Senior chooses medically assisted death due to lockdown

Senior chooses medically assisted death due to lockdown

A senior citizen in Toronto, Ontario chose to end her life rather than continue to live in isolation due to the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Nancy Russell, 90-years-old, opted for a medically-assisted death due to anxieties and fears she had over an extension of the lockdowns which left her feeling isolated from her family. 

Russell was described by her family as being exceptionally social and spry, with her daughter saying "Being mobile was everything to my mom."

But COVID-19 restrictions in nursing homes ended Russell's ability to go on her daily walks, library visits, and to participate in entertainment activities at her Toronto-area nursing home. Her children describe plastic dividers in the dining rooms, and that her visits to the garden were heavily supervised. 

"She, almost overnight, went from a very active lifestyle to a very limited life, and they had very early on a complete two-week confinement to just her room." Her daughter told CTV.

Dr. Samir Sinha, a specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital, reiterated the devastating effects lockdowns have had on senior citizens.

"And frankly, when you can't look forward to getting out of your room, to having meals or doing activities with others, to even seeing your own families and loved ones, you can imagine for a person in the last few years of their life where these are the basic things that actually bring them joy and really defined what they would call their own quality of life, when you actually deprive a human being of these things, you can imagine that that can have significant psychological consequences that can really give people no real will to live anymore.”

Some in the field of medically assisted death report more seniors inquiring about assisted death, and that lockdowns are accelerating the timelines among seniors already considering medically assisted deaths.

More than 70% of those who have died in Canada due to COVID-19 have been over 80 years old. Researchers have predicted that Canada will experience a sharp spike in suicides due to extended lockdowns.