John Simpson: Why suicide is preferable to an infirm old age

Kim Hookem-Smith
Yahoo Lifestyle

Legendary BBC war correspondent John Simpson has admitted that he’d prefer to resort to euthanasia than slide into an infirm and undignified old age.  The 67-year-old, who has a six-year- old son, made the controversial statement after appearing on a new BBC programme investigating old age.

[Aging: How to have a happy old age]

"I've made no secret of the fact that I would rather just sort of take a pill and end things rather than live in misery and be a nuisance to people,” Simpson said, adding, "Life is a wonderful thing, but life just in its most technical sense with just the heart still going is not worth having.

"If it were me and I saw which way the wind was blowing, I would try and find a way of avoiding it."

For the programme ‘When I Get Older’, Simpson moved in with a pensioner and visited dementia patients in a care home. Visibly moved by the experience, he broke down at the thought of being too elderly to play rugby with his son Rafe when he became a teenager.

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“I don’t want my six year-old son to have his only memory of me as a gibbering wreck. I’d rather take an early ‘out’ than just hang on for the sake of keeping on breathing and all the other bodily functions.”

Simpson’s comments come at an interesting time for the politics of euthanasia and assisted suicide, as ‘locked-in syndrome’ sufferer Tony Nicklinson awaits the verdict of a court case debating his right to die.