Project Timeline 2005–2010

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A Day in 2018: #14

Categories: General, Stories Composed by OTB Participants
Date: 30 April 2008

The Carer – Wednesday April 18th 2018

You’ve asked me to diary my day for your media research project. I hope this is useful to you.
I’m retired, in my 50’s, and for the past 12 months have been living with my mother who is in her early 80’s. I am also my mother’s carer. Although I’m with mum most days, I’m also actively undertaking a doctoral program at university.

Mum’s mostly physically inert, but likes to “do things herself” when and where she can. Not so much an Internet surfer as a “furniture surfer” these days, navigating between mobility aids inside and out. We argue a lot about this. I think it’s a state of denial. She thinks I’m controlling.

Our unit is wireless networked for converged multimedia services with a number of devices. “Dom Care” looks after some of mum’s specific services and devices, and run excellent workshops from the Neighbourhood centre to support this. Mum has no interest in attending these workshops, but it provides me with what I need to know to assist her remote service needs.

We’re always awake early long before sunrise and both start our Wednesday accessing separate services, before we “rise and shine”.

Mum has an addiction to her “photoframe”. She checks this first thing everyday to see if she’s received anything new, mostly from the grandchildren. Its on the table right next to her bed, defaults to a slideshow most of the day of treasured and recent additions to her album, but can be used as a mobile device and has built in communication and media facilities. Mum disregards many of the features, but we’ve built a small social network around family contacts and she uses this, mainly to receive family generated audiovisuals and messages. This morning she’s excited about a small clip she’s received from her grandson who’s visiting us for tea.

One of the other features she’s using this morning is the radio. She likes glancing through what’s on and taking a direct connect to the news and whatever takes her fancy on her favourites page. I insist she has the alert functions switched on also in case I need to send her an urgent text message, when I’m out late, or in case she needs to get me. We only use this function occasionally but because her “frame” is networked with all my devices, and others in the unit, I know I can get to her in a hurry at home if need be, and the function is set to over-ride whatever she has on the screens at the time.

I spend the very early hours, taking a glance at my social networks, firstly to see if there’s anything urgent or interesting that’s come in from my overseas supervisor, or my doctoral research group (we are dispersed across 3 continents). Then I check out my other networks. Usually I have a few quick things (texts or audiovisuals) ready to post and share. I will do much more of this later in the day. Then I go to My News Service and surf through, viewing and tagging selected content and browsing other things that take the eye.

Then it’s into Buddhanet social realm for morning meditation discourse and practice with my remote Sangha.

Mum prefers the physical company of her friends and so her real day begins after breakfast when she sets off to her regular Wednesday Bridge group, two streets away. She prefers to get herself there on her gopher if the weather’s OK and likes to pick up some small items from the local shops on the way home. I have to remind her we have an appointment for the Dom Care assessment team at 2.00pm. so she must leave after lunch, no later, no matter how the game is going. I don’t like the “gopher trips” as there have been a few incidents near our place involving attacks on elderly women, but I have some security in that I can track her movements at home on the screens. Mum values her privacy and thinks this is unnecessarily invasive but is willing to compromise to put my mind at ease. I’m not sure I would like it if she wanted to track my whereabouts.

While mums away I spend time in research mode with the Doctorate. I’m building “my library”’ from a host of different local and international library resources. My topic is investigating “the role of locative media in the community arts sector”. One of my key resources is Audiovisual Australia, a recent interactive channel that been formed through partnerships between the restructured Australian Media Corporation (the old ABC) and libraries and screen bodies across Australia who’ve aggregated their av archives and content for a number of access levels and purposes on this channel. I have a full, free and open access subscription with the course and am keen to work out some way to keep this afterwards, even though it’s expensive outside the educational arenas. Its an amazing resource and allows me to search, do visual annotations, edit and also share vast archives of local material that I had no idea existed. It’s in strong demand across a number of research fields.

I have a quick check on mum’s whereabouts after lunch and see she’s nearly home so that’s good. It’s difficult to reschedule appointments with Dom Care who will want to connect with us at 2.00pm on the dot. I get the screen in the lounge room ready and indicate we are online.

All goes well. We are conferencing with mum’s doctor and the rest of the team about records and documents we’ve exchanged in her “care file” since her last assessment. We have a look at a video I’ve taken of some problems she’s having with her exercise regime and receive advice on how to modify some things. There’s no need to update mums level of care at this stage though and she’s really pleased about that report, as the ratings revisions are really the steps closer to a nursing home.

Mum has a rest while I prepare some research material to share with my research group in England and Germany. I notice mum has her “frame” active and is browsing though some of her favourite catalogues shopping for things she’ll review and purchase later.

My nephew George arrives for tea and we compete for his attention to update what’s been going on with us. Mum’s “frame” of course takes first call as she navigates her favourite photos and events on the lounge room screen.

George is doing a film course through a co-operative arrangement between Indonesia and Australia and takes us on a journey from his mobile connection, through a music and media-producing venture he’s been involved with, with some students in Indonesia. He calls up some other sites for us to visit with him.
We have a lively discussion about the social landscape in Australia. Despite many aspirations, investigations and targeted programs the situation on the urban fringes is getting worse with populations of diverse disadvantaged groups growing strongly every year. We argue and disagree about what role the lack of access, and isolation from the communication services we take for granted has in all this.
George tells us he’s going back to Indonesia next month to crew on his friends films and is going to use our base tonight “if its OK with nana”, to hook up a virtual studio with them to work on some production concepts.

It’s time to retreat to our individual entertainment spaces and services.