Surveilled While Wandering: Using Empirical Ethics to Address the Roles of Emerging Dementia Care Technologies

Astrid Meyer, Anders Albrechtslund, Stinne Ballegaard Aaløkke

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Embedded in the Danish research project LIVSTEGN (translates to Signs of Life), this paper aims to develop an ethical framework for the use of surveillance technologies to support care for people with dementia. Focusing on people who, as a result of dementia, have a tendency to wander and get lost, we address how surveillance technology practices intertwine with care practices in a nursing home setting. Our paper relies on a wide array of experiences from people living with dementia, as well as people affiliated with dementia in their personal and professional everyday lives. Through interviews and participatory design based workshops, residents with dementia, relatives and care staff, take on a leading role in terms of identifying ethical and practical issues. This approach allows for trying out and investigating surveillance technologies in ways that remain grounded in the everyday life of people living with dementia. With our focus on lived experiences of wandering tendencies and surveillance technologies, we put forward a framework for using emerging care technologies, based on empirical ethics. Rather than prescribe values, we look at how surveillance technologies intertwine with, and impact existing care values such as privacy, dignity and safety (Pols, 2014; Grosen & Hansen, 2020). The study draws on STS perspectives in recognising the powerful interconnection between society and technologies. In doing so, we make suggestions meant to evoke good dementia care, while simultaneously contributing to how the STS community can address the roles of emerging surveillance technologies in caring for a vulnerable group.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date7 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2021
Event4S Annual Meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science - Toronto and World-wide, Toronto, Canada
Duration: 6 Oct 20219 Oct 2021


Conference4S Annual Meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science
LocationToronto and World-wide
Internet address

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