Saskatoon woman Jean Hopkins, 93, wants right to die

Jean Hopkins says when her quality of life starts to deteriorate, she wants to bring in her friends and family, have a little party, take a pill and go to bed to die.

Jean Hopkins says she doesn't want to wait until she is on life supports to die

Jean Hopkins, 93, wants the right to die. (Dan Zakreski/CBC)

Saskatoon's Jean Hopkins started thinking about how she wanted to die six years ago, when she was 87. She was in Victoria, where she met an older woman, who wanted to have a party with friends and family, take a pill and go to bed..

"I thought, what a great idea," Hopkins said.

Hopkins, 93, enjoys a "relatively good" quality of life. She can walk with the aid of a cane or a walker. She lives independently and can take care of herself, but she has no intention of living out her final years or months in a hospital bed, on life supports.

"I know of so many people who have had no quality of life," she said. "They don't know their family. They are in bed. They have to be diapered. I don't want any of that."

Hopkins, who lives in a seniors complex in downtown Saskatoon, said many of her friends and neighbours agree with her.

"Our hospitals are full and nursing homes are full of people, who have no quality of life, " she said. "They have no hope of getting better. And it costs the province and the family a lot. It's hard on the family and I think we've got to do something about it."

Assisted suicide is permitted in Switzerland, the Netherlands and five U.S. states. In June, Quebec became the first province in Canada to allow euthanasia.

In October, the Supreme Court of Canada will take another look at the question of assisted suicide, which is now considered a criminal act. The court will hear appeals from the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, involving two women who have challenged Canada's law against euthanasia.

Hopkins is keenly interested in what the court decides. She wants her doctor to administer the medication that will end her life.