When Albert Jones learned it was 94-year-old Barbara’s birthday, he stopped what he was doing to sing “Happy Birthday” to her; enjoy it all.
Category : Aging / the Elderly
Thursday Encouragement–(NBC) Florida Utility Worker Brings Birthday Joy To Nursing Home Resident Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
A generation ago, the essayist and novelist Wendell Berry told us that the great challenge of our time would be whether we would see life as a machine or as a miracle. The same is true now. The value of a human life is not determined on a balance sheet. We cannot coldly make decisions as to how many people we are willing to lose since “we are all going to die of something.”
A life in a nursing home is a life worth living. A life in a hospital quarantine ward is a life worth living. The lives of our grandparents, the lives of the disabled, the lives of the terminally ill, these are all lives worth living. We will not be able to save every life. Many will die, not only of the obviously vulnerable but also of those who are seemingly young and strong. But every life lost must grip us with a sense of lament, that death itself is not natural but is, as the Bible tells us, an enemy to be withstood and, ultimately, undone.
That means we must listen to medical experts, and do everything possible to avoid the catastrophe we see right now in Italy and elsewhere. We must get back to work, get the economy back on its feet, but we can only do that when doing so will not kill the vulnerable and overwhelm our hospitals, our doctors, our nurses, and our communities.
And along the way we must guard our consciences. We cannot pass by on the side of the road when the elderly, the disabled, the poor, and the vulnerable are in peril before our eyes. We want to hear the sound of cash registers again, but we cannot afford to hear them over the cries of those made in the image of God….
“A life in a nursing home is a life worth living. A life in a hospital quarantine ward is a life worth living. The lives of our grandparents, the lives of the disabled, the lives of the terminally ill, these are all lives worth living,” writes @drmoore. https://t.co/a47CB8Ki2x
— New York Times Opinion (@nytopinion) March 26, 2020
The first official debate to finally pass the draft law to decriminalise euthanasia, proposed by the social democrat party PSOE, took place this week in the Spanish Parliament.
It has the support of the majority of the parties. The draft law, inspired by the Dutch and Belgian model, proposes that those who suffer a serious and incurable or disabling illness, with unbearable suffering could ask for euthanasia.
First, the patient and a doctor will have to agree, afterwards a second medical opinion is needed, then the patient will have to confirm his decision two weeks later, and 15 days later it can be made. The process will not last more than a month.
Furthermore, the law foresees the creation of a Commission for Control and Evaluation in each region, in addition to a registry of health professionals who decide to be conscientious objectors. Doctors who allege this cause must do so in writing.
The draft law must now go through the Health Commission, go back again to the Parliament and, finally, to the Senate. A process that could be resolved before summer.
But while his family, and his physician, agree on the need for more advanced care, his health insurers do not.
Medicare does not generally cover long-term nursing home care. Medicaid does, but only when it deems those services “medically necessary” — and that determination is made by insurance agents, not by the patient’s doctors. The state of New Jersey, where my parents live, recently switched to a managed care system for its elderly Medicaid recipients. Instead of paying directly for the care that this patient population needs, the state pays a fixed per-person amount to a string of private companies, who in turn manage the needs of patients like my father. On paper, these companies cover the full range of required offerings: nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and a suite of in-home support services. In practice, they do what most insurance companies seem to do: obfuscate and evade and force you to beg.
When I told my father’s care coordinator what his doctor said, she was unequivocal. “He is not even close to qualifying,” she said. “He’s only 78, and he can still walk and wash and dress himself without assistance.”
I countered that he had “bathroom issues” and that he frequently refused to shower.
“Refusing to do something is not the same as being physically incapable of doing it,” she said.
About four million Americans already live with dementia. Medicare doesn’t cover long-term care. Medicaid does, but it’s super tricky, and most don’t get even close to what the docs say they need in terms of support: https://t.co/HmKOvHdSmS
— Jeneen Interlandi (@JInterlandi) December 1, 2019
Bob Orozco barks out instructions like a drill sergeant. The 40 or so older adults in this class follow his lead, stretching and bending and marching in place.
It goes like this for nearly an hour, with 89-year-old Orozco doing every move he asks of his class. He does that in each of the 11 classes he teaches every week at this YMCA in Laguna Niguel, Calif.
“I probably will work until something stops me,” Orozco says.
He may be an outlier, still working at 89, but statistics show that there may be more people like him in the near future. About 1 in 4 adults age 65 and older is now in the workforce. That number is expected to increase, making it the fastest-growing group of workers in the country.
Older adults are turning their backs on retirement for many reasons. Some, like Orozco, just love what they do. Others, though, need the money, and there are a lot of reasons why they do.
— Anthony Washington (@coach_wash) October 6, 2019
Across the country, suicide rates have been on the rise, and that rise has struck the nation’s seniors particularly hard. Of the more than 47,000 suicides that took place in 2017, those 65 and up accounted for more than 8,500 of them, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Men who are 65 and older face the highest risk of suicide, while adults 85 and older, regardless of gender, are the second most likely age group to die from suicide.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 47.8 million people over the age of 65 in the U.S. as of 2015. By 2060, that number is projected to reach 98.2 million.
People 65 and older now account for about 1/5 of all suicides in this country. As part of our series on suicide, @nprscottsimon reports on what’s behind that grim statistic, and what’s being done to address it.https://t.co/oG5rsJqyoY
— Weekend Edition (@NPRWeekend) July 27, 2019
Americans ages 60 and older are alone for more than half of their daily measured time – which includes all waking hours except those spent engaged in personal activities such as grooming. All told, this amounts to about seven hours a day; and among those who live by themselves, alone time rises to over 10 hours a day, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
In comparison, people in their 40s and 50s spend about 4 hours and 45 minutes alone, and those younger than 40 spend about three and a half hours a day alone, on average. Moreover, 14% of older Americans report spending all their daily measured time alone, compared with 8% of people younger than 60.
While time spent alone is not necessarily associated with adverse effects, it can be used as a measure of social isolation, which in turn is linked with negative health outcomes among older adults. Medical experts suspect that lifestyle factors may explain some of this association – for instance, someone who is socially isolated may have less cognitive stimulation and more difficulty staying active or taking their medications. In some cases, social isolation may mean there is no one on hand to help in case of a medical emergency.
People ages 60 and older currently account for 22% of the U.S. population – 73 million in all. It’s estimated this share will rise to 26% by 2030, fueled by the aging of the Baby Boom generation. The well-being of older adults has become a topic of much interest both in the United States and in other developed nations, particularly as it relates to social connection.
How many of your waking hours do you spend alone every day?
For 73 million Americans who are ages 60 and older, it’s more than seven hours a day. And for 16.7 million Americans who are 60 and older *and* live alone, it’s more than 10 hours a day.https://t.co/BsvYZXIQhu
— John Gramlich (@johngramlich) July 3, 2019
Maine legalized medically assisted suicide on Wednesday, becoming the eighth state to allow terminally ill people to end their lives with prescribed medication.
Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, who had previously said she was unsure about the bill, signed it in her office.
Oregon was the first state to legalize such assistance, in 1997, and it took over a decade for the next state, Washington, to follow suit. While still controversial, assisted suicide legislation is winning increasing acceptance in the United States, and this year at least 18 states considered such measures.
Maine’s bill would allow doctors to prescribe terminally ill people a fatal dose of medication. The bill declares that obtaining or administering life-ending medication is not suicide under state law, thereby legalizing the practice often called medically assisted suicide.
The proposal had failed once in a statewide vote and at least seven previous times in the Legislature. The current bill
Maine is now the 8th state to legalize medically assisted suicide https://t.co/lDMAU9BCjU
— TIME (@TIME) June 12, 2019
As our time drew to a close, I felt compelled to ask Palau how he faces the sunset of his life. In A Life on Fire, he deals quite candidly yet encouragingly with his illness. I wondered what he might tell Christians in similar circumstances who might be tempted to fall into despair.
With a slight laugh, Palau said, “Now that I’m sick, I have more authority. I tell people I’m dying, and suddenly they listen to you.” A short while later, he addressed the issue head-on. “Every campaign, I always talked about heaven. So, to me, it is as real as flying to New York, only better. But the fact is that Satan attacks, and he’ll use all his stratagems to make you feel guilty or lose faith or despair. Be ready for that. I went back to Hebrews 8, 9, and 10 … all of those passages about this intercession for us, the assurance. Go back to that. Don’t read too many other books about heaven. Just read what the Bible says. Underline those passages. Take it to heart. Make notes to yourself that the One who is seated in heaven covered all your sins. Don’t let Satan lie to you that some sins are unforgiven. They’re all forgiven. They’re all cleansed.”
