Discussion 5-6 Bioethics and the Elderly

Twice a Child…

Most people are familiar with the adage “once a man, twice a child.”  This saying, which also applies to women, recognizes that we come into this world as children, and as time progresses, we return to that child-like state later in life.  As children, in our “first” childhood we are considered somewhat incompetent and we are dependent on others for our care.  As adults in our “second” childhood, we are often placed into a precarious position because we must balance the accepted autonomy of adulthood with the realism that help may be needed.  In this second childhood, competency may also be challenged.

With the larger number of people reaching that “second” childhood, we as a society must recognize key bioethical issues that may arise in the elderly population.  Issues like quality of life, healthcare, and independent living should always be considered during these later stages of life.  For this discussion, please read the attached article.  After reading the article, please select one of the top-ten ethical challenges addressed in the article (see the table on page 3).  For the challenge that you select:

  1. Explain the challenge
    1. Discuss why this challenge is an ethical issue
    1. Explain how you believe the challenge can be overcome

***Each challenge can only be used twice.  Please make sure to review the selections prior to posting as duplications will not be accepted***

*** The article focuses on ethical issues facing elderly Canadians, but please remember that these same issues can be experienced worldwide***

 Breslin, JM, MacRae, SK, Bell, J, Singer, PA, and the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics Clinical Ethics Group. Top 10 health care ethics challenges facing the public: views of Toronto bioethicists (2005). BMC Medical Ethics, 6:5.

Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1180442/pdf/1472-6939-6-5.pdf 

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