Each month the Age-Friendly Society is host to an information session for seniors living in the South Cariboo with guest speakers focused on topics that are generally suggested by members and session attendees.
This month the discussion at the Creekside Senior Centre was medical assistance in dying. The society arranged for local physician Dr. Montgomery to come and speak in regards to the selected topic.
According to Mary Shennum, vice chair for the Age-Friendly Society, more than 120 people attended the educational event.
“We generally have between 75 to 100 people attend,” said Shennum. “We were really pleased to have a turnout like this, so obviously, it was a topic that people wanted to hear.”
Shennum said the information session explored the law regarding medical assistance in dying, who is eligible and how someone can access this service and what other alternatives are available.
In British Columbia, a patient must meet all of the criteria, in order to be eligible for this medical assistance. According to the government website, a person must:
– Be eligible for health services publicly funded by a government in Canada, such as being registered or eligible for B.C.’s Medical Services Plan.
– Be at least 18 years of age and capable of making decisions about their health.
– Has made a voluntary request for medical assistance in dying that, in particular, was not made as a result of external pressure.
– Has given informed consent to receive medical assistance in dying after being informed of the means that are available to relieve their suffering, including palliative care or have a grievous and irremediable medical condition, which means they have a serious and incurable illness, disease or disability.
– They are in an advanced state of decline that cannot be reversed.
– The illness, disease or disability or that state of decline causes them enduring physical or psychological suffering that is intolerable to them and cannot be relieved under conditions that they consider acceptable; and
– Their natural death has become reasonably foreseeable, taking into account all of their medical circumstances without a prognosis necessarily having been made as to the specific length of time they have remaining.
Shennum said the presentation was very organized and informative.
“It was clear and understandable how this works,” said Shennum. “It’s not assisted suicide and that is what people may equate it to and it is definitely not that. I think people walked away with knowledge about this subject.”
The next Age-Friendly Society information session will be held at the Creekside Seniors Centre on Nov. 28., beginning at 1:30 p.m. Shennum said the information session will revolve around the topic of making your home safe.