The Challenges of DIGNITAS in the Future - Part 3: Mentally Competent old-agers
There has been a significant increase in life expectancy: in fact, it has almost doubled over the last 100 years. If, after very careful reflection, a mentally competent individual of a great age feels that he or she has lived enough, in the sense of "it's been long and good life but now I would like to rest, thank you', on what grounds could we reject this person's rational wish for a safe and assisted end in life?
This is, again, a legal question which soon will be clarified through legal further development, that is, court cases brought to the European Court of Human Rights. The issue was part of the case of Gross v Switzerland which led to interesting court findings. Alda Gross was a woman born in 1931 with some ailments due to her age, but neither severely nor terminally ill. However, the case did not become effective because she passed away before the Court took a final decision.
Due to the significant increase in life expectancy, this issue will come up more often and quite certainly need further attention in our society.