Life as an elderly person can have Kafkaesque aspects. For example, whether you are allowed to continue to live independently in your own apartment can depend upon whether you are trusted to follow orders for your own good in areas such as:
- Taking medication
- Walking with proper care
- Keeping your feet elevated to let various medical conditions heal
Similarly, it can depend upon whether you are deemed likely, for whatever reason, to fall.
Note: All these examples are taken directly from my family’s very recent experience, although at the immediate time we have bigger problems than that.
This raises the subject of how the elderly can be provided with precious additional months or years of independent living. when constantly attentive in-home nursing assistance isn’t affordable. Well, it won’t be long before technology can monitor all of those subjects and more, via a variety of video, audio, tactile, or motion-detecting sensors. In other words, an utter Big Brother set-up is what may allow the elderly some continued freedom.
Putting it that way illustrates that there are huge reasons to invent and commercialize this kind of technology. But clearly, once invented and deployed, that technology would be horrifically easy to abuse. That’s just one more reason we really, really need to get our collective liberty and privacy act together.
- A 2003 post speculating about multiple uses to which home monitoring technology could be put.
- A couple of academic papers about home/health monitoring kinds of technology