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August 11, 2022


10+ Ways Alexa Can Help Seniors and Caregivers

Technology is now central to life for most of us. It’s the key to convenience, connection, and, for many seniors, a key to maintaining independence. With seniors more tech-savvy than ever, tools like Amazon Alexa can be more helpful than you think. From safety to medications to shopping to tasks around the home to health and wellness, here’s how Alexa makes life easier for seniors and their caregivers.

The Facts on Alexa

“Alexa, what’s the weather today?” Of course, most of us are familiar with the virtual assistant AI technology developed by Amazon, if only by name, but it offers much more than listening to music, audiobooks, news, and weather. In fact, since its launch, Alexa has gained more than 100,000 skills.

How does it work? When you talk to Alexa, you are actually communicating with a cloud-based service that has been integrated into Amazon devices such as the Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, and Fire TV, in addition to other Alexa-compatible devices. So just say, “Alexa,” and you can get the information you need or perform the task you want without lifting a finger.

All you need is an internet connection and an Amazon account to use.

How Alexa Can Help Seniors

There are endless ways Alexa can help seniors on a daily basis. Its straightforward voice technology makes Alexa easy to learn and hands-free, which is an added bonus for seniors. Alexa can help seniors in these ways and more:

  1. Regular and Emergency Calls – Using voice control to make calls is much easier for seniors who may have trouble seeing, pushing phone buttons, using touch capabilities on cell phones, and of course, in emergencies where you can’t get to a phone.
  2. Medication Reminders – Seniors can set reminders that help them remember to take and/or refill medications. Moreover, some pharmacies have Alexa skills that scan prescriptions and automatically set reminders.
  3. Doctor Appointment Scheduling – Use the built-in calendar feature to add upcoming appointments plus advance reminders. And again, some healthcare systems also allow appointment scheduling through their Alexa skills.
  4. Family Member Drop-Ins – This allows family members to “drop in” and check on a senior by letting them start a call or video through Alexa’s voice command.
  5. Answering Medical Questions – Seniors can ask Alexa common medical questions and get answers from trusted resources like Mayo Clinic and the CDC.
  6. Smart Home Features – Alexa can also control your smart home devices, giving seniors a hands-free way to manage thermostats, electronic devices, doorbells, and more.
  7. Setting Alarms and Making Lists – From reminders to exercise to getting the mail at a certain time to making to-do tasks to grocery lists, Alexa can help seniors keep organized.
  8. Burglar Deterrent – This Alexa skill mimics real-life sounds like dogs barking, babies crying, and other sounds to make it seem to a would-be intruder that someone is home even when the senior is away.
  9. Accessibility – Alexa’s extra speaker skill can help hearing impaired seniors by connecting to smart speakers around the home to keep the sounds of TV, radio, and phone calls close to them.The Amazon Echo has a bright, colored display screen that can turn into acaptioning device for TV shows, podcasts, and more. In addition, Alexa’s Show and Tell helps seniors who are blind, have low vision, or have cognitive difficulties in that you can pick up an item and place it in front of the Amazon Echo camera and ask, “What’s in my hand?” for identification.
  10. Online Shopping – Aside from making grocery lists, if Amazon Fresh is in your area, seniors can prompt Alexa to place the order just with their voice. You can do the same if you’re ordering from Amazon Prime.

For caregivers, Alexa Together can notify you when a family member uses their Alexa device, offer a feed of interactions they had with Alexa throughout the day, and function as a quick way to get emergency services and a hold of each other in the case of an emergency. Alexa Together also offers fall detection via sound or a pendant worn around the senior’s neck.

Alexa Also Helps with Whole Life Living

Alexa can help seniors with healthy aging, too, and we love to see it with residents at GenCare. Our signature Whole Life Living program is a personalized, holistic approach to wellness, which takes our belief that a healthier life is a happier life and puts it into action through four facets: eat better, move better, think better, and live better. Here’s how Alexa can support our approach:

  • Eat better – Alexa can provide healthy recipes, reminders to eat on a regular schedule, and keep track of your grocery list.
  • Move better – Set reminders to stretch, walk a mile, or even just general prompts to exercise.
  • Think better – Alexa can help you find brain games to help you keep sharp and set a time of day to do crossword puzzles, listen to current events, and pursue hobbies.
  • Living better – This facet of Whole Life Living is about pursuing purpose, and Alexa can help by listing ways to volunteer, clubs to join, classes where you can learn new skills, or even simply local events to enjoy.

For more information on how Alexa can help seniors with healthy aging, contact a GenCare Lifestyle community near you, stop by, or schedule a tour today!

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