bills have failed recently in Connecticut, Delaware and Colorado.

"This bill is simply about protecting doctors and HMOs from liability," Marilyn Golden, a senior policy analyst for the Berkeley-based Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund told The Times earlier this year, "and tells people with disabilities who face a terminal diagnosis that may well prove inaccurate that there is no dignity in our lives."

Read it all.

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Posted October 6, 2015 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The denial of God -- or the blithe bracketing of the question of God -- is not a harmless parlor game. Rather, it carries with it the gravest implications. If there is no God, then our lives do indeed belong to us, and we can do with them what we want. If there is no God, our lives have no ultimate meaning or transcendent purpose, and they become simply artifacts of our own designing. Accordingly, when they become too painful or too shallow or just too boring, we ought to have the prerogative to end them. We can argue the legalities and even the morality of assisted suicide until the cows come home, but the real issue that has to be engaged is that of God's existence.

The incoming freshman class at Harvard is a disturbing omen indeed, for the more our society drifts into atheism, the more human life is under threat. The less we are willing even to wrestle with God, the more de-humanized we become.

Read it all.

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Posted September 20, 2015 at 1:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rector of Faughanvale Parish has condemned those responsible for a break-in at the home of an elderly parishioner, which took place while she was attending a religious service in her local church.
The incident happened on Friday evening, while the victim was in St Canice’s Church in Eglinton, attending the institution of the parish’s new Rector, Rev Paul Hoey. Thieves broke into the woman’s home in the village and ransacked every room.
The break-in was discovered when the woman returned home after the service. She was extremely shaken by the incident and was comforted by parishioners.

Read it all.

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Posted September 19, 2015 at 12:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On Feb. 6, 2016 – one year after the historic Supreme Court ruling in the case of Kathleen Carter and Gloria Taylor – physician-assisted death will be legal in Canada. The Canadian Medical Association last week debated what life would be like for physicians and patients in this brave new world. One thing was clear: We are woefully unprepared for Feb. 7.

The Court said the Criminal Code’s prohibitions on assisted suicide will no longer apply “to the extent that they prohibit physician-assisted death for a competent adult person who (1) clearly consents to the termination of life and (2) has a grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disease or disability) that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition.” It also stated that physicians cannot be compelled to hasten a person’s death.

In the yawning gap between this straightforward theory and the complexities of everyday practice lie many questions:

• When a patient asks for a hastened death, who will they ask?

• What do the terms “grievous and irremediable” and “enduring suffering that is intolerable” mean?

• Who will determine a patient’s capacity to consent?

• If a physician can’t be compelled to perform the act, does he or she have an obligation to refer to a doctor who will?

• How long will the “cooling off” period be between a request and administration of a lethal drug?

Read it all.

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Posted September 16, 2015 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If you are wondering what the next social debate in the United States will be, NPR host Diane Rehm spelled it out recently in a public campaign: assisted suicide.

Those like Rehm who believe terminally ill patients should be to able to end their lives with help from physicians typically avoid the words suicide and mercy killing. The bald truth of those words would not win support for the movement. Still, Rehm declared that Jack Kevorkian, who went to jail for killing terminally ill patients, “was before his time” and that “the country wasn’t ready.”

But it’s apparently ready now. The agenda is set. Death will not be defeated.

Assisted suicide—defined as a physician providing a patient the means to take his or her own life, usually through medicine—is now legal in five states, with several more currently considering end-of-life legislation.

Read it all.

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Posted September 16, 2015 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The compelling religious opposition to Dignity in Dying’s aims has been a constant thorn in their side and, as their own polling has shown, opposition to assisted suicide is strongest among those who most frequently attend worship: support is highest amongst infrequent attendees; those who might be described as culturally or more loosely affiliated to a religion.

What is surprising is not that Dignity in Dying has sought to apply PR solutions to their problematic lack of support among churches and other religious bodies, but that they have taken a more combative position against those with a religious faith more generally; those who tend to believe that assisted suicide is mistaken, regardless of whether the primary objection is on religious or non-religious grounds. This has, as we saw last weekend, extended so far as to question the sincerity of those advancing pragmatic arguments about concern for the vulnerable, because they might also happen to have a faith, or because they may be associated with others that do.

