The Toronto Star Reports on the Issue of Euthanization of the Elderly in Southern India, a Practice Called “Thalaikoothal”

At article in the January 20, 2013 edition of the Toronto Star shines a spotlight on the trend of families performing ‘thalaikoothal’ on elderly and infirm family members in Southern India: “Although it can take various forms, a common approach is that once an elderly relative becomes seriously ill and the family can’t afford to care for the person, a date is set. Often relatives are called to say goodbye or even participate. The victim is given an oil bath, a head massage perhaps involving cold water and an exceedingly large amount of green coconut milk, leading to death.”

Elder and Older Adult rights activists in India are concerned with this trend and are attempting to bring change: “Rather than fighting entrenched culture directly, activists said, they’re trying to improve underlying social and economic conditions through education and calls for improved palliative care. Elders’ health often deteriorates for very basic reasons, they said, including untreated bedsores that lead to severe infection and, ultimately, thalaikoothal.”

Click here for the full article on thestar.com

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