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Tuesday, 20 October 2009
Essay 015 (technology for the care of the old)
You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Write about the following topic:
High technology is now being harnessed to help the elderly by providing monitoring, tracking and, perhaps one day robots as companions. Whilst there are obvious benefits for the elderly in these developments, some people are uneasy about the social consequences.
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
You should write at least 250 words.
The social consequences of using high technology in the care of the elderly, if any, are inconsequential, compared to the enormous benefits it has brought about in the lives of the aged as well as those who take care of them.
The devices that provide monitoring, tracking and many other facilities have enabled old people to have greater self-reliance. Today, they need not depend on other individuals to perform many functions, like moving about or checking their vital signs. This would give them greater independence and self confidence and definitely lead to their better emotional and physical wellbeing. For example, there are tracking devices that can help the elderly to move around without the help of a caregiver or other individuals. All these benefits that the elderly receive with the help of technology, can reduce many social issues associated with old age.
Again, many elderly people would need the help of a nurse of a caregiver, if they are bed-ridden or immobile. Although, taking care them is a very demanding job both physically and psychologically, modern equipments have reduced the workload of carers. For example, helping old people to take a bath or to move around is a physically demanding task, but devices like automated beds and modern wheelchairs have eased the tediousness of these activities. As a result, people who care for them can spend more time to interact with them and give psychological support. This can definitely have a great impact on the emotional health of old people and bring down their loneliness to a great extent. Hence, instead of leading to any social problems, the use of modern equipments can help the elderly to lead a more meaningful life.
However, there could be instances of the aged being left to the company of machines in the evening of their life, which means that they lose the proximity of their close relatives and other human beings. As human interaction is an important ingredient of the emotional health of the elderly, such a situation could make them more irritated and temperamental. Therefore, although the increasing use of the high technology is greatly beneficial for our senior citizens, the society should make sure that they are not denied of the closeness of other human beings.
When we consider the many aspects of the above discussed issue, one can certainly come to a conclusion that the use of modern devices in elderly care is unlikely to lead to any social consequences.