Belfast Telegraph

Joan Collins: I support assisted dying

Joan Collins has spoken about why she refuses to shake the hands of strangers during the winter.

The 81-year-old Dynasty star is currently married to Percy Gibson, who is 32 years her junior.

Unfortunately her other half’s mother came down with a debilitating disease later on in life and witnessing what Percy and his family went through impacted Joan’s perspective on assisted dying.

“You have to enjoy life, and I live totally in the present. Touch wood, I’ve never had any health problems... but my husband Percy’s mother had Alzheimer’s and that’s a terrifying illness,” she told The Mirror.

“Somebody said to me the other day that people 100 years ago didn’t get Alzheimer’s because they died so young, and that’s true.

“So if I was in that situation, I don’t know what I would do. It would depend on how bad it is. But I agree with Dignitas, totally.”

Dignitas is a group based in Switzerland which assists those who are terminally ill or suffering with severe types of mental or physical disease with dying.

And Joan thinks people who may be suffering from acute ailments should be granted similar acts of mercy no matter what country they reside in.

“You don’t want to live like that... It is far better to drift off slowly,” she said.

“I have so many children, so many grandchildren, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, such a big family, and I wouldn’t want to inflict that on them.

“I mean, they don’t let animals carry on suffering – so why let humans live?”

However Joan, who works out three times per week and is rumoured to still be able to do the splits, keeps up on her own health.

In fact, she refuses to shake the hands of strangers in an effort to maintain vitality.

“It’s the biggest way to spread germs so I just make it a rule during the winter,” Joan said. “I don’t really care if people think I’m rude.

“Would I rather shake hands or kiss? I’d rather do neither, frankly. I’d rather do the Japanese thing of bowing gracefully...”

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