Where is grandma? Home telecare, good aging and the domestication of later life

Juan C. Aceros, Jeannette Pols, Miquel Domènech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

© 2014 Elsevier Inc. Numerous discourses on "good aging" provide different perspectives on what older people are, what they can and ought to do, and where they should be. Policy texts often present such discourses together, as if they were aligned. In our study, we found that that these two discourses sometimes also clash under the current, concrete strategies that have been designed to help people carry out good aging. We conducted an ethnographic study on the introduction of a telecare system in older people's homes. The telecare service consisted of a personal alarm system that elderly people could use to obtain assistance at home in case of emergency. The analysis revealed that telecare arrangements shaped particular forms of good aging by demanding identity, memory, and boundary work to align the user with the system. In these practices, "active aging" and "aging in place" sometimes clashed due to the telecare requirements that proscribed a fragile, homebound user. Actual users, however, sometimes wanted to maintain their social network in places outside their homes and would rather enact images that fit the discourse of active aging. Our analysis suggested that the current different ways of framing "good aging" demand different interventions that sometimes contradict and undermine each other.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-111
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Volume93
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015

Keywords

  • Active aging
  • Aging in place
  • Domestication
  • Later life
  • Telecare

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