- What would you suggest
reliable measure of “successful” ageing in place?
reliable measure of “successful”
ageing in place is the appropriate balance between the degree of
others as well as on technology, in the broad sense of the word, on the
hand, and the degree of freedom in taking care of myself, on the other.
measure depends on a person’s character, relationships, way of life,
health, etc. as well as on historical and cultural dimensions. In other
the “success” or, better, the ethical measure for good life with regard
ageing in place comes from our ‘whoness’ or personal identity which
the interplay with other human beings in physical and digital places
shared world. The question about “success” is addressed to a personal
not to a neutral ‘what’.
- Smart homes have a role to play
in remote care for elderly people. However, what are the social and
psychological implications of the increased role of technology in
care of others takes
place in between the poles of taking the place of the other and opening
for the other to take care of herself. Smart homes and remote care
might be at
one pole or the other, or at some place in between depending on the
and the degree of personal and social freedom.
- How do we balance the issue of
autonomy in the context of smart homes for elderly people? How is this
affected when the user experiences cognitive difficulties due to
diseases such as Alzheimer’s?
is not a fixed
parameter but depends on the personal degree of openness to others and
shared world. This balance, particularly in the context of smart homes,
be thoroughly reflected, evaluated and dynamically adapted to persons
respective worlds, including physical and digital places, within a
mutual care and respect. In case of degenerative diseases such as
the balance goes towards taking the place of the other by others and/or
technology. But there might remain also some kind of personal freedom
respected and acknowledged.
- What is the ideal future for
ageing in place? Is the increased adoption of ICT solutions and “smart
necessary part of this future?
in smart homes should not be seen as a kind of Utopia – it can easily
a Dystopia of digital control and surveillance in a negative sense –
but as an
option (with different forms and degrees) for good living in physical
digital places. It might allow elderly people to retain or even enhance
freedom while at the same time relying on a familiar physical and
context where human relationships might assure them that they are
hopefully also loved.
- Given that
"successful" ageing is something to be measured or evaluated on an
individual basis, based on, as you say "person’s character,
relationships, way of life, history, health, etc. as well as on
historical and cultural dimensions", the "who" rather than the "what",
alongside the fact that smart home technology represents a vast
umbrella of devices and services, what recommendations would you give
for those attempting to evaluate the effectiveness of the smart home
concept for older people and embed the technology with fundamental
values, such as respect for privacy and dignity of older users?
Those attempting to evaluate the
effectiveness of the smart home concept for older people are already
in housing traditions with roots in various forms of being-in-the-world
might differ from the values and ways of life of the persons for whom
devices are supposed to be useful or even “successful”. Such
differences should be made explicit in
order to avoid cultural bias and technological colonialism. Feeling at
home is a key ethical issue with regard to smart homes.
The evaluation of the smartness of a smart
home does not depend originally on new technological devices and
the other way around: devices and services should be conceived and
the specific forms in which a person, a family or a whole society
freedom to reveal and conceal themselves so that they can decide who
or want to be. The vast umbrella of
devices and services should be matched with the vast umbrella of ways
giving the opportunity for people to make their own choices.
Such choices should be monitored. People
might be able to make new, informed choices in view of experiences in
places and cultures. Knowledge of such experiences might come about
and new media as well as on the basis of face-to-face meetings,
conversations, exchanging ‘good’ and ‘bad’ experiences and bringing
and expectations into the process of creating new devices and services.
the designers of devices and services for smart homes and the
take an active part in such conversations.
to Barry Guihen for the questions and to Michael Eldred (Cologne) for
critical remarks as well as for polishing my English.
March 22, 2013