Tiredness of life: the growing phenomenon in western society


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Molly was 88 years old and in good health. She had outlived two husbands, her siblings, most of her friends and her only son.

“I don’t have any meaningful relationships left, dear,” she told me. “They’ve all died. And you know what? Underneath it all, I want to leave this world too.” Leaning a little closer, as though she was telling me a secret, she continued:

Shall I tell you what I am? I’m strong. I can admit to myself and to you that there’s nothing left for me here. I’m more than ready to leave when it’s my time. In fact, it can’t come quickly enough.

I’ve interviewed many older people for research. Every so often, I’m struck by the sincerity with which some people feel that their life is completed. They seem tired of being alive.

I’m a member of of the European Understanding Tiredness of Life in Older People Research Network, a group of geriatricians, psychiatrists, social scientists, psychologists, and death scholars. We want to better understand the phenomenon and unpick what is unique about it. The network is also working on advice for politicians and healthcare practices, as well as caregiver and patient support.

Professor of care ethics Els van Wijngaarden and colleagues in the Netherlands listened to a group of older people who were not seriously ill, yet felt a yearning to end their lives. The key issues they identified in such people were: aching loneliness, pain associated with not mattering, struggles with self-expression, existential tiredness, and fear of being reduced to a completely dependent state.





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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Carol
    May 12, 2023 @ 22:02:33

    I believe if you truly have a profound relationship with GOD, you won’t be waiting but rejoicing in old age. Because we’re not perfect, the goal is to never stop trying. That should keep us quite occupied.



  2. Peace Truth
    May 13, 2023 @ 05:44:24

    I believe until you walk in her shoes, the study is a perfect trial. As I was reading in the depth of sorrow, I also noted hearing the dear describe her human loves of the past intensely… She is now attending the folk in Eden to go home to Heaven to join her beloved past joys… God knows best… He will be there to take her… People sense God. Is there anyway. Working in a hospice is an experience and blessing. Whether you are aged or young with terminal illness whisper to same words that we are reading… Compassion, love, honour is not learnt, inside this lady knows the joy of going home 🏡😌😌



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