Elderly Care: From independence to interdependence
DescriptionWith an increase in family members living away from their elder parents, the technology companies are sensing a business opportunity and offering AI-based monitoring technologies as a cost-effective, alternative solution to look after the growing population of the elderly. As part of this research, I critique the design and use of such technologies as they aim to cater to any emergency 24*7 while disregarding the contextual nature of care and well-being needed for a better quality of life for the elderly. These products lay emphasis on (1) 24*7 monitoring to extend support and care in case of emergencies while adversely affecting the day to day lives of the elderly, (2) independent living leading to isolated and lonely lives, (3) peace of mind of the family members living away rather than the needs of the elderly, (4) viewing privacy as property instead of appreciating the contextual nature of privacy.
I argue for a situated approach to care, as demanded by the needs of the elderly and as mediated by the community in which they live. I hypothesize that a focus on the value of ‘interdependence’ instead of ‘independence’ will eventually lead to a better quality of life for the elderly while respecting their privacy and taking care of the need for frequent check-ins by the family members to ensure the physical safety of the elderly.