While we might rage about our replacement refrigerator needing to connect to the Wi-Fi, the one thing when it comes to technology that won’t send anyone over the edge is an Amazon Alexa. The number of things that Alexa can do for the older adults is mind-blowing.
Whether you're looking for ways to make your own life easier or you want to help the older adults you love move through this stage of their lives with ease, here are a few key ways Alexa can help.
1. Get Medication Reminders
Alexa is a great resource for setting reminders, but there are more robust skills that will help older folks keep track of their medications. The Medicine Tracker skill is free to enable and can let you know what your medications are when you last took them, what times you should be taking them, and more.
2. Deter Intruders
Incredibly, Alexa has a free skill called Burglar Deterrent which pulls the old Home Alone trick on any suspicious people outside. When activated, it’ll play realistic home audio such as a barking dog, baby crying, or people playing games.
As we age, we become more vulnerable (especially when we live alone). This feature can provide some extra security so that the house will be safe when you want to step out for groceries or to visit a friend.
3. Maximize Independence
Alexa’s Remote Senior Care skill that’s free to enable is a feature that lets people connect to their loved ones remotely. It’s specifically designed with seniors in mind, so it’s easy to use. This is a great feature whether people are living at home or in a senior care facility because it allows access to loved ones at any hour of the day.
4. Remember Important Dates
There’s a huge list of things that Alexa can remember, but one of the majorly helpful ones for older folks is important dates. Sure, you can write it on a physical calendar, but that requires that you remember to look at the calendar in time.
All you have to do is ask Alexa to “Remember this” and she’ll store that information for future use. This means you won’t accidentally forget a birthday or doctor’s appointment.
5. Stay Safe With Emergency Assist
Alexa’s Emergency Assist costs $5.99 a month (or $59 annually) and can be a lifesaving resource for your aging loved ones. All they have to do is say “Alexa, call for help” and a trained Urgent Response agent will connect to them and request emergency services. Think of it as Alexa’s own version of Life Alert.
6. Get Better Sleep
As we age, getting quality sleep is harder and harder. One of Alexa’s many white noise, brown noise, or background noise skills can help older people get better sleep. From listening to train ride sounds to your typical white noise static, you or your loved ones won't have any trouble setting the sheep aside and finding the niche that works.
7. More Independence for Older Adults With Disabilities
Diseases like Parkinson's and Multiple Sclerosis can really impact people as they age. Similarly, strokes (which often people are a higher risk for the older they are) can limit motor functions. Yet, people with motor function disabilities can use Alexa, too.
Using a Fire tablet and the Eye Gaze on Alexa feature, they can use eye-tracking software to engage preset Alexa functions. Everyone deserves to have as much independence as they can get, and Alexa is one way to give people back some of theirs.
8. Pay Bills on Time With Ease
If you or your loved one has an Amazon Pay account, use Alexa to help pay bills online. Simply ask Alexa to pay your mobile bill, gas bill, water bill, etc and you can bypass snail mail or make sure you’ve typed in all the numbers on your card correctly.
Paired with reminders about when your bills come due, you or your loved ones will never miss a payment on anything again.
9. Get Nostalgic With Past Comforts
Some older adults might have grown up listening to radio shows, and with Alexa’s Radio Mystery Theater, it's easy to relive those childhood evenings spent around the radio through old CBS radio programs. Take it back to the original podcasts with this cool Alexa feature.
10. Try Enriching Audiobooks
You can pair your Kindle or Audible accounts to Alexa, and it’ll be able to read the latest literary finds out loud from whatever room you want. This is great for older people struggling with mobility, focus, and/or vision loss.
Alexa Together Is Also an Option for Remote Caregiving
The list of helpful features Alexa offers is extensive, but there's also another option to support older adults. Alexa Together is a subscription service specifically designed as a "remote caregiving service" to give families and aging adults help with everyday life. All that's required is an Echo device for the supported adult; the caregiver can use the app on their phone (though if both have an Echo Show then video chat is available).
The service offers a free 30-day trial and then it's $19.99 per month. Features include:
- Customized alerts
- Hands-free access to an urgent response system
- Activity feed of the supported adult's daily activities
- Circle of Support that up to 10 additional family members can join
- Remote assist for things like shopping lists, music, and more
- Fall detection response (requires additional equipment)
- Photo sharing
Getting Older Just Got More Comfortable
From creaky joints to forgetful brains, getting older comes with a lot of new challenges. Thanks to Alexa, our later years can be a whole lot more comfortable. People can connect to family, feel safe in their homes, and carve out more independence with Alexa’s senior-minded functions.