P11 Digitalization and its effects on elder care work, welfare and citizenship

Panel Chairs:
Luciana Lolich, Virpi Timonen and Jari Pirhonen

Corresponding Chair:
Luciana Lolich, lolichl@tcd.ie

Recently we have witnessed a move towards the digitalization of health and social care services, including care services for older adults. It is argued that the digitalization of public services makes life easier for service users, by solving problems that users cannot solve alone and established services cannot cover. In addition to elder care provision, everyday lives and consumption habits of many older adults have been affected by digital technologies such as smartphones, tablets, computers, apps and trackers. Digitalization and digital technologies can be beneficial for older adults, for instance by helping them to stay connected with friends and family or to support ageing-in-place. Indeed, older adults have become one major target group for technology development. However, people in charge of developing these technologies often frame older adults as ‘laggards’ in the innovation process (Gallistl & Wanka, 2019). It is common for health and social care professionals to refer to older people as completely ‘out of touch’ and ‘out of reach’ of digital technologies; and indeed many older adults are de facto excluded from digital services This poses challenges to care recipients, digital infrastructures and care service conceptualization and provision.

For this panel we invite contributions that explore digitalization and its effects on elder care work, welfare and citizenship, including but not limited to:

  • What groups of older adults are considered in the ideation and development of digital care, welfare and other technologies?
  • What are the implications of digitalization of health and social care services for older adults?
  • Have we given due consideration to the ethical aspects of using technology in health and social services?
  • What are the possible vulnerabilities of care technology (and how should services systems acknowledge those)?
  • How, if at all, are user experiences taken into account when digital technologies are developed?
  • What conceptualisations of the older person and the professionals underlie these technologies?
  • What are the benefits and risks of using technology in health and social care? What are the challenges with regard to technology literacy and attitudes towards take-up of digitalization among health and social care professionals?
  • What kinds of systemic and structural changes are required for successful adoption of digital technologies the in elder care and welfare sectors?

If interested, please send an abstract (max 500 words including references).