Old age rational suicide

Richards, N. (2017) Old age rational suicide. Sociology Compass, 11(3), e12456. (doi: 10.1111/soc4.12456)

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In the societal debate surrounding voluntary euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide, there is a concern that older people will be left exposed to any legislation, subject to either faint suggestion or outright coercion from familial or professional carers. Whilst it is critical to take account of older people's potential vulnerability to any current or proposed assisted suicide legislation, there is a parallel strand of research exploring another relationship which older people can have with this debate: one of activism. Sociological research has shown that older people make up the “rank and file” of those active within the right-to-die movement. One of the stated motivations of some older people requesting hastened death has been that, in spite of an absence of life-threatening disease, they feel “tired of life” or that they have lived a “completed life” and feel ready to die. The notion of suicide for reasons of longevity and being tired of life are becoming increasingly significant given the fact of global ageing. This article brings together empirical and theoretical research on the phenomenon of old age rational suicide in order to develop an underexplored area in both the sociology of death and the sociology of ageing.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Richards, Dr Naomi
Authors: Richards, N.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Journal Name:Sociology Compass
ISSN (Online):1751-9020
Published Online:01 March 2017

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