Here’s a new word for you: senilicide. Never heard of it? Neither had I, until I started doing some research on elder abuse because of a situation my mother is in at the moment. Senilicide is the killing off of old people. Well, they are the most dispensible in times when there isn’t enough food for everyone. But there are other ways of killing off old folks besides putting them out to sea on that proverbial ice floe. Abandonment in a hospital, for example, rather than letting them die comfortably in their own home. Which is what is happening right now for my mother.

It’s something we all have to think about. Parents get old. They cared for you when you were young, no matter how imperfectly. Heaven knows, my mother was no angel. But don’t they deserve our care and respect at the end of their lives? Most of us will find ourselves in the position of needing to be cared for as the end approaches. How will we be treated?

This has been an upsetting situation for me (as well as for my mother), at a time when I couldn’t do anything about it. I’ve expressed my dilemma in a blog for Psychology Today, called “Facing Senilicide.” You can read it at and then come over to my Facebook page and comment there. Be the change you want to see in social consciousness – it may be you someday that is saved.

Deborah King