In June, Catherine Bennett wrote in the Guardian ‘When politicians do God, no wonder we have doubts‘. She focused negatively on Liberal Democrat leadership contender Tim Farron’s Christian beliefs. Wootton tweeted that she “couldn’t agree more” with Bennett, who had concluded that “everyone agrees that, when it might affect their objectivity, MPs must declare an interest. It seems only fair to ask that, when ethics are debated, they disclose which supernatural affiliation has dictated their response, along with any penalties for disobedience”.

Read it all.

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Posted September 14, 2015 at 8:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The controversial Liverpool Care Pathway for dying patients was phased out after an independent review by Baroness Neuberger, which concluded that it had been “misused and misunderstood” by hospital staff.

But although the LCP has gone (in name, at least), it represented “the best quality of care possible” for the dying as defined by palliative medicine physicians. It is therefore not surprising that new guidelines replacing the LCP, recently issued by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), are very similar. Indeed, they perpetuate the features that made the LCP so dangerous.

The Nice guidelines are, if anything, even worse than the LCP as a result of certain additions. The writers had the Neuberger report to draw on, but they have not taken on board some of its main recommendations. Although the guidelines say they respond “to a need for an evidence-based guideline for the clinical care of the dying”, references to a solid base of scientific evidence are almost totally lacking.

Read it all.

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Posted September 14, 2015 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a landmark victory for supporters of assisted suicide, the California State Legislature on Friday gave its final approval to a bill that would allow doctors to help terminally ill people end their lives.

Four states — Oregon, Washington, Montana and Vermont — already allow physicians to prescribe life-ending medication to some patients. The California bill, which passed Friday in the State Senate by a vote of 23 to 14, will now go to Gov. Jerry Brown, who will roughly triple access to doctor-assisted suicide across the country if he signs it. Mr. Brown has given little indication of his intentions.

The California bill is modeled on the law in Oregon, with several notable changes. The California law would expire after 10 years and have to be reapproved, and doctors would have to consult in private with the patient desiring to die, as part of an effort to ensure that no one would be coerced to end his or her life — a primary concern for opponents of the law.

Leaders of the “death with dignity” movement said they hoped the passage of the California law could be a turning point.

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Posted September 12, 2015 at 11:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...I can understand the argument for assisted dying, especially when I see people with dementia. I can (or I think I can) cope with physical frailty but it is the thought of losing one’s mind that troubles me most. Perhaps I, too, would want the independence to end my life at a time and circumstances of my choosing. But is dementia or another intractable condition even part of this assisted dying bill, which talks of capacity and death within fixed timeframes?

The proposed bill does not offer sufficient safeguarding for patients and doctors. Mental capacity can change depending on mood, physical distress or social hardship. There is always the risk that doctors will get it wrong. This risk of causing harm far outweighs any potential benefits.

Patients must have the trust and assurance that we are on their side. More thought needs to go into amending the bill further and looking at the practicalities of how assisted dying could be implemented, as there is no scope for this in routine medical practice. Assisted dying should not be the cheap alternative to high-quality palliative care.

Read it all.

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2 Comments
Posted September 10, 2015 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Wesley Smith is right: north of the border there is a concerted attempt to erase the conscience rights of doctors, by demanding referrals for the killing of the unborn (who do not need to put in a request) and of the terminally ill (who thus far do) and, for that matter, of any other procedure deemed “medical.”

The Montreal Gazette today published a letter of mine objecting to this “ethical cleansing” of conscientious objectors from the medical community. The editor chose to leave off my final remark, that “the time has come to press for the full legal rights and recognition for those, both patients and professionals, of Hippocratic conviction. Bill 52 notwithstanding, and Carter v. Canada notwithstanding, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms still guarantees freedom of conscience and religion.”

While Carter (a truly atrocious judgment) left open the question of how patients’ rights and doctors’ rights are to be balanced under the Charter, it is noteworthy that the former set of rights is always considered only in terms of the rights of those who desire “medical assistance in dying” and never in terms of the rights of those who want physicians and health care professionals committed to the Hippocratic principles. It is imperative, at least as a holding action, that the latter be asserted and defended. Otherwise it will soon be impossible even to be trained in medicine without grave violations of conscience.

