A Generation of Suiciders?

In another thread, we were discussing the hideous option of growing old in America in the near future. Social Security won’t be enough, Medicare is running out, people are living longer lives, and senior healthcare is far from the warm, fuzzy feeling you get from the brochures at the *Chateau de Geezer * you’ll be forced to live in when you reach “a certain age.” Many people don’t have children to help out (and many don’t want to dump that burden on their kids).

Some of us have stated, in no uncertain terms, that the preferred way out in these less-than-perfect situations is to just step off voluntarily. I don’t want to wait for an incompetent health care worker to decide if I need my pain medication. I don’t want to live in some assisted home where the help can’t tell the difference between a menu and a brochure. I want to maintain some control, and ultimately, some dignity in the twilight of my life.

So, do any of you plan to “off” yourself when the going gets unacceptable? Will you do the nursing home routine or simply sign out from this world when your body (and checkbook) can no longer bear what life has handed you?


I plan on living forever. So far, so good…

After seeing what my Mom and several elderly friends have gone through? Whenever someone hands me that line about “old age sure beats the alternative,” I always say, “the hell it does.”

I’ll just cut and paste what I said in that other thread:

I have talked to so many friends my age who have mentioned offhand that, “Oh, I certainly intend to kill myself when it becomes necessary.” I myself will do so posthaste when my money and health run out, as well as my employment marketability. There will be no Social Security when we need it; we don’t stay in the same job for 40 years and build up pensions like our parents did; the nursing-home situation is only going to get worse with an aging population; many of us don’t have children to support us . . .

I know The Wife hates it when I talk about it, but…

I’m definitely gonna say adieu right around the time my quality of life does. My family has a history of heart disease, and the idea of surgery after surgery gives me the willies, especially after seeing my grandmother go through it. I am not looking forward to having a BP so low that I go hypoxic due to decreased blood flow to my brain. I like using my brain. Brain make happy me.

I see little tiny old ladies literally inching their way down the street or in the halls of my apartment building, taking five times as long as a whippersnapper like me does to get anywhere, and I wonder how they can bear it. I couldn’t. When buying a bag of oranges requires as much effort as mounting a production of The Magic Flute, I’m outta here.

I agree with nearly everything that’s been said and also think I’ll take a header when I get to that stage.

I am thinking however that that may have been the response of a lot of people back in the 40’s if they were posed the same question? Could it be that a lot of people say these things when the event is far off but think different when they’re in the situation*
*I’m not for one moment saying that people aren’t serious about the statements made in this thread BTW

I feel sorry for people whose religion will forbid them to end their own lives if they become severely ill or incapacitated. I, for one, would hate to become a burden to someone. I wouldn’t want my husband to change me or feed me or talk to me like Pwincess Pwecious because my mind has been addled by some horrible accident or disease. He knows that I wouldn’t want to go on like that, and knows that my plan is to end it all if the situation gets ugly.

As a perfectly healthy non-depressed person who has never entertained the thought of offing myself, I say hell yes. I completely agree about SS being gone by the time I can collect it, and while I have pretty good retirement savings, I think I would prefer spending it like a drunken sailor from say age 60 to 70, then saying adios.

I can see if someone is productive in older age, say a writer or actor or politician, then go ahead. My job doesn’t work for people in their 60’s.

I was wondering the same thing too, yojimbo.

IMHO, this feeling is more prevalent now though, for the reasons cited in the OP; people live for longer with a lower quality of life, there are fewer support systems in place (private and public), and people have less of a fear of death because of the decline in superstition and the rise of atheism and agnosticism. Suicide seems like less of a shameful taboo than it did forty years ago.

Well, I wouldn’t be a burden to anyone but society and the nursing-home system, as I have no kids, no spouse . . . Which also makes the decision easier, as I wouldn’t be unduly upsetting or inconveniencing anyone by Hopping the Twig.

I just hope I go like they tend to on my father’s side: quick, fatal heart attack in late middle age.

Remember, this is nothing new—it was our parents’ generation who were the lucky ones. Before the 1930s, there were no social or health support networks, and elderly suicides were very common. It was either that, live with the resentful kids, or “Over the Hill to the Old Folks Home.”

In another 20 years, we’ll be back to the pre-1930s mode, and I for one plan to do an Anna Karenina when the time comes (don’t worry, not during rush hour).

