The development and growth of social alarm services within countries of the European Union has been extremely variable. This is unsurprising given the different national contexts; their particular heritage and idiosyncrasies in relation to housing, social welfare and health/medical services; and the mixed array of equipment that has been developed and marketed.
And despite the gradual moves towards the adoption of more shared perspectives among EU countries and some shared trends away from forms of institutional provision for older people, it should not be assumed that a common approach is either appropriate or necessary. Indeed, the contrary is probably the case in view of the varied frameworks of service provision and different built forms to which they relate. Such differences become evident in this chapter.
What is clear is that in all countries the role of social alarms crosses professional boundaries. The effectiveness of the technologies and the services that depend on them is, therefore, frequently compromised as a consequence of poor coordination (King, 1993, p 13). This is, perhaps, an inevitable outcome of the promotion of care in the community in contexts where existing service frameworks had been established with other objectives in mind. The old perspectives associated with more institutional forms of provision are being discarded with difficulty. The discussion (in Chapter Two) of the potential for such technologies to liberate their users seeks to redress such matters and, where endorsed, can help underpin changes in approach.
Some generalisations can be made and become evident from the ensuing descriptions for a selection of countries in the European Union:
In almost all of the EU countries examined in this book, as with Great Britain and Ireland, there is emphasis on the development of care in the community (Walker, 1993, p 5).
|May 2022 onwards||Past Year||Past 30 Days|
|Full Text Views||0||0||0|