Thursday, 5 January 2012

It's OK to need to be cared for

One strand of the coverage of the assisted dying report that I heard on the radio this morning referred to people who felt unable to face a long period of time dependent on the care of others or feeling that they were a burden to others. I think, too, an observation was made that, however good palliative care provision was, it would not overcome this issue.

From time to time I do get to meet people who are getting older, and perhaps are unwell too. For some of them, used to previously having been very independent and self-reliant, coming to terms with the fact that they now need care from others is a challenge. What I sometimes ask them about is times when, earlier in their lives, they were able to help other people - perhaps their children, perhaps other people they have known. I then suggest that it is a kind of natural cycle in human society and human living that there are times when you are able to give care and help to others, and there is a time when you come to need that care from others. It is OK to need to be cared for.

The other side of this question, of course, is how members of society view those of its community who are in need of care. Members of society need to recognise, when they are in a position to be caring, the existence of this natural cycle of caring for and being cared for. Society needs to value carers, and to value them consistently. A proposal for assisted dying/assisted suicide can only undermine this in the culture of society.

1 comment:

berenike said...


[An aged relative] is forever going on about being a burden to the family, although the only hassle she does cause she refuses to stop causing, even though it's unnecessary! I tell her the same thing, "But would you not have been happy had your mother lived to your age and you had been able to look after her, even if she had been - as you are not - bed-bound and incontinent and ...." and then she says "the weakest kind of argument is argument from analogy". Then I consider boinging her on head with a large book in frustration, and then ... :D