We love what personal digital assistants like Amazon's Alexa can do for older adults. They offer endless applications to make life easier, safer and more enjoyable for seniors.
From helping the visually impaired make phone calls to helping those with mobility issues unlock the front door or open the lights using a voice command, Alexa is making it easier for older adults to live independently, in their own homes, longer.
But even with all those benefits, Amazon has been hard at work creating an app that would help family caregivers and the ones they're caring for.
One of the challenges Amazon tried to overcome was the potential intrusiveness of some caregiving technologies. So while it's possible to put a camera in ever room, it may not be an acceptable infringement on privacy. That's why we really like Amazon's new Caregiving app for Alex and Echo - it straddles the need for privacy with the benefits of remote oversight really well.
Here are some of our favorite features.
Instead of calling in to see if your mom is ok, the Alexa Care Hub can provide you with a feed notifying you of your mother's activity. You can get a snapshot of their activity by category, like listened to music or watched a movie. But you can also set it up so that your phone gets notified when they first use the system in the morning. That way, you'll know they're up an ok, without having to place an invasive call.
If your parents need help, all they have to do is say the word "help" to Alexa and you will be called and sent a notification. At that point, it's up to you whether you want to call 911 or head to their house on your own.
Here's a list of other Alexa applications and instructions we think make Alexa ideally suited for seniors, more so than a phone, tablet or desktop computer.
- Alexa, play the news
- Alexa, play jeopardy
- Alexa, call Trish
- Alexa, remind me to take my medications
- Alexa, play Mozart
- Alexa, turn on the bedroom lights
- Alexa, set the living temperature to 72 degrees
- Alexa, turn on the coffee maker
- Alexa, set an alarm for 3PM
- Alexa, what's the weather today
- Alexa, what's my calendar today?
- Alexa, play Headspace meditation
- Alexa, turn on the TV
HOW TO GET STARTED
It's simple to get started. First you have to get an Amazon Alexa digital voice assistant. Just get one of the Echo's. Your biggest choice will be to get an Echo with a screen (great so your parents can do video calls, and watch the news, movies, recipes etc...) or an Echo without a screen (simpler, may be less confusing for some).
Once you have the hardware, you simply download the Alexa App, and it's a free feature in the app. Simple as that!
If you're looking over your parent, the Alexa Care Hub, may be just the perfect, non-invasive solution to putting your mind at ease, that your mom is ok and she can easily call you for help in the event of an emergency - even if she can't reach the phone, remember your number or see the digits on the dialing pad.
Regardless, if you don't have a version of Amazon's Alexa, we strongly suggest you get it and give it a try. It can make life a whole lot easier for your mother or father and it's very affordable.