Year: 1998 Source: Journal of Gerontological Social Work, v.29, no.2/3, (1998), p.13-38 SIEC No: 20020645

Contemporary debates about assisted suicide, concern over treatment of the frail elderly, & anxieties about the future of Social Security all revolve around a primal fear: loss of dignity in old age. Dignity is a standard by which we measure conduct, our own or others. We call on the idea of dignity when we describe an act as ‘undignified’ & thereby condemn it as unworthy of us or unworthy of the agent who acts in an undignified fashion. Therefore, dignity probably matters most in old age. (25 refs)