This past spring, a right-to-die law took effect in California, permitting residents of San Diego County who are terminally ill to make the decision to end their lives through doctor-prescribed medications. As an article from NBC News explained back in June 2016, California’s “End of Life Option Act” made the state the fifth in the nation “to create a legal process for patients to obtain aid in dying.”
While the law comes with many protections to prevent a situation in which a person takes life-ending drugs without making that choice for him or herself, numerous elderly safety advocates have voiced concerns about how the law could enable certain forms of elder abuse, particularly among patients with dementia. At the same time, however, some Californians think the law has not gone far enough to protect patients suffering from dementia. What do you need to know about the law and how it may impact elderly patients affected by Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia?
Understanding the Key Tenets of the End of Life Option Act