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Who works and who cares? The Total Social Organisation of Labour in the context of a ‘telecare’ intervention to promote older peoples’ independence at home

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Susan Baines, Professor Rob WilsonORCiD, Professor Mike Martin


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This paper is about innovations intended to help improve quality of life for older people, and reduce costs. Such innovations are often referred to as ‘telecare’. We draw upon evidence from a recently completed project known as Older people’s e-services at home (OLDES), funded by the European Commission under the Ambient Assisted Living priority for the Ageing Society. The eleven OLDES partners developed and installed technologies offering entertainment and health care for older people in their homes. OLDES had two aspects: a feature called ‘tele-accompany’ involving a ‘digital companion’ to combat the isolation of older people living alone, and health monitoring consisting of sensors for vital functions and movement detection. The technologies were trialled in Prague (heath monitoring only) in the Municipality of Bologna in the Italian region of Emila-Romagna (health and ‘tele-accompany’). The authors examine the new affordances or interconnections presented by their introduction, and what emerges from this for health and care providers, carers (paid and unpaid), voluntary organisations, and older people. We propose that Glucksmann's framework of the Total Social Organisation of Labour (TSOL) has potential as an explanatory tool for telecare interventions within a mixed economy of care. We adapt TSOL to help make sense of changing forms of work and care associated with new technologies in the home, against a background of overlapping relationships between organisations, professionals, volunteers, carers, and older people themselves

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wilson R; Baines S; Martin M; Richter R

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 13th Biennial Conference of the Society for Community Research and Action

Year of Conference: 2011