Yes, and probably long before senility - around 40 or so. A slew of inherited problems - severe hypertension and schizophrenia being the scariest of the bunch - will probably rear their ugly heads by then. At 18, I’ve already had more than my share of serious health problems; if stuff gets considerably worse, I will have no second thoughts about croaking.

“Hopping the Twig”…I don’t understand (though I bet the explanation will crack me up!). This is a new expression to me.

As for my method, if it isn’t an accidental meeting with a speeding train or something equally “permanent”, I’m going for drugs ‘n’ dramamine. 'Tis the breakfast of realists.

You know: Kicking the bucket. Popping your clogs. Falling off your perch.

I know what it means, but I don’t know why it equates to death. For instance, “kicking the bucket” comes from the guy who tosses a rope over the rafters, stands on the bucket, and then kicks it away so he’ll swing. But i can’t for the life of me figure out the imagery for the twig thing. I know…I can be a real dolt. I need help.

We recently went through this with my grandmother, who had been in an assisted living facility for two years prior. Kalhoun, your description about the gaping mouth and sinking eyes really hit me, since that’s how my grandmother looked at the end (I watched her last breath, won’t go into that here).

She had wanted to just die before being a burden, had said so many times… but she never got to make the choice. It was rather sudden; one week she was living at her own house, alone, occasionally forgetting to eat but otherwise self sufficient… the next week after a bad mix of medication (it was a mis-prescribed dosage, not a mistake on her part), she couldn’t think straight and started having accidents around the house. She never recovered completely from that.

Anyway, my point is, I don’t think anyone will ever know how they’re going to actually feel about it when they get to that point. Or if they’ll even get to have that “decision making” moment.

Yeah, I’d rather check out voluntarily than go out whimpering. I’ve seen a ton of death – many AIDS deaths in the 80’s to the mid-90’s, and since then, as my parents’ generation has reached their late seventies and eighties, their deaths as well as those of elderly aunts and uncles. None of these deaths has inspired me to want to stick it out to what can indeed be a bitter end. I’ll prefer to leave by my own volition if it becomes clear that things are bad and not going to get better.

In the 80’s a number of AIDS patients went out with a good deal of grace, in suicides that were sometimes, if you’ll forgive the expression, something of a social event. There’d be a party, a dinner with some close friends who knew what the gathering was about; the whole thing would be arranged as a celebration. And then, afterward, there would be a carefully calculated overdose, often assisted by a lover or other friend of significance. I didn’t know anyone who went out this way, but I had friends in New York, San Francisco, and Maine who did, and they spoke of the event as something beautiful, often spiritual, and genuinely civilized. I wonder if such events will become common someday?

I wonder if we are already seeing a variant of this in the occurrences of 70+ year olds robbing banks and similar. You either escape with the money, or end up in prison (which doesn’t sound as bad as being 70 with no money for food and medicine and free.
So live virtuously until the money runs out, then steel from banks until you end up in jail.

My husband has a tendancy to mix metaphors. My favorite is in the same vain. He will one day “Bite the farm.” Ha! I laugh out loud every time.

I guess previewing helps with more than spelling. I don’t laugh * because* The love of my life will one day “Bite the farm” (snicker) Its just the image.

I once thought I’d take matters into my own hands when independance became an issue. I feel differently since my son commited suicide.

My neighbor is 80. She lives alone. She had a male friend (boyfriend for want of a better word) who she saw several times a week. He was older and in poorer health. One day he called and told her he wouldn’t be over that day, and to not worry. Of course, she was worried. She went to his house and found him dying from an overdose. She called the 'medics but he died befor they arrived. That was 3 years ago. It still makes her cry.

There is always someone left to clean up the mess. Suicide only stops the world for the decedent. The ones who love you are left to make funeral arrangements, clear up your finances & clean up the physical mess. Which, by the way, depending on how soon you’re found, can be beyond comprehension.

Obviously, none of that matters to the decedent after the fact. Personally, I’m just not that selfish.

But, you say, I’d die soon anyway. Believe me, it is different. The guilt and what ifs never end. Losing someone you love is hard, but losing them to suicide is overwhelming and seemingly, endless.

I know the problems with aging are mounting. The future looks bleaker with evey year. I don’t have answers. I simply know that I’ll live all of my life, no matter how hard it gets, and never put anyone I love through what I’ve been through.

Never. I’m not sure exactly why, but I’ve always felt as if I would rather live–rather be alive more than anything. And I couldn’t bear to think of what it would do to my family and my fiance. I don’t care what my ‘quality of life’ will be, I’m not killing myself in middle age just because old age looks bleak.