An elderly couple in Belgium were euthanised earlier this year, after planning it with the help of their children who said they would be unable to care for either parent if one of them died.
Known only by their first names, François, 89, and Anne, 86, both received regular medical treatment for age-related illnesses, but were not terminally ill.
Their son, Jean-Paul, said it would be “impossible” for him and his siblings to look after either their mother or father.
Moustique, a Belgian online news service, has published an interview with the couple and Jean-Paul, which was given before their death in June this year.
François said: “It’s as simple as this: we are afraid of what lies ahead. Fear of being alone and above all, fear of the consequences of loneliness.”
Jean-Paul said euthanasia was the “best solution”, because if one of them died, the other “would be so sad and totally dependent on us”.
“It would be impossible for us to come here every day, to take care of our father or our mother”, he added.
Anne and François said they were also concerned that a good retirement home would be too expensive for them.
François commented that originally they had arranged to commit suicide together, but their children insisted they find a doctor to euthanise them.
Belgium legalised euthanasia in 2002, and since then the practice has been extended to children.
The son of a lady who was euthansied in Belgium because she had depression has challenged the country’s law in the European Court of Human Rights.
Opponents of assisted suicide in the UK have used Belgium as a prime example of a dangerous ‘slippery slope’ if the practice is legalised.
Exit International, a group which campaigns to legalise euthanasia, has opened a London office after its UK membership hit 1,000.
The controversial organisation, which was originally set up in Australia, provides advice and equipment to help people kill themselves.
The group was founded by Australian doctor Philip Nitschke, who is known as ‘Doctor Death’.
Members of the organisation are required to pay membership fees.
Kevin Fitzpatrick, of the anti-euthanasia group Not Dead Yet, commented: “This is a suicide club, in that you have to pay membership fees.
“Nitschke is not only playing on people’s emotions, but he is profiting from them.”