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Alexa for Seniors: Supporting Independence, Safety, and In-Home Care

September 22, 2020

Are you worried about the effects of isolation on your aging loved one who lives alone? Senior isolation is a significant issue, often leading to feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety. At Senior Home Companions, we recognize the importance of addressing these challenges. Our dedicated caregivers offer compassionate support, while innovative technologies like Amazon Echo and Google Nest provide additional layers of engagement and connection.

In this blog, we will explore how voice-activated technology, particularly the Amazon Echo, can be a game-changer in enhancing senior well-being. We'll delve into the various features of Alexa, such as the ability to make phone calls, set reminders, play music, and even control smart home devices, all of which contribute to a safer and more enjoyable living environment for seniors.

Furthermore, we will introduce Alexa Together, a specialized service designed to support the independence of seniors further and provide peace of mind for their families. This comprehensive look at how technology can be harnessed to support our elderly loved ones will offer insights into maintaining their quality of life and reducing the impact of isolation.

Stay Socially Connected

Most importantly, smart devices like the Google Nest (formerly known as Google Home) or Amazon Echo, commonly called Alexa, can keep an aging loved one better connected with friends and family. When paired with an individual’s cell phone, Alexa can make speakerphone calls and send text messages for them. The Echo Show can also make video calls on a large screen to easily stay in touch with loved ones and prevent senior isolation. 

Voice-assist technology can even be connected to your home phone service and can increase safety by calling 911 if a senior is in need. These technologies will likely require help for a senior to set up in their home, but the benefits are numerous. 

Set Reminders and Alarms

Alexa and Google can remind your aging loved one to take medications at certain times, even multiple times a day or on a specific schedule per day or week. They can also personalize a wake alarm for morning or nap times, and set timers for cooking, exercise or other timed tasks. 

Check News and Current Events

Voice assist technology can be customized to your aging loved one’s location, and can check the current weather, traffic and local or national news. Seniors will love asking Alexa any number of questions, such as conversions for baking, history questions, or just about any fact that can be searched online. Older adults with dementia or memory loss will find great benefit to being able to ask questions repeatedly and receive an instant answer. 

Enjoy Fun Entertainment

Google and Alexa can both play music and podcasts, as well as read audiobooks via services like Audible or Google Play Books. There are also many fun games to play on these smart devices, like trivia questions, song quizzes, joke generators and more. Staying engaged with activities like these can help prevent senior isolation in your loved one. The Amazon Echo even has licensed games like “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader,” “Deal or No Deal,” and “Jeopardy!”

Alexa Together: A Supplemental Aid to In-Home Caregiving

In addition to the many features mentioned above, Amazon released Alexa Together, an innovative service by Amazon that complements in-home companion care. It enhances the safety and independence of seniors, acting as a supplementary tool alongside the essential care provided by caregivers.

Understanding Alexa Together

Alexa Together is a subscription-based enhancement for any compatible Alexa device, specifically designed with the elderly and their caregivers in mind. It doesn't replace the human touch and expertise of in-home caregivers but serves as an additional layer of support, ensuring a comprehensive care environment.

Key Features of Alexa Together and Their Role in Supplementing Care

  • 24/7 Emergency Response: While caregivers offer immediate help during their presence, Alexa Together provides a safety net during times they are away. Seniors can access emergency assistance at any time with just their voice, bridging the gap when a caregiver is not present.
  • Remote Assist: This feature allows caregivers to remotely manage Alexa settings, aiding in tasks like setting reminders and organizing lists. It’s a digital extension of the caregiver’s assistance, ensuring continuity of care even from a distance.
  • Fall Detection and Response: Alexa Together can complement physical supervision by integrating with fall detection devices. It automatically contacts emergency services if a fall is detected, providing a critical backup safety measure.
  • Activity Feed and Customized Alerts: While in-home caregivers observe and respond to a senior's needs, Alexa Together offers additional monitoring through activity alerts. These insights help caregivers stay informed about the senior’s routine and any changes in their activity patterns, enabling proactive care.
  • Daily Routine Support: By handling routine tasks like reminders, entertainment, and information queries, Alexa Together reduces the daily load on caregivers, allowing them to focus more on personal care and interaction.

Enhancing Care, Not Replacing It

Alexa Together is designed to seamlessly integrate into the existing caregiving environment. It enhances the overall care experience by providing technological support where needed, but it doesn’t replace the personalized care and companionship that in-home caregivers offer. It’s about using technology to fill the gaps, ensure safety, and maintain a senior’s independence, while caregivers continue to provide the essential human element of care.

Stay Safer at HomeSafe and Sound After Hospital Stay

When connected with other smart technology, these voice assist devices can help seniors control nearly every aspect of their home to stay comfortable and safe. Just a few home appliances that can be controlled with Alexa include the indoor/outdoor lights, television, door locks, thermostat, security system and more. Aging adults with mobility issues will especially benefit from not having to get up to turn on a light or change the thermostat anymore. 

As with any new technology, smart devices with voice assist automation will likely take some time for an aging adult to learn. But with patience and assistance in setting them up, seniors can find a whole new level of independence and freedom from social isolation. Our Senior Home Companion caregivers would be happy to help your aging loved one set up a similar smart device and to prevent loneliness by helping them stay Safe and Sound at Home.