On Sunday June 17, citizens in the Swiss Canton Vaud will be voting on a referendum on whether or not to allow assisted suicide groups to work within the nursing homes.

Exit, the leading assisted suicide group in Switzerland, has been pushing its way into Swiss nursing homes. Exit, who are celebrating 30 years as a group, are an assisted suicide group that works by selling memberships to people who support the concept of assisted suicide and then charging fees to people when they aid their suicide death.

The question that the people of the Canton Vaud will vote on is: Should we require the EMS to accept assisted suicide within their walls? Notice that the question isn’t should it be an option - or should their be access to assisted suicide, the referendum will require nursing homes to allow groups like Exit to set - up shop within the confines of the nursing home.

A recent article indicates that in the German speaking parts of Switzerland, already 50% of the nursing homes allow Exit to enter their institution to promote an assisted suicide death. Considering the scourge of elder abuse within western society, Exit should be barred from trolling the nursing homes in Switzerland. The Canton Vaud has, until now, resisted Exit from entering the nursing homes.

The people of the Canton Vaud need vote against this referendum and tell Exit to stay away from their seniors.

All this occurs two days after World Elder Abuse Prevention Day (June 15) and it is occurring during the World Federation of Right to Die Societies conference in Zurich Switzerland. I fear that the media attention being placed on the euthanasia conference in Zurich will influence the people of Vaud to vote in favour of allowing Exit to enter the nursing homes.

What is ridiculous about this proposal is that many people within nursing homes already feel abandoned by their family and friends and many of them are experiencing abuse from people who they are dependent upon.

Elder abuse in long-term care facilities is common and recently elder abuse prevention programs have started tackling this pervasive problem. A study that was done in 2010 of nursing home staff found that 50% admitted to abusing or neglecting residents at some point while another study done in 2010 found that 7% of all complaints in nursing homes related to abuse or neglect. These are American statistics but I am sure that elder abuse exists within Switzerland.

Some facts related to elder abuse:

* 85% of elder abuse goes unreported.
* 1 in 9 Americans over the age of 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse.
* 67% of elder abuse is done by family members, who the person is dependent on.
* 50% of people with dementia experience abuse.

The people of the Canton Vaud need to tell Exit to keep away from their seniors. It is bad enough that people feel so rejected by others that they “voluntarily” contact Exit, it is another thing to allow Exit to troll the halls of the nursing homes looking for people who are willing and financially able to pay them for death.