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Letters to the Editor: Expanding aid-in-dying laws to include Alzheimer’s patients is euthenasia

Alzheimer's
Some advocates of aid-in-dying believe laws should cover patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: For the last seven years of her life, my mother suffered from dementia before she died in 2007. So, I read Nicholas Goldberg’s column on expanding the state’s aid-in-dying law to cover patients with Alzheimer’s with great interest.

I watched my mom lose the ability to tend to herself. I watched as her memory eroded, as each day she was falling back in history, first to the 1940s, then the 1930s.

But what kept me sane was the fact that she was not in any pain. It was us, her loved ones, who were suffering because this wasn’t the person we had known.

In many ways, I agree with Goldberg, who watched his mother deteriorate from Alzheimer’s. However, attempting to include patients suffering from dementia in aid-in-dying laws would have us practicing euthanasia.

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We as loved ones may not like what we see, but ask yourself if your mother or father is truly suffering — the answer is no. Now ask, who would this idea actually aid and assist? The answer is you, not them.

Practicing euthanasia is not the solution.

Martin Mangione, Placerville, Calif.

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To the editor: Yes, it is time for people with dementia to be covered by California’s aid-in-dying law.

I watched the deterioration of both my grandmothers and my mother. All three were strong, active, intelligent women.

Throughout my life, I have followed the suggestions related to diet, exercise and lifestyle that may prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease or slow it down. I volunteer at a care facility for older adults with cognitive problems, including Alzheimer’s. I teach a brain exercise class to older adults.

Still, I am less than 100% sure all this will make a difference, and I despair at what I might become, because I’ve seen that face. Whatever fortune I have built up for myself will not be left for my children and grandchildren if it is eaten by the overpriced long-term care industry.

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Elizabeth A. Quintella, Carpinteria


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