Read it all and follow the links.

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Posted September 8, 2015 at 5:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Assisted dying would create new dilemmas at the end of life. Doctors would be concerned about the certainty of the diagnosis. For example, I recall an elderly man who was confidently diagnosed by a specialist team as having inoperable pancreatic cancer and given weeks to live. He would have met the Assisted Dying Bill criteria, but years later he is still playing golf; the diagnosis was wrong. Doctors would be concerned about assessing people’s mental capacity to take such an irrevocable decision. The standard tests assess a person’s ability to take a decision, not whether the decision itself is reasonable or based on realistic assumptions. Doctors would be concerned that a person might be pressurised in subtle or concealed ways.

In the Netherlands the law requires that the doctor believes that the person faces unbearable and hopeless suffering and that there are no reasonable alternatives. There is no such requirement in the Assisted Dying Bill. A doctor might be asked to end the life of a person who, although believed to be terminally ill, was not suffering and where palliative care would be expected to alleviate future suffering. Even doctors who find assisted suicide morally acceptable would find ending the life of such a person difficult.

The Bill would legalise physician-assisted suicide but not euthanasia. The deliberate killing of a person with the intention of avoiding suffering would remain illegal. A health professional could assist someone to self-administer the medicine but the final act must be taken by the person herself. Consider the position of a nurse attending a home to carry out an assisted suicide. The patient cannot swallow the medication so she sets up a syringe driver. The patient is too weak to press the button and requests that the nurse does it. But if the nurse presses the syringe driver button, that would be euthanasia, therefore illegal, and would expose her to the risk of an accusation of murder. The line between assisted suicide and euthanasia can be a fine one.

Read it all.

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Posted September 6, 2015 at 2:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It appears, then, that it is a question of when, not if, there will be a change in the law. And yet we must heed John Stuart Mill’s call to be wary about the tyranny of the majority. For, as the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, argues in today’s Observer, such a change would mark the crossing of a legal and ethical Rubicon. “We are asked to sanction doctors participating in individuals taking steps to end their lives,” Welby writes. “This is a change of monumental proportions both in the law and in the role of doctors.”

Welby observes that any “change in the law would place very many thousands of vulnerable people at risk”. Fearing that they were a burden, some would choose to end their lives, he says. The risk, ultimately, he warns is that we end up in a society “where each life is no longer seen as worth protecting, worth honouring, worth fighting for”. For Welby, “the current law is not ‘broken’. There is no need to fix it.”

Society seems to disagree, as does one of his predecessors, Lord Carey. So, too, do the majority of Christians, according to at least one poll. But this is not to say that polls should determine policy nor that the church’s entrenched opposition to reform be ignored.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* 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

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Posted September 6, 2015 at 12:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Britain will cross a “legal and ethical Rubicon” if parliament votes to permit terminally ill patients to end their lives, said the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, as leaders of all the UK’s major faith groups call on MPs to reject plans to allow assisted suicide.

In an extraordinary show of unity on Sunday, the heads of Britain’s Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh communities wrote a joint letter to every MP – published in the Observer – urging them to throw out the assisted dying bill, which will be debated in the Commons on Friday.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted September 6, 2015 at 12:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

And please, whatever you do, don’t try to argue against assisted dying on religious grounds. Dignity in Dying has been scathing of religious opposition, treating it as irrational and irrelevant in a predominantly secular society. “Look!” they say, “We have Lord Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury, fighting our corner, as well as Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham, and his chaplain, Canon Rosie Harper, and..”

And who? Well, that’s pretty much it. It doesn’t seem to matter that last year more than 20 senior faith leaders, including Justin Welby, all signed a letter opposing the previous version of the Bill. Trying to find a Christian who will publicly support their objectives is like finding a turkey who looks forward to Christmas. “No, no, you’re all wrong and our tiny band of Christian friends are absolutely right,” Dignity in Dying insists. “Can’t you see how wise Lord Carey is when he describes the proposed law as ‘a profoundly Christian and moral thing’?” He wrote a piece for the Mail on Sunday last month, in which he said: “I often find myself asking: ‘What would Jesus do?’ I think I know what he wouldn’t do. He wouldn’t say: ‘There, there. Pain is good for you. Take it like a man or a woman.'”

