For those interested in a smart home, many find smart devices are just far too complicated. The one exception is a smart speaker.
That’s probably because a smart speaker basically only needs to be plugged in and you’re off, after some minor configuration in an app. Only 5% of people had serious challenges with smart speakers. People also found smart displays easy to use, with only 3% reporting difficulties.
That’s true for most people. It is even more true for seniors, who can derive a number of benefits when they have a Voice Assistant.
Most people will then be making a choice between the Amazon Echo and the Google Home. Each has certain advantages but for seniors, the Amazon Echo with its Voice Assistant, Alexa, is a particularly good choice. We will discuss some of the reasons here.
Alexa Is Very User-friendly
Google may well be ahead in developing its artificial intelligence for its Google Home devices. That means it may make a better attempt at understanding you if you slightly garble the instructions. On the other hand, if you have straightforward instructions either system will know what you mean. Talking to Alexa seems much more natural then triggering a reaction from your voice assistant by saying “Hey Google” or “OK Google”.
Alexa Keeps You Connected
The most important benefits by far is that with an Amazon Echo or even an Amazon Dot, you can easily connect with your loved ones. Loneliness is one of the biggest problems that seniors face. Seeing each other on your Amazon Echo Show when you connect makes communication that much more valuable.
Alexa Can Get You Help
This improved communication becomes even more important if at any time a senior needs help. A caregiver can be aware of any hazardous Incident that may have developed. There are even apps such as Ask My Buddy which can easily send text messages to a list of contacts if help is needed.
Alexa Can Help With Difficult Tasks
Seniors can find difficulty with tasks which at one time were easily accomplished. That task may be selecting from small buttons on a TV remote or getting up to switch off a light or adjust the blinds in a room. With appropriate additional devices, it can be arranged that Alexa handles such tasks.
Alexa Remembers Lists
Alexa has another handy ability which is to remember lists. You can have a Shopping List with Alexa and add items to it whenever they come to mind. Perhaps you are in the entrance hall when you suddenly remember that you need more dishwashing liquid. Giving the instruction, “Alexa, add dishwashing liquid to my shopping list”, will ensure that you remember this when in the store. This is particularly useful since other household members can add items to the same shopping list if they become aware of the need.
Alexa Can Keep Your Calendar
Alexa can keep a calendar for you listing all those dates you sometimes have a problem remembering such as birthdays and anniversaries. You can add in appointments you may have with your doctor or dentist. You can even have dates that your family members may add for you. It is then possible to ask “Alexa, what is my next event today?”.
Alexa Answers Questions
You may well find that another Alexa ability is one you call on often. Alexa can answer questions such as:
- What is the weather tomorrow?
- How old is Madonna?
- What is one meter in inches?
- How far is it from here to Paris?
Once you develop the habit, you may be surprised how often you will be needing answers.
Alexa Can Entertain You
It is perhaps no surprise that Alexa can control your Smart TV. However, Alexa can also play whatever music you may prefer if you subscribe to the appropriate service