Durham Geographies of Health and Wellbeing present:

Cracks in the door? Technology and the shifting topology of care
Prof Christine Milligan, Lancaster University
A seminar on Wednesday 4th May, 2-4pm
Room W010, Geography Department
Chair: Prof Sarah Curtis

Abstract: The rapid growth of new and emerging care technologies (NCTs) targeted at supporting the care needs of frail older people within the home has been accompanied by an ideological shift toward ‘ageing in place’. Combined with the current and projected growth of those in the older age groups and growing concerns about a potential ‘care crisis’ as the demand for care exceeds provision, this ‘technological fix’ opens up some new and potentially challenging possibilities for redressing the so-called ‘care gap’. At the same time, these dilemmas raise important questions about how older people actually experience new care technologies and the extent to which they may act to reshape both the nature of care and the places within which that care is performed. Drawing on recently completed research conducted across Europe, this paper suggests that whilst it may be possible to render some care technologies relatively invisible, the installation of technologies designed for surveillance and monitoring can create a fundamental shift in older people’s sense and experience of home. It is suggested that NCTs have the potential to reshape not just the relationships between people and things that occur within the physical structure of the home, but also the feeling and sense of ‘being at home’. Any attempt to understand the effects of care technologies thus brings into focus the complexity of home as both a site of affect, social interaction and personal meaning, and as a site of care.

Christine Milligan is Professor of Health and Social Geography and Director of the Centre for Ageing Research at Lancaster University, UK. She has researched and published widely on geographical perspectives of informal sector health and welfare. Her recent book: There’s No Place Like home: Place and Care in an Ageing Society (Ashgate, 2009), summarises her particular interests in active ageing, care and the home and new care technologies to support ageing in place. Christine is also widely known for her work on voluntarism and social welfare, and has a growing interest in ethics and research in the social sciences. She has been involved in numerous international and national research projects and is Associate Editor of the International Journal of Health and Place.

All welcome – attendance is free of charge. Directions to the Geography Department (#40 on map) can be found here.


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