Reblog: Kate Christie’s blog post on the good death society blog

VSED: The Least Bad Option By Kate Christie
Published on The Good Death Society Blog, a project of Final Exit Network

(Kate Christie is a former technical and marketing writer who now primarily writes fiction. She is author of the book, The VSED Handbook: A Practical Guide to Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking. She also works with VSED Resources Northwest to promote awareness of and access to voluntarily stopping eating and drinking (VSED).)


“I don’t want to die a stranger among strangers,” my mother told me shortly before she voluntarily stopped eating and drinking in early 2020.

She had been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment more than a decade earlier, a condition that, in her case, was a precursor to full-blown Alzheimer’s disease. Her own mother had languished with Alzheimer’s in a memory care facility for nearly seven years, and my mother had sworn to plot a different end-of-life course. By late 2019, terminal dementia had drained her life of joy and connection, and due to increasingly violent emotional mood swings, she could no longer live safely at home.

Because Mom was resolute in her determination not to be placed in a memory care facility, my parents decided that it was time for the early exit she had been planning since 2016, when she first learned about voluntarily stopping eating and drinking (VSED). She probably would have chosen medical aid-in-dying (MAiD) if she had qualified, but approval for MAiD — which is only available in ten states plus Washington, D.C. — typically hinges on a six-month terminal diagnosis. For people in the rest of the country, and for all who suffer from terminal conditions like Alzheimer’s, ALS, Parkinson’s, and other slow-moving degenerative diseases, VSED is often the only legal option to hasten death…


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