Perhaps it was cliché to ask, but I couldn’t resist: “It’s one thing to be passionate, starry-eyed, and eager in your 20s and 30s. But as you’ve aged and are now facing this possible closing of your life here, do you still feel that you are living a life on fire?”
“Yes. I am,” he said confidently. “The only regret is that the body won’t respond.” Ever the evangelist, Palau takes to the airwaves if he can’t be somewhere in person. For him, media interviews are “a chance to speak these wonderful truths one last chance [while] alive.”
“I’m still on fire, praise the Lord,” he said.
Luis Palau’s latest book isn’t merely a memoir.
It’s a tribute to lives that shaped him into the fiery Latin American evangelist who continues to touch so many https://t.co/ayDJsXKEXk
— Christianity Today (@CTmagazine) June 10, 2019
Hunger among senior citizens is in many ways an invisible crisis, but the troubling reality is that 5.5 million older Americans are skipping meals or going entire days without eating anything. And with more Baby Boomers leaving the workforce every year, the problem is getting worse, not better, even with a strong economy.
“Oftentimes, all food insecurity is under the radar, but this is a really, really important topic,” said Craig Gunderson, the lead author in The State of Senior Hunger report released Tuesday by Feeding America, a Chicago-based nonprofit that operates 200 regional food banks and 60,000 food pantries around the country,
“I don’t think we’re talking nearly enough about this issue,” said Gunderson, also the director of undergraduate studies at the University of Illinois, who has spent his career researching issues of food insecurity and making policy recommendations on how to curb it.
For these senior citizens — your parents and grandparents — aching questions about the availability of food never go away, and many go at least a day without eating to stretch their limited incomes farther, Gunderson said. As with America’s hungry kids, depression rates and medical costs soar when older Americans don’t have enough nutritious food in their pantries.
— New Orleans Patch (@NewOrleansPatch) May 14, 2019
Every morning on her way to school, Hwang Wol-geum, a first grader, rides the same yellow bus as three of her family members: One is a kindergartner, another a third grader and the other a fifth grader.
Ms. Hwang is 70 — and her schoolmates are her grandchildren.
Illiterate all her life, she remembers hiding behind a tree and weeping as she saw her friends trot off to school six decades ago. While other village children learned to read and write, she stayed home, tending pigs, collecting firewood and looking after younger siblings. She later raised six children of her own, sending all of them to high school or college.
Yet it always pained her that she couldn’t do what other mothers did.
“Writing letters to my children, that’s what I dreamed of the most,” Ms. Hwang said.
This is an incredible story (with an incredible opening image) about late age Korean women learning to read in local schools left empty by a lowered national birthrate https://t.co/MQUFXI6hc3
— Derek Blasberg (@DerekBlasberg) April 29, 2019
In her work, but also while visiting with her mom, Feldman considered the enormity of the Alzheimer’s problem: About 5.8 million Americans now have the disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. That number will climb to at least 13.8 million by 2050, a 138% rise, and as many as 1 in 3 people who live to be 85 in the United States will die with Alzheimer’s disease.
“We are really in an epidemic,” Feldman said, driven largely by baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964), who are growing older and coming to an age when the disease most commonly strikes.
— GoodQuestion (@GQinterview) May 6, 2019
(Chek News) Sunday Mental Health Break–Hundreds of students give Comox 88 year old who waved to them on the way to school one final wave goodbye
Students from Highland Secondary School in Comox have been waving back at Tinney Davidson for years but on Thursday, hundreds of students gathered in front of her home to say one final goodbye.
“Oh lovely thank you,” said Davidson as she sat in a chair on her front porch.
Tinny Davidson is now 88-years-old but in 2007, when she and her husband moved into the home on Guthrie Road near Highland, they started waving to students every day and soon the students began waving back. A bond between generations was born.
“I just liked the look of the children and they all looked in and I thought if they’re looking in, I’ll wave to them and that’s how it started,” said Davidson.
CHEK News has interviewed Tinney Davidson several times over the years and our first story about her in 2014 made headlines around the world.
