Download Geronticide: Killing the Elderly by Mike Brogden PDF

By Mike Brogden

The more and more aged inhabitants poses many financial and moral questions for contemporary society. probably the most topical and arguable is the controversy approximately euthanasia. Drawing on various ancient, modern, anthropological and literary assets, this paintings considers the current day debates concerning the sanctity of aged lives and the query of euthanasia. It indicates that killing the aged, voluntarily or involuntarily, has been a characteristic of many societies - from the primitive to the current day. aged murder and euthanasia this day are most typically hid in the house or the care establishment, a scenario that is attracting expanding expert crisis. this article seeks to put the present debate in a much wider ancient and social context, whereas offering an summary of present educational issues.

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Extra info for Geronticide: Killing the Elderly

Sample text

Chronic disabilities may decline. Better diets and health education are likely to have an effect on the lifestyle of the elderly. Improved mobility, hearing aids and visual aids will give them a greater degree of independ­ ence. 50 / GERONTICIDE: KILLING THE ELDERLY The elderly are not a homogeneous mass but are differentiated in a variety of ways. The dependency ratio can be fed as much by the young as by the old (in Britain the under-16s cost more to sustain than the over-65s). Fertility rates are as important as longevity and cannot be forecast with the same accuracy, being dependent on social factors such as people’s confidence in the economy.

The ageing of the population reflects the convergence of two main factors: first, the downward trend in the birth rate, so that the proportion of older people is increasing faster than the proportion of children in the population; and second, improvements in life expectancy (an increase of 20 years over the course of the twentieth century, in the case of Britain). However, the rate of increase is noticeably slowing. There has been a relative decrease in the number of ‘young elderly’, especially those in their sixties.

While 95 per cent of elderly people reside at home in the community at any one time (Walker and Maltby 1997), between 25 per cent and 30 per cent of hospital day beds were occupied by people (mainly elderly) who would be dead within 12 months. Together with care homes for the elderly, hospitals play a key care role. Processing people before their death is a ‘normal’ part of hospital work. Since most people who die are aged 65 and over, the management of the dying of the elderly is a major function of hospitals and care homes.

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