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In modern times, those living in the developed west have a life expectancy of 75 to 80 years. Now in industrialised countries, we will be more likely to experience diseases and disabilities that were rare in earlier times. While old age is not in itself predictive of serious physical illness, the gradual deterioration of one’s body with age leads to an almost inevitable decline in a person’s quality of life.
This is why we see the issue of control in dying as being an increasingly common concern for many elderly people. Exit’s workshop program is often booked out months ahead as elderly folk seek answers to their practical questions about their end of life options. Although few who attend these workshops have any intention of dying in the near future, most see a need to organise and plan for this inevitable event.
Just as many of us plan for other aspects associated with dying (eg. we all write a will, appoint executors, and some of us prepay for funerals), so it is common sense to ensure that we have a plan about how we might wish to die. Yet to be in a position to plan for one’s death, one must first know one’s options. And that means information.