Nan Maitland 1926 - 2011
A woman who lived - and died - by her ideals, euthanasia campaigner Nan Maitland, who dedicated her life to helping older people live out their late years in comfort and safety, has killed herself by assisted suicide.
Ms Maitland was the founder of the Society for Old Age Rational Suicide (SOARS) which campaigns for a law change over doctor-assisted death. She travelled to Swiss suicide clinic Dignitas in February, where she died on 1 March.
The 84-year-old arthritis sufferer wrote a poignant letter to friends said she chose to escape the “long period of decline, sometimes called ‘prolonged dwindling’, that so many people unfortunately experience before they die”.
In the note, printed in the Sunday Times, she added: “…for some time, my life has consisted of more pain than pleasure and, over the next months and years the pain will become more and the pleasure less. I have a great feeling of relief that I will have no further need to struggle through each day in dread of what further horrors may lie in wait”.
An occupational therapist until her retirement, she founded and was President of the brilliantly conceived Homeshare International, the charity that offers accommodation to older people, in exchange for help with household chores which she devoted herself to for over 25 years. May she rest in peace.