Aarhus Universitets segl

English abstract

SIGNS OF LIFE [LIVSTEGN]: Surveillance technologies for a safe and dignified life with dementia

The main objective of the project is to develop an ethical framework for the use of surveillance technologies to manage the issue of elderly with dementia walking away from their homes (ambulation). Ambulation is a significant problem in the care for citizens with dementia, and Danish municipalities try to provide solutions through different methods, including using technologies for monitoring and tracking individuals.

However, a number of difficulties can be identified, not simply concerning legal limitations or technical challenges, but also about sustaining a secure and dignified life for elderly with dementia. We will investigate and evaluate the use of surveillance technologies for securing citizens with dementia who ambulate as well as preventing insecurity and vulnerability experienced by relatives and nursing staff.

A premise for the project is the involvement of citizens with dementia, relatives and staff in the process of identifying and handling practical and ethical challenges, as well as in the testing and investigation of surveillance technologies and workflows. At the same time, it is necessary to develop a philosophical foundation for understanding ethical concepts central to the project such as “dignity” and “privacy”.

The project is especially relevant in light of new legislation allowing for a wider use of technologies in care practices. In the past, surveillance technologies in connection with the care of citizens with dementia were defined as use of force which involved authorisation and oversight by authorities.

The project is a close collaboration between researchers at Aarhus University as well as experts and practitioners from Aarhus Municipality and VIVE. It is headed by Professor Anders Albrechtslund from Center for Surveillance Studies, Department of Digital Design and Information Studies, School of Communication and Culture, Aarhus University.