Death with Dignity vs. Assisted Suicide




As a Massachusetts residence, death with dignity or assisted suicide was something that I was personally able to vote on this past election cycle. Although it is not a topic exclusive to the older members of our society, the opposing sides targeted the elderly as their primary audience. While this is not a new debate in the public arena it is one that seems to be evolving. “Question 2” (Massachusetts ballot measure legalizing Dr. assisted death) didn’t pass in Massachusetts with a margin of 49% to 51%. At first the narrowness of defeat seemed shocking to me, but further examination on what has been done by the proponents of Question 2 indicate they are making serious headwind in the public square. And in a state that is very supportive of the right to make personal decisions (i.e. same sex marriage) I am now surprised it did not pass.

My questions?

How do you justify the right to take the life of an unborn fetus with different genetic make up than the mother but don’t allow people the regulated legal right to take their own life in cases of poor health?

How does the doctors oath of “Do no harm” factor into their role in the process? The psychological ramifications?

What do statistics say about the accuracy of medical prognoses (how much time is left to live) made by professionals (MD’s) in terminally ill patients?

I could go on and on and participated in many debates on the ethical dilemma during nursing school. But I’d like to hear what you think? Do you view it as death with dignity or assisted suicide?




Steve Jobs: Lessons for long-term care?

Click on the image below for the rest of the story …

Nursing Home News Roundup – March 2012

For-Profit vs. Non-Profit Nursing Homes

Those of us who love old people either work in or know people who work in nursing homes.  Or, we have had loved ones in facilities.  There are strong feelings both ways.  Non-profit operators claim to give the best care because of their mission-driven attitude, unencumbered by financial demands.  For-profit operators claim to give the best care because they’re the ones providing the highest acuity and re-investing profits into facilities.

Here’s an article that shows how this argument is moot and that the two types of operators are a lot more alike than they realize … [click on the image below]

Transforming Long-term Care Blog

Transforming Long-term Care Blog

In the end, as you search out a long-term care facility either for placement of a loved one or for your own career, you need to find one that is, like the author of the article states, ‘built to last.’

You Can’t Handle The Truth!

You can't handle the truth

America Can't Handle The Truth

Let these numbers sink in for a minute …

[From USA Today Article] Starting on Saturday, Baby Boomers begin turning 65 and qualifying for Medicare — one every eight seconds. A record 2.8 million will qualify in 2011, rising to 4.2 million a year by 2030, projections show.

In all, the government expects 76 million Boomers will age on to Medicare. Even factoring in deaths over that period, the program will grow from 47 million today to 80 million in 2030.

At the same time, health care costs are projected to outpace inflation, and medical advances will extend lives, straining the program’s finances. It’s expected to cost $929 billion by 2020, an 80% increase over 10 years.

Is there a better example of the lack of true political leadership in the United States than this?  Neither Democrat nor Republican can claim they have been confronting these brutal facts.  Rather, each group sticks their finger in the air and responds to the political winds.

Are there any real (and digestible) plans to address the tsunami?  Anyone?


As we prepare for the new year and for new year’s resolutions, I thought we ought to re-post this article about a lady who truly fires me up!  I know it’s dangerous to say it, but, ‘if she can do it …’

Ironman at 73!

From the article:

In 1982, Shapiro watched television as athlete Julie Moss crawled across the Ironman finish line in Hawaii. Like thousands of others, Shapiro was galvanized. Anybody can ride a bike, she figured. And she already knew how to swim.

“I’m going to do a triathlon,” she promised herself.

Since that day, Shapiro has won eight Ironman races in her age group, come in second three times in her age group in the world championships and won the half-Ironman world championships twice.

“My habits and my lifestyle and who I am are because of Ironman,” Shapiro told me, her taut frame atop a chrome chair with rainbow splashes on its cushions.

Along the way, she also suffered three serious crashes, one which required her being helicoptered to a hospital.

“You fall off the horse, you get back on,” she said.

“There are no short cuts to Ironman,” Shapiro explained. “Training is not easy. You have to have a passion.”

Some may think someone like Shapiro never has a bad day, always feels like cycling, running or swimming. Not so.

“Training is not easy,” she repeated.

If it sounds like Shapiro was talking about life, you would be correct.

“A sign of maturity is delayed gratification. It’s the essence of life.”

After missing some cutoff times in several Ironman races over the years, does she see another world championship in her future?

“This year, I’m ready,” Shapiro said, smiling and clenching her fists with excitement. “I’m ready.”

Like all of us, Shapiro wasn’t born ready. She worked to get there.

Read the rest of the story here.