Elderly concerned about euthanasia proposals, bishops warn

The country’s Catholic bishops have said they share the concerns of older people who feel vulnerable when they hear concrete proposals for legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia.

n their pastoral letter for this year’s ‘Day for Life’, which was read at all Sunday Masses, the Bishops challenged politicians and the health system to provide accessible palliative care to all dying people. .

In their letter, which focuses on older people, the bishops say the Covid pandemic has brought to light the plight of many older people, especially those in care homes and those battling chronic illnesses. long term such as dementia.

“They bore the heaviest burden, which included prolonged isolation, the distress of families unable to surrender, delayed medical interventions and tragic, isolated deaths followed by shortened and minimal funeral rites,” the bishops wrote.

The letter points out that many family members and friends continue to carry “the wound of deep grief that hurts and still needs healing.”

He acknowledges that there are many challenges in elder care, such as cost, shortage of staff in nursing homes, time and energy needed to help older people feel valued and wanted.

However, the letter says many older people feel they have become a burden or may feel treated as a burden, a ‘bed blocker’ or a nuisance because they move slower, struggle with more physical challenges and live a different pace of life. .

On the issue of legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia, the Bishops said that older people often feel vulnerable and worried when they hear about concrete proposals for legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia.

“We share their concerns. To better value older people, we must find new ways to build bridges through our actions,” they said.

They called on people to engage in political debate about providing adequate care for the elderly so that no one feels like a burden on society and to challenge politicians and the health system.

They also called on people and parishes to devote time, energy and creativity to care for the elderly and to encourage people to learn from closer accompaniment of the elderly the “true wealth” of the journey. through old age.

Last year, the Oireachtas justice committee refused to advance a Dying with Dignity private member’s bill tabled by People Before Profit TD, Gino Kenny.

Instead, he recommended that a parliamentary committee examine the whole issue of assisted living.ng.

About Norman Griggs

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