Monday, April 26, 2010

Suicide as a Long-Term Care Plan #2

While I was venting my frustration with the suicide-as-a-long-term-care-plan strategy, my colleague, an investment counselor, remarked that these folks should “put that in writing and give it to their kids.”

For once I was speechless. I really had to think about the ramifications of what he said.

At some point everyone who is aging will need services, equipment, and medical treatment---long-term and/or short-term.
Somehow these have to be paid for or donated---individual resources, family, friends, local organizations, government.
When I think about all the people I know who do not have kids to notify---do they send their intentions to their siblings, friends, and people at church?

How would this notice read? For example:

“This is to let you know that I have decided to make no provision for my needs as I age. I am opting to commit suicide at the point when I can no longer take care of myself. I do not want to be a burden. I am not expecting you or anyone to take care of me. You are all officially off the hook.”

We are really dealing with two groups. One, the huge number of people (70+) who could never have imagined living so long let alone amass the resources to fund these decades given the realities of today’s aging milieu. For example, my oldest client just died at 102.

The second group, to which I belong, are the 40-70 group. We have to face up---longevity will be the norm, an expensive norm. For us, planning and providing for old age is not just about taking care of ourselves---in my opinion it’s a much more life-affirming way to let others “off the hook.”

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