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Keywords:

  • technology;
  • ageing;
  • technogenarians;
  • coercion;
  • austerity;
  • independence

Abstract

In recent years images of independence, active ageing and staying at home have come to characterise a successful old age in western societies. ‘Telecare’ technologies are heavily promoted to assist ageing-in-place and a nexus of demographic ageing, shrinking healthcare and social care budgets and technological ambition has come to promote the ‘telehome’ as the solution to the problem of the ‘age dependency ratio’. Through the adoption of a range of monitoring and telecare devices, it seems that the normative vision of independence will also be achieved. But with falling incomes and pressure for economies of scale, what kind of independence is experienced in the telehome? In this article we engage with the concepts of ‘technogenarians’ and ‘shared work’ to illuminate our analysis of telecare in use. Drawing on European-funded research we argue that home-monitoring based telecare has the potential to coerce older people unless we are able to recognise and respect a range of responses including non-use and ‘misuse’ in daily practice. We propose that re-imagining the aims of telecare and redesigning systems to allow for creative engagement with technologies and the co-production of care relations would help to avoid the application of coercive forms of care technology in times of austerity.