Let’s take a deep breath and think about this for a moment. If assisted dying is Christian and moral, we must believe that Jesus would encourage it. Can you really imagine a woman coming to him with a malignant cancerous growth, and Jesus looking at her with compassion but offering some poisonous berries? Or, if none was available, handing her a knife, telling her that there is nothing left in her life worth living for and that it would be better if she slit her wrists?

Read it all.

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

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Posted September 5, 2015 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...once society generally accepts the dark premise that killing is an acceptable way to end suffering–we haven’t yet–there is no way to effectively constrain euthanasia inflation.

This isn’t a “slippery slope” argument but determinable from facts on the ground. Thus, in addition to the physically ill and dying, doctors in Belgium and the Netherlands kill the mentally ill, the healthy elderly “tired of life,” and in Belgium, even engage in joint killings of married couples that fear widowhood and/or dependency.

Switzerland’s legal suicide clinics have facilitated the deaths of people who are not sick for existential reasons. Recently, an elderly Italian woman received assisted suicide because she was in despair over her loss of beauty. The first her family knew that she was dead was when the suicide clinic mailed the family her ashes.

Read it all.

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

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Posted September 2, 2015 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The American Medical Association remains opposed to physician assistance in dying; the California Medical Association has moved from opposition to neutrality. Litigation has been unsuccessful in seeking judicial affirmation of a right that California’s legislature should establish. Legislation to do this has been authored by Assemblywoman Susan Eggman, chair of the Democratic caucus.

There are reasons for wariness. An illness’s six-month trajectory can be uncertain. A right to die can become a felt obligation, particularly among bewildered persons tangled in the toils of medical technologies, or persons with meager family resources. And as a reason for ending life, mental suffering itself calls into question the existence of the requisite decisional competence.

Today’s culture of casual death (see the Planned Parenthood videos) should deepen worries about a slippery slope from physician-assisted dying to a further diminution of life’s sanctity. Life, however, is inevitably lived on multiple slippery slopes: Taxation could become confiscation, police could become instruments of oppression, public education could become indoctrination, etc. Everywhere and always, civilization depends on the drawing of intelligent distinctions.

Read it all.

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

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Posted September 2, 2015 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Joyce Southwell is looking for a little more fun in life. She wants romance, a dancing partner and someone to talk to. However, that hasn’t been easy to find because Southwell, who lives on James Island, is 80 years old.

Despite the challenges she faces dating at an older age, finding that special someone may be getting a little bit easier for men and women like her. Southwell and about two dozen other women and men over the age of 70 in the Charleston area recently took part in a Speed Dating event at the Lowcountry Senior Center.

Read it all.

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

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Posted August 16, 2015 at 12:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Recently]..there have been two poignant reminders of the prevalence of that attitude, where the advancing years are regarded as a cause for apprehension and fear.
The first was the death of Cilla Black at the comparatively young age of 72.
Although she had problems with her hearing and suffered from arthritis, she was — so far as we know — in reasonable health. But psychologically, she appeared to have been preparing for the end, explaining in interviews last year that she ‘did not want to live longer than 75’.

In this rather bleak outlook, she seems to have been heavily influenced by the experience of her mother, who lived until she was 84 but suffered a good deal in her final years.
The second episode to highlight this fear of old age was the sad case of retired nurse Gill Pharaoh, who recently took her own life at a Swiss assisted suicide clinic, despite the fact she was only 75 and had no serious health issues.

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 TheologyPastoral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

....one of the risks of the Assisted Dying debate is that it detracts from the debate about how to improve the experience of the living. Not everyone will think that being ‘an old lady hobbling up the road with a trolley’ is an unbearable loss of dignity, as Pharaoh did.

In his book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, Atul Gawande argues that:

‘Certainly suffering at the end of life is sometimes unavoidable and unbearable, and helping people end their misery may be necessary. Given the opportunity, I would support laws to provide these kinds of prescriptions to people. About half don’t even use their prescription. They are reassured just to know they have this control if they need it. But we damage entire societies if we let providing this capability divert us from improving the lives of the ill. Assisted living is far harder than assisted death, but its possibilities are far greater, as well.’