On Thursday, 100s of students crowded her front lawn after school to say goodbye before she moves into an independent living facility.
Read it all and do not miss the video.
He pointed to a “woefully unprepared” U.S. population.
“In the decades to come, we will witness millions of elderly American’s, Baby Boomers and others, slipping into poverty.” he said in a podcast this week with the Peak Prosperity blog. “‘Too frail to work, too poor to retire’” will become the new normal for many elderly Americans.”
Siedle threw out some startling numbers to show just how much pensions are underfunded, a pervasive problem made worse by their inability to reach performance targets, which is typically set around 7%.
“Warren Buffett BRK.A, +1.41% himself has said that is an unrealistic return,” Siedle said in the interview. “Wall Street’s solution to every investor problem is, and will always be, pay us more fees.”
Investors then pay those higher fees for “ever riskier rolls of the dice,” in an effort to chase returns, which “has resulted, predictably, in worse performance.”
“‘Too frail to work, too poor to retire’” will become the new normal for many elderly Americans.” https://t.co/9RCCLyyP73
— Retirement 360 (@Retirement_360) April 13, 2019
Professor Weale, emeritus professor of political theory and public policy at University College London, said he saw no reason why the RCP’s governing council had decided to abandon its previous position, which stated the organisation could not support changing the law on assisted suicide.
“There seems to be no chain of coherent reasoning leading to the council’s own position – a situation I regret deeply,” he said.
He also attacked the handling of the survey of doctors which led to the change in stance.
The poll asked doctors if the RCP should be for, against or neutral on assisted suicide; 43 per cent voted for opposition, 32 per cent backed changing the law, and just 25 percent voted for neutrality.
But unlike previous polls on the same question, the RCP’s council had decided in advance they should automatically switch to neutrality unless any of the three options was backed by a super-majority of 60 per cent.
As a result, the RCP announced last month it would be neutral on the issue, despite only one in four doctors endorsing that position.
My exclusive in Sunday’s @Telegraph:
‘Not coherent and unfair’: Professor quits Royal College of Physicians in protest at new neutral stance on assisted suicidehttps://t.co/isa6azYzIu
— Tim Wyatt (@tswyatt) April 8, 2019
(Scotsman) Majority of Scots back assisted suicide according to poll done by group which favours the practice
Nearly nine in 10 people in Scotland support legalising assisted dying, according to a new poll. The Populus survey, commissioned by campaign group Dignity in Dying Scotland, found 87 per cent backed the move for terminally ill people with less than six months to live, with medical approval and safeguards. Just 8 per cent of people were opposed while the remainder said they did not know. The results, from a survey of 1,057 adults last month, were released as the campaign group starts a national advertising drive calling on people to help legalise assisted suicide. Campaigners want the Scottish Parliament to legislate to allow terminally ill, mentally competent adults to have the choice of an assisted death.
Nearly nine in 10 people in Scotland support legalising assisted dying, according to a new poll.https://t.co/t7VxFSlgno
— The Scotsman (@TheScotsman) April 2, 2019
From there: Speaking following the Royal College of Physicans’ announcement of the adoption of a ‘neutral’ position on assisted dying The Bishop of Carlisle, James Newcome, said:
“We note the RCP’s decision, and welcome the President’s assurances that the RCP will not be focusing on assisted dying, instead continuing to champion high-quality palliative care services, an emphasis that the Church of England shares and has always encouraged.
“We also recognise that fewer than one third of RCP members wanted the College to support a change in the current law prohibiting assisted suicide while fewer than a quarter said they would participate in assisted dying should the law change.
“The Church of England’s position remains to affirm the intrinsic value of every human life and express its support for the current law on assisted suicide as a means of contributing to a just and compassionate society in which vulnerable people are protected.”
To survive, Jorge, who requested that his last name not be used for this story to protect his health information, sells fruit on the side of the road. “Rain or shine, cold or heat, I still have to work,” he says.
Most days, it’s the heat he struggles with the most, and in recent years, the city has felt hotter than ever.
“When you work in the streets,” Jorge says, “you really feel the change.”
And it may only be getting worse. The 2018 National Climate Assessment noted that the southeastern United States is already experiencing “more and longer summer heat waves.” By 2050, experts say, rising global temperatures are expected to mean that nearly half the days in the year in Florida will be dangerously hot, when the combination of heat and humidity will make it feel like it’s 105 degrees or more.
