Can technology provide ‘care’ for older people?
“What is the benefit?”
“I don’t need it”
“I don’t have time for gadgets”
Can technology be embraced if its purpose is shunted, and the subject closed off before the conversation has even begun? Never mind the question of whether technology can provide ‘care’ for older people?
What about technology that could be potentially life-saving?
With an ageing population, inevitably, there is an increase of people who live alone, some live far from their families and in many ways many feel incredibly isolated.
You may have heard of Telecare already; a range of remote care technologies and services developed to accommodate an ageing population whilst helping people to stay in their homes. It can be worn as an alarm around the neck or the wrist and connects to a hub and telephone line to a remote monitoring telephone centre.
If the user is in a situation where they may need help, they can press the alarm and an alert is registered. The telephone operator makes contact and organises help if required. In the event of an emergency they can get in touch with the emergency services, alternatively if this isn’t necessary, they can contact the nominated registered person. This person, usually a specific family member or friend, can then take the call and will often then go round to the house to check that they are ok.
Can this form of technology be considered ‘care’?
PHD Researcher, Gigliola Brintazzoli, at the School of Applied Social Science, has conducted research into this and how care in person, and care at a distance, both interconnect with how older people perceive themselves in their own home.