This article argues for a re-conceptualisation of care relations and uses the re-conceptualisation to scrutinise the way in which technology is adopted in eldercare practices. First, it draws on the definition of care as attentiveness to vulnerability, as used in the tradition of care ethics. Second, it specifies four essential aspects of care relations: relationality, dyadic mutuality, corporeality and devotion. Third, using socio-technical and phenomenological perspectives, care relations are contrasted with the idea of intertwining technological and human actors in care practices. Finally, using two adaptations of telecare as examples, the essential aspects of care relations are shown to be crucial for a thorough socio-technical understanding of eldercare and technology.
The article elaborates what aspects of knowledge eldercare workers describe concerning everyday long-term care practices. The article utilises a thematic analysis of Finnish long-term care workers’ semi-structured interviews (n = 25), and in doing so, it contributes to the discussion concerning the epistemological basis of care. The analysis specifies four aspects of knowledge in long-term care work: objective/objectifying, particular, corporeal and tacit. In line with existing literature on knowledge and care, the findings indicate that rational-technical epistemological approaches are insufficient when complex and fluid care relations are concerned. Moreover, cognitive impairments and other particularities of eldercare provide previously under-researched epistemological perspectives for consideration.