Older people who are 'weary of life': their expectations for the future and perceived hopelessness

M.L. Rurup, H.R.W. Pasman, A.J.F.M. Kerkhof, D.J.H. Deeg, B.D. Onwuteaka-Philipsen

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleProfessional

Abstract

Older people who are 'weary of life': their expectations for the future and perceived hopelessness There has been a debate for over a decade in the Netherlands about whether physicians should be allowed to provide assistance with suicide to older people who are 'weary of life'. Actual knowledge about these older people is missing in this debate. The purpose of this article is to explore and discuss the expectations older people who are 'weary of life' have of their future, and to what extent they perceive their suffering as hopeless. In this qualitative study, 31 older people who were 'weary of life' were interviewed The results of this study show that most respondents who were 'weary of life' did not plan to end their life within a short time frame. The burden to their loved ones played a large role in their decision in addition to the awareness of still having reasons to live. Most respondents tried not to think too much about the future, and hoped death would come soon. Most respondents could not name a condition that would diminish their wish to die, that they also found desirable and feasible. The results of this study suggest that people who develop thoughts about death do so when they give up finding solutions to improve their situation. © 2011 Bohn, Stafleu van Loghum.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-169
JournalTijdschrift voor Gerontologie en Geriatrie
Volume42
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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    Rurup, M. L., Pasman, H. R. W., Kerkhof, A. J. F. M., Deeg, D. J. H., & Onwuteaka-Philipsen, B. D. (2011). Older people who are 'weary of life': their expectations for the future and perceived hopelessness. Tijdschrift voor Gerontologie en Geriatrie, 42(4), 159-169. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12439-011-0030-5