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Aged "should have easier assisted suicide access"

The assisted suicide organisation Exit wants to make it easier for the elderly to end their lives.

Exit, which helped 257 people to die last year, amended its statutes accordingly on Saturday, the organisation said on Sunday.

The goal is the reduction of “unnecessary hurdles placed in the way of the aged who are of a sound mind and wish to die,” the Exit statement said.

The change of Exit’s statutes comes only a week before voters in canton Zurich go to the polls to vote on a rightwing proposal to end assisted suicide.

Exit has a branch in both the German and French-speaking parts of Switzerland, and has 70,000 members.

Exit said the increase in membership by 4,000 last year was a response to moves by both local and national authorities for tighter controls over assisted suicide services.

The average age of people who ended their lives by assisted suicide in 2010 was 76, compared with an average age of 74 in 2009.

Exit, which only caters for Swiss residents, is one of two groups offering assisted suicide services in Switzerland. The other, Dignitas, has not released statistics on its services, which is also open to foreigners. and agencies


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