Ever since my dad passed away in November, my siblings and I have been worried about my mom living on her own. She’s very capable and independent, but we still worry about her! Since many of us have Amazon Echo devices in our homes, we decided to buy one to set up in her apartment, too. You can send voice messages between Echo devices, so we thought it would be a fun way to stay in touch with Mom throughout the day.
But the more I learned about my own Echo, the more useful I realized it could be for my mom (and other seniors too!) The voice controls are easy to use, and there are no confusing buttons or screens to navigate. And Alexa, the “voice” of Echo devices, can provide all sorts of useful and helpful information that could help make seniors’ lives easier! And since I know I’m not the only one who worries about their elderly parent(s), I thought I’d share some of my ideas with you today. I think that by the end of this post, you’ll see just how useful the Amazon Echo can be for seniors!
11 Ways To Use The Amazon Echo For Seniors
1. Medication Reminders
You can set up reminders to take medications at a specific time. Just say, “Alexa, remind me to take my medicine at 8AM every day.” You can set as many reminders as necessary to cover multiple medications or different times of day.
2. Date & Time
The great thing about having Alexa around is that she never gets tired of answering your questions. Anyone who struggles with their memory can ask, “Alexa, what day is it?” or “Alexa, what time is it?” Alexa will always be happy to give the answers, no matter how many times she’s asked! :-)
The Echo can play music, radio, or audiobooks for quick and easy entertainment. Just say, “Alexa, play NPR,” or “Alexa, play popular songs from the ’50s.”
4. Jokes & Riddles
Another entertainment option that the Echo provides is jokes and riddles! Just say, “Alexa, tell me a joke!”
5. General Information
Use your echo to get information on just about anything. You can say, “Alexa, what’s playing on TV tonight?” or “Alexa, who was the 7th president of the United States?”
6. Get Reports
The Echo can give you current reports on anything you’re interested in tracking, like traffic, news, sports, stocks, and the weather.
7. Make Lists
Use the Echo to make a shopping list or a daily to-do list. Just say “Alexa, put milk on my shopping list,” or “Alexa, put ‘do the dishes’ on my to-do list.” Whenever you’re ready to hear the whole list, just ask Alexa to read it out for you (or you can view the list on the Amazon Alexa smartphone app on iOS or Android.)
8. Control Smart Home Devices
The Echo gets even more useful when you connect it to your smart home devices. If you have smart home devices like light bulbs, locks, or thermostats, you can control all of them through your Echo. Just say, “Alexa, turn the lights on in the living room,” or “Alexa, set the temperature to 72 degrees.”
9. Personal Alerts
You can use your Echo to easily send alerts to friends and family when you need help. There’s an Alexa Skill called “Ask My Buddy” that allows you to designate contacts to alert if you find yourself in need of help. Set this skill up on your parent’s Echo, and they’ll be able to tell Alexa to alert you via text or call when they need help. It’s not a substitute for calling 911, but it will definitely give you more peace of mind!
10. Calls & Messages
You can send messages or make calls between Echo devices. So if you have one at home and your mom has one at her house, you can quickly send a voice message to her device. The blue light at the top of her Echo will light up to let her know she has a new message. All she has to do is say “Alexa, play my messages!”
11. Alexa Is Always Improving
The Echo is constantly being updated with new features, and Alexa is always learning new “skills.” Check out this link for full information on new skills, apps, and more!
A Few More Things To Know About Echo…
- For an Echo device to work correctly, it needs to be plugged in and connected to a WiFi network. You’ll also need to use a smartphone or computer to complete the setup process.
- To ask Alexa a question or to give a command, you need to start by saying “Alexa…” (Saying “Amazon…” or “Echo…” will also work.) It can be tricky to remember, so it’s really helpful to put a note on or near your Echo as a reminder. Even a note as simple as “Say Alexa!” can help avoid confusion and frustration!
- In order to play music using your Echo, you’ll need to connect it to an Amazon account that has an Amazon Music subscription (You can also connect Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM, or other music/radio subscription services through the Amazon Alexa app).
Have you used devices or new tech to help your parents or other seniors? Tell me about it in the comments below!