||Clipart/images/graphics, Internet resource, Videorecording
||Internet Resource, Computer File, Visual material
|All Authors / Contributors:
Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
||For College; Adult audiences.
||1 online resource (46 min.)
||Filmakers library online.
||produced by Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
The seniors in this film swim, dance and play golf. They are devoted to families and grandchildren, they read and engage with the world. Muriel and June lead rich, full lives but they intend to deliberately end their lives when they think the time is right. Dr. Opie, a retired surgeon who is now incapacitated, has prepared himself to end his life in two years when he thinks his life will no longer be worth living. They are among an increasingly activist minority of elderly Australians who say they want to end their lives before they are overtaken by frailty, illness or dependence. Such a radical step, they claim, is a final act of self-determination and a human right. "This is about the dignity of the end of my life," says Muriel. "I just don t want to end up as a vegetable. I don t want to be locked up in a nursing home where all you get is bingo," says June. Most of the elderly people in the film are supported in their fateful decisions by spouses or adult children. But in some cases there is intense anguish. We meet a father and son who love each other deeply but are completely at odds on this issue. The father thinks life should end when quality leaves it. His son, a committed Christian, would do anything to change his father s mind. Some doctors and ethicists are disturbed by what they see as the extremism of elderly people who take courses to learn how to commit suicide and even travel to Mexico to buy Nembutal, the recommended drug. Dr. Philip Nitschke, author of Exit Australia, teaches some of these courses. Dr. Rosanna Capoliagra asserts that depression is also a big factor. Professionals worry that the phenomenon reflects a growing view that to be old and in need of care is to lack dignity and to be a burden on society.