Campaigners against assisted dying may disagree with Gawande’s support for prescriptions of medication that would allow a patient to end their lives if things become unbearable. What if life is physically bearable but painful as a result of an illness or disability, but emotionally overwhelming because someone fears being a burden on their family?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyPsychology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted August 10, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After more than a century of being alive, Loren Wade is still punching a clock.

Earlier this week, the long-time Walmart employee celebrated his 103rd birthday with friends, family and coworkers at a party.

The Air Force and World War II veteran gave retirement a try during his 60's, but it didn't take long before he grew bored and opted to continue working, the centenarian told NBC's "Weekend TODAY" in a recent interview. After landing a job with Walmart back in 1983, he still works five day a week at a the location in his hometown of Winfield, Kansas.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyMilitary / Armed Forces* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted August 4, 2015 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A hungry stomach doesn’t call you demanding money, but a debt collector going after your unpaid medical, utility and loan bills will. So maybe you choose to pay the bills instead of buying groceries — that’s the kind of dilemma facing millions of baby boomers, according to a survey from Feeding America and the AARP Foundation.

More than 8 million Americans ages 50 through 64 rely on food assistance to make ends meet — that group is at greater risk of food insecurity because of their limited access to federal benefits while also dealing with high unemployment rates, according to the report. More than half (58%) of them have unpaid medical bills, in addition to their trouble affording food. Of the older population served by Feeding America (13 million Americans older than 50), 63% find themselves having to choose between buying food or paying for medical care. Sixty percent report having to choose between paying utilities and buying food, and 49% weigh paying for housing versus paying for food.

That’s where the debt cycle can really kick in, making it even more difficult for boomers to dig their way out. Being forced to miss payments because it’s either pay for food or pay the bills can lead to dealing with debt collectors or even a lawsuit over the unpaid balance. Many older Americans likely use credit cards to buy food or purchase other necessities, which only sets up that population for more financial problems.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyDieting/Food/NutritionHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal Finance* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 19, 2015 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Matt (again, not his real name) was referred for pain control. He was clear-minded and determined to travel to Switzerland for assisted suicide. He'd been given three months to live, he said, and he wanted to get it over with. When I tentatively asked: "Is there anything you've always wanted to do before you die?" he wistfully outlined his dream holiday. He then let me help plan his travel on this holiday, and enjoyed it in a way he never thought possible. He never went to Switzerland, but had some surprisingly wonderful times before dying peacefully at home of his cancer.

Matt certainly had what Lord Falconer's Assisted Dying Bill calls a "settled intent" to die. It would have been all too easy for a willing doctor to sign off his assisted suicide. But only a small minority of doctors (just under a fifth, according to a recent poll) say they would be willing to process such requests. Most want to work to help patients live well and die well despite illness, not to be a gatekeeper for assisted suicide.

Laws are more than just regulatory instruments. They send social messages. As a society we are clear that suicide is not something to be encouraged or assisted. Legalising assisted suicide flies in the face of that. It sends the message that, if you are terminally ill, ending your life is something that society endorses and that you might want to consider. Is that really the kind of society we want?

Read it all from the Huffington Post.

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* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted July 16, 2015 at 6:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the mid-20th century many Anglican Church of Canada parishes joined their mainline and evangelical neighbours in creating tightly-focused programs for even the tiniest demographics. Now, many parishes are tearing down those walls between ages and stages, hoping to bind up scattered, sometimes shattering church communities.

The 20th century craze to split the church into demographic segments was a profound departure from Judeo-Christian tradition. Jesus grew up in a Jewish community where the generations nurtured each other’s faith — in fact, young Jesus was so caught up learning from his elders at the temple in Jerusalem that he let Mary and Joseph start for home without him. The Apostle Paul mentored his spiritual son, Timothy, in ministry; he also instructed older men and women to be good examples and to mentor younger people in faith.

Sadly, segmentation – intended to keep kids, youth, young adults, or even seniors in church – may cut off them off from each other and the worshiping life of the church. This leaves youth with “no sense of what it means to be a mature adult Christian living out a life of faith in the Church,’’ writes the Rev. Valerie Michaelson, pastoral associate and Queen’s Chaplain at St. James’ Anglican Church, Kingston, Ont., in “How to Nurture Intergenerational Community in Your Church,” posted on the Wycliffe College Institute of Evangelism website. It also deprives adults and seniors the opportunity to understand and mentor younger members of the church, say advocates of intergenerational ministry.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryAdult EducationMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the OrdainedYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenMarriage & Family* TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted July 15, 2015 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Recognizing they lacked votes in a key Assembly committee, authors of legislation that would have allowed terminally ill Californians to legally end their lives pulled the bill Tuesday morning.

Senate Bill 128, the End of Life Option Act, had already cleared the state Senate, but faced opposition in the Assembly Health Committee. That included a group of southern California Democrats, almost all of whom are Latino, after the archbishop of Los Angeles increased its advocacy efforts in opposition to the bill.

"We continue to work with Assembly members to ensure they are comfortable with the bill," said a joint statement from Sens. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, and Bill Monning, D-Monterey, and Assemblywoman Susan Eggman, D-Stockton. "For dying Californians like Jennifer Glass, who was scheduled to testify today, this issue is urgent. We remain committed to passing the End of Life Option Act for all Californians who want and need the option of medical aid in dying."

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* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted July 8, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

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

1 Comments
Posted June 29, 2015 at 8:00 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 6:00 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 12:20 pm [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 4:00 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 10:00 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 4:15 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 7:00 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 4:12 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 8:00 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

0 Comments
Posted April 2, 2015 at 8:26 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

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Posted March 31, 2015 at 5:40 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

0 Comments
Posted March 28, 2015 at 7:45 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

0 Comments
Posted March 21, 2015 at 1:00 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

0 Comments
Posted March 20, 2015 at 5:11 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 6:31 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

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Posted March 18, 2015 at 12:01 pm [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

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Posted March 16, 2015 at 6:00 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 3:15 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

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Posted March 7, 2015 at 4:00 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

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Posted March 4, 2015 at 6:15 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

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Posted February 24, 2015 at 9:00 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

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Posted February 23, 2015 at 4:56 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 7:00 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

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Posted February 11, 2015 at 6:30 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

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Posted February 10, 2015 at 6:25 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 11:15 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

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Posted February 7, 2015 at 11:00 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.

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Posted February 2, 2015 at 2:21 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.

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Posted February 1, 2015 at 3:00 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

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Posted January 23, 2015 at 8:00 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 12:31 pm [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

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Posted January 15, 2015 at 4:01 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

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Posted January 14, 2015 at 7:00 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

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Posted January 14, 2015 at 6:00 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

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Posted January 2, 2015 at 3:34 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

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Posted December 24, 2014 at 8:28 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 6:40 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

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Posted December 20, 2014 at 2:28 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

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Posted December 18, 2014 at 9:00 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.

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Posted December 17, 2014 at 6:15 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

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Posted December 9, 2014 at 12:25 pm [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

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Posted December 8, 2014 at 8:29 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

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Posted December 2, 2014 at 6:00 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.

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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

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Posted November 15, 2014 at 1:01 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.

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

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Posted November 14, 2014 at 6:30 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.”

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

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Posted November 11, 2014 at 8:05 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.

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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

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Posted November 9, 2014 at 6:58 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.

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

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Posted November 7, 2014 at 8:00 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.

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

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Posted November 5, 2014 at 8:00 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.”

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

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Posted October 7, 2014 at 3:04 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.

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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

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Posted September 26, 2014 at 6:45 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.

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

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Posted September 16, 2014 at 6:15 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.

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

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Posted August 10, 2014 at 3:38 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.

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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 6:45 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.

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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

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Posted July 23, 2014 at 4:30 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.

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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 6:00 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.

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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

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Posted July 20, 2014 at 6:50 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.

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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

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Posted July 18, 2014 at 7:30 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".

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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

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Posted July 18, 2014 at 7:16 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.

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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

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Posted July 17, 2014 at 6:45 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.

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

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Posted July 15, 2014 at 4:24 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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