To the editor: In the last seven years of her life, my mother had dementia before she died in 2007. So I read Nicholas Goldberg's column on the extension of the state euthanasia law to patients with Alzheimer's with great interest.
I watched my mother lose the ability to take care of herself. I watched her memory erode as she fell back in history every day, first in the 1940s, then in the 1930s.
But what kept me healthy was the fact that she was in no pain. It was we, your loved ones, who suffered because this was not the person we had known.
In many ways, I agree with Goldberg, who watched his mother get worse from Alzheimer's. However, if we try to include dementia patients in euthanasia laws, we must practice euthanasia.
We, as loved ones, may not like what we see, but ask yourself if your mother or father is really suffering – the answer is no. Now ask who this idea would actually help and help. The answer is you, not it.
Practicing euthanasia is not the solution.
Martin Mangione, Placerville, California
To the editor: Yes, it is time that people with dementia come under the California euthanasia law.
I watched my grandmothers and mother deteriorate. All three were strong, active and intelligent women.
Throughout my life, I have followed diet, exercise, and lifestyle suggestions that can prevent or slow the development of Alzheimer's disease. I volunteer in a care facility for older adults with cognitive problems, including Alzheimer's. I teach older adults in a brain exercise class.
Still, I'm less than 100% sure that all of this will make a difference, and I despair at what I could become because I saw this face. Whatever fortune I have built, it is not up to my children and grandchildren when it is consumed by the overpriced long-term care industry.
Elizabeth A. Quintella, Carpinteria