RT NPR: Holder and her FCCA colleagues are also working to educate other nurses and physicians who may not yet understand the links between their patients’ changing health and the changing climate around them.https://t.co/n6cynFjomT pic.twitter.com/GJqw1QfZNA
— John Hutchinson (@JohnTheHutch) March 30, 2019
New Jersey is set to become the latest state to legalize assisted suicide, as both chambers of the state legislature have passed a bill allowing the practice, which Governor Phil Murphy (D) says he will sign.
“Allowing terminally ill and dying residents the dignity to make end-of-life decisions according to their own consciences is the right thing to do,” said Murphy on Monday, who has in the past spoken about his “strict Catholic” upbringing.
“I look forward to signing this legislation into law,” he said.
New Jersey Catholic leaders have been firm against the progress of the new law.
“Assisted suicide promotes neither free choice nor compassion,” a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Newark told CNA.
“Every gift of human life is sacred, from conception to natural death, and the life and dignity of every person must be respected and protected at every stage and in every condition. Catholics should be leaders in the effort to defend and uphold the principle that each of us has a right to live with dignity through every day of our lives.”
One of the many moving stories told pic.twitter.com/WzpGOGHvNf
— Madeleine Davies (@MadsDavies) March 23, 2019
–Shared by yours truly in the morning sermon–KSH.
Arnie Rosen, a retired doctor and amateur musician, created the “Band Grandpas” program in Rockford, Illinois so senior instrumentalists can help students and spread the joy of music.
For Americans under the age of 40, the 21st century has resembled one long recession.
I realize that may sound like an exaggeration, given that the economy has now been growing for almost a decade. But the truth is that younger Americans have not benefited much.
Look at incomes, for starters. People between the ages of 25 and 34 were earning slightly less in 2017 than people in that same age group had been in 2000….
The old are getting richer, and the young are getting poorer: Over the past three decades, the net worth of the 65+ age group has risen more than 60%. The net worth of the under-45 age group has fallen more than 30%. https://t.co/Dy6nDstoAf pic.twitter.com/jBF2VolFVw
— David Leonhardt (@DLeonhardt) January 28, 2019
…over the long run it will matter. The boomer conservatives, raised in the era of Reagan, generally believe in universal systems — universal capitalism, universal democracy and the open movement of people and goods. Younger educated conservatives are more likely to see the dream of universal democracy as hopelessly naïve, and the system of global capitalism as a betrayal of the working class. Younger conservatives are comfortable in a demographically diverse society, but are also more likely to think in cultural terms, and to see cultural boundaries.
Whether on left or right, younger people have emerged in an era of lower social trust, less faith in institutions, a greater awareness of group identity. They live with the reality of tribal political warfare and are more formed by that warfare.
I guess the final irony is this: Liberal educated boomers have hogged the spotlight since Woodstock. But now events are driven by the oldsters who fuel Trump and the young wokesters who drive the left. The boomers finally got the top jobs, but feel weak and beleaguered.
“In the age of social media, virtue is not defined by how compassionately you act. Virtue is defined by how vehemently you react to that which you find offensive.” https://t.co/oWFuaRvEps https://t.co/oWFuaRvEps
— Ismail Royer (@IsmailRoyer) December 5, 2018
A study by the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis finds that about 40% of middle-class Americans will live close to or in poverty in retirement
• Two in five – or 40% – of older workers and their spouses will be downwardly mobile in retirement.
• If workers ages 50-60 retire at age 62, 8.5 million people are projected to fall below twice the Federal Poverty Level, with retirement incomes below $23,340 for singles and $31,260 for couples.
• 2.6 million of 8.5 downwardly mobile workers and their spouses will have incomes below the poverty level – $11,670 for an individual and $15,730 for a two-person household….
For those who are in or nearing #retirement, please remember to consult your financial advisor if you have any questions or concerns about the 2.8% increase in social security checks https://t.co/9E4PopLmh8
— David Stone (@ThePowerofaPlan) November 15, 2018
A Dutch “positivity trainer” has launched a legal battle to change his age and boost his dating prospects.
Emile Ratelband, 69, wants to shift his birthday from 11 March 1949 to 11 March 1969, comparing the change to identifying as being transgender.
“We live in a time when you can change your name and change your gender. Why can’t I decide my own age?” he said.
A local court in the eastern city of Arnhem is expected to rule on the case within four weeks….
Nearly half of middle-class Americans face a slide into poverty as they enter their retirement, a recent study by the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at the New School has concluded.
That risk has been driven by depressed earnings, depressed asset values and increased health-care costs — causing 74 percent of Americans planning to work past traditional retirement age. Additionally, both private and public pension plans have been allowed to become seriously underfunded. So what can be done?
Fundamental changes in the structure of the U.S. economy, combined with increased health-care costs and lack of saving, have created a financial trap for millions of American workers heading into retirement.
Roughly 40 percent of Americans who are considered middle class (based on their income levels) will fall into poverty or near poverty by the time they reach age 65, according to the study.
Fundamental changes in the structure of the U.S. economy, combined with increased health-care costs and lack of saving are creating a future road to poverty for much of the middle class https://t.co/gflU6zR4Qe @ElliotDofCowden
— Albert Fong (@albertfong98) October 12, 2018
“…it’s becoming increasingly clear that stereotypes of marijuana users as risk-taking disaffected youth are outdated in the era of legal marijuana, with middle-aged and even older Americans becoming more likely to use the drug than their children and grandchildren.”
(Wash Post) American Medical Association rejects maintaining its opposition to medically assisted death, deciding instead to keep reviewing the matter
A recommendation that the American Medical Association maintain its opposition to medically assisted death was rejected Monday, with delegates at the AMA’s annual meeting in Chicago instead voting for the organization to continue reviewing its guidance on the issue.
Following a debate on whether the nation’s most prominent doctors’ group should revise its Code of Medical Ethics, the House of Delegates voted by a margin of 56 to 44 percent to have the AMA’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs keep studying the current guidance. That position, adopted a quarter-century ago, labels the practice “physician-assisted suicide” and calls it “fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer.”
The council spent two years reviewing resolutions, not so much on whether to support the practice but on whether to take a neutral stance on what has become a divisive issue among health-care providers. The group’s report sought to find common ground, noting, “Where one physician understands providing the means to hasten death to be an abrogation of the physician’s fundamental role as healer that forecloses any possibility of offering care that respects dignity, another in equally good faith understands supporting a patient’s request for aid in hastening a foreseen death to be an expression of care and compassion.”
(Usa Today Op-ed) Daniel Payne–Assisted suicide is not about autonomy. It’s a tragedy that we shouldn’t allow
The skeptic might ask: Why object to legalized suicide, particularly where terminally ill patients are concerned? If people want to take their own lives, why should anyone feel entitled to stand in the way?
The answer is twofold. For one, we should not as a rule grant doctors the prerogative to help kill their patients. The whole history of medicine has been one of improved healing or, in terminal cases, reduced suffering; euthanasia, which devalues life to the point of liquidation, is the precise opposite of good and responsible medical care. To legalize suicide in this way is to weaponize the medical system against the very people to which it should be most attentive.
On a deeper, more substantive level, legalized suicide strikes at the heart of one of the most indispensible ideas in human history: That every human life is precious beyond reckoning and worthy of both honor and protection. Killing someone, even someone who is already dying, directly controverts this principle; you cannot inject people with fatal doses of barbiturates without declaring, however implicitly, that their lives are worth less than an artificial minimum standard.
Those who advocate for legalized suicide see it as a matter of radical autonomy: We should leave it up to each individual to determine the worth of his own life, up to and including an act of suicide. But this is simply an evasive, almost cowardly instance of passing the buck. If you are actively or even passively complicit in an act of euthanasia, you cannot say you do not, in some way, agree with the suicidal person’s assertion that his life is a waste and that he is better off dead.
It is philosophically unavoidable.
After legalizing abortion and same-sex marriage in recent times, Portuguese lawmakers will decide Tuesday on another issue that has brought a confrontation between faith and politics in this predominantly Catholic country: whether to allow euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide.
The outcome of the vote is uncertain and is likely to be close, but Portugal could become one of just a handful of countries in the world to permit euthanasia under certain circumstances.
Euthanasia — when a doctor kills patients at their request — is legal in Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. In Switzerland, and some U.S. states, assisted suicide — where patients administer the lethal drug themselves, under medical supervision — is permitted.