Timely Responses: Using Surveillance Technologies to Support Dementia Care

Astrid Meyer*, Anders Albrechtslund

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

Publikation: KonferencebidragKonferenceabstrakt til konferenceForskningpeer review


Recently, a new legal framework in Denmark opened up for use of surveillance technologies such as GPS-tracking and door alarms to support care and safety for people with dementia with wandering behaviour. These are solutions that aim to make it easier to mitigate and prevent wandering in dementia through the use of alarms and movement trackers.

Based on ethnographic observations and interviews, we explore how relatives, caregivers and people with dementia use surveillance technologies. In the field we encountered the notion of a “timely response” as a key value supporting the use of these technologies. However, what a timely response meant, would depend on the situation and context. For example, a GPS-tracker can be an extra safety measure allowing for unsupervised walks as it makes it possible to react fast if the person with dementia gets lost. Meanwhile, a GPS-tracker may also be used to prevent someone from walking alone by triggering an alarm when the person is about to leave.

Dementia comes with particular timelines. Aspects of these timelines shape the use of surveillance technologies as certain behaviours and symptoms emerge and develop. However, while the surveillance technologies come to frame the timelines of dementia by highlighting the need for certain reactions at certain times, we argue that the use of surveillance technologies in dementia care also shape what is considered a timely response. To make this point, we draw on the co-constitution of aging and technology (Peine & Neven, 2021). In attending to how the use of surveillance technologies in dementia care can take on many different roles, we thus frame it in a cyclical understanding where dementia’s timeline at once is shaped by and shapes the use of surveillance technologies.


Peine, Alexander, and Louis Neven. 2021. “The Co-Constitution of Ageing and Technology – a Model and Agenda.” Ageing and Society 41 (12): 2845–66. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X20000641.
StatusAccepteret/In press - 2023
Begivenhed Times of Surveillance - King’s College London, London, Storbritannien
Varighed: 3 apr. 20234 apr. 2023


Workshop Times of Surveillance
LokationKing’s College London


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