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Ready to give up on life

the lived experience of elderly people who

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Ready to give up on life

the lived experience of elderly people who

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Samenvatting

In the Netherlands, there has been much debate on the question whether elderly people over 70 who are
tired of life and who consider their life to be completed, should have legal options to ask for assisted
dying. So far there has been little research into the experiences of these elderly people. In order to
develop deliberate policy and care that targets this group of elderly people, it is necessary to understand
their lifeworld. The aim of this paper is to describe the phenomenon ‘life is completed and no longer
worth living’ from a lifeworld perspective, as it is lived and experienced by elderly people. Between April
to December 2013, we conducted 25 in-depth interviews. A reflective lifeworld research design, drawing
on the phenomenological tradition, was used during the data gathering and data analysis. The essential
meaning of the phenomenon is understood as ‘a tangle of inability and unwillingness to connect to one's
actual life’, characterized by a permanently lived tension: daily experiences seem incompatible with
people's expectations of life and their idea of whom they are. While feeling more and more disconnected
to life, a yearning desire to end life is strengthened. The experience is further explicated in its five
constituents: 1) a sense of aching loneliness; 2) the pain of not mattering; 3) the inability to express
oneself; 4) multidimensional tiredness; and 5) a sense of aversion towards feared dependence. This
article provides evocative and empathic lifeworld descriptions contributing to a deeper understanding of
these elderly people and raises questions about a close association between death wishes and depression
in this sample.

Toon meer
OrganisatieHogeschool Windesheim
Gepubliceerd inSocial Science & Medicine Elsevier, Amsterdam, Vol. 138, Pagina's: 257-264
Datum2015-05-13
TypeArtikel
ISSN0277-9536
TaalEngels

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