Ageing and the artefacts for living
2006 (English)In: 18 th Nordic Congress of Gerontology,2006, 2006, 376-376 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Background: There is a fundamental lack of empirical knowledge about how older people use and value technical artefacts and how new technology influence their space of action. Normally the focus is on the impacts and acceptance of a specific new artefact or technology system. By widen the perspective from the particular to the wholeness of the technology landscape we may contribute to a better understanding of how artefacts and systems can strengthen or undermine older people-s activities, participation and independence.
We report results from two studies conducted in Norrköping, 2004-2006. We have observed older persons- technology landscape, i.e. their use of tools, devices and technical systems that are available in their environments. The analytical perspective is on the functions and meanings of different artefacts as the elderly themselves assess and comprehend them and on how technology influences their doings (power to act) and future plans (space of actions).
Methods: Both studies are qualitative and based on repeated interviews and observations with a group of elderly. Study A: 12 persons, age 67-83, retired but taking part in a variety of activities. Study B: 18 persons, age 85 - 93, all living independently in their own home.
Results: The hypothesis that a person-s attitudes, when old, towards technology are a reflection of experiences during his or her life course is supported. The dominant attitude towards new technology is pragmatic. The main criteria when evaluating new artefacts is what functional need it can fulfil. An important such need is security, e.g. the possibility to get assistance if something unexpected happens during the day. There are generation or age related differences between the two groups, e.g. towards the use of a mobile phone or the Internet. The majority in both groups lacks knowledge of how to handle and understand new artefacts. For some this is compensated by support from children and grandchildren. Another argument against new technology is that it is time-consuming.
Conclusion: Older persons are well aware that new technology that may affect their daily life is spreading; they hear and talk about it but await actions until necessary. Our preliminary results emphasize the complexity of the domesticating process which seems to be particularly problematic for an old person. However, our studies consist of a small number of respondents with similar living conditions (i.e. working class background) so empirical research in other social groups is needed.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. 376-376 p.
Äldre, teknologi (elderly, technology)
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-37004Local ID: 33388OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-37004DiVA: diva2:257853