Belfast Telegraph

Eamonn Holmes reveals he would rather die than suffer dementia

By Mark Bain

Belfast TV presenter Eamonn Holmes has revealed he has told his family to "take me to Switzerland and press the red button" rather than allow him to live with dementia.

Eamonn (58) said he would "rather die than lose his dignity".

He said he had watched too many relatives battle the degenerative condition.

"It's what everyone dreads. It's a long, lonely walk - one I would never want to go on," he told the Daily Mirror. "I genuinely say to all my ­children and my wife, 'Take me to a suicide clinic and press the red button'. That's what I want.

"I have no desire to lose my dignity. I just don't want that to happen to me. However controversial that may sound, that is my genuine wish."

Eamonn (right) has four children, including three from his first marriage, and son Jack (16), who he shares with his wife Ruth Langsford (58). But he admitted that Ruth, his co-host on ITV's This Morning, is not quite so matter-of-fact about things.

"Ruth puts her fingers in her ears when I talk about it," he said. "Would they ever carry out my wish? I don't know. But they know it's what I would want."

Last week Eamonn revealed he had lost 30% of his hearing at the age of 50, and he has also discovered that his chances of ­developing dementia could be higher due to his hearing issue.

The fact that he watched many relatives ­deteriorate slowly has led him to think about his own mortality:

"Ruth's dad, Dennis, passed away after battling dementia and I'm pretty sure two of my uncles, my grandfather on my dad's side, and my aunt Phyllis - who died last year - all had it," he said.

"You watch them deteriorate. I watched my aunt for 10 years. The law in the UK should be changed to allow for assisted suicide. I don't understand this country. The constant excuse not to let people die as they want.

"The questions asked are to protect the few: 'What about the weak?' 'What about the vulnerable?'

"What about the rest of us? Everyone has the right to live as they like, but when it comes to death we put restrictions on that.

"If you have at least two doctors who agree with the diagnosis, it should be your choice."

Speaking of his own health, he added: "I've had both hips done, but at least I still have my mind.

"My hearing has been a problem since I was in my 30s. Crowded restaurants were awful because all I could hear was a load of babble.

"Parties were just as bad. Watching movies was terrible. There are only so many times you can wind back a film and try to lip-read, or meet someone and say, 'Pardon, what did you just say?'."

If you are affected by any issues in this article contact the Samaritans on 084 5790 9090 or Lifeline on 080 8808 8000.

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph