Securing the Elderly Body: Dementia, Surveillance, and the Politics of "Aging in Place"

Alison Marie Kenner


Aging in place, the option to grow old in one's home instead of institutional healthcare facilities, is predicated on the development of technologies and resources that network patients, caregivers, medical personnel, and third party interlocutors. Monitoring systems and other information technologies are broadly considered to be the most promising means to establish these connections, and home care technologies for elderly people with dementia comprise one of the fastest growing areas of commercial development. Grounded in the political economy of aging and understood as surveillance, monitoring technologies for the elderly highlight sociopolitical responses to aging and dementia and raise critical questions about caregiving, quality of life, and the way technological design engages with everyday rights. This paper will analyze surveillance technologies for the elderly with attention to issues of power and inequality, and how these dynamics may or may not be considered in technological design for the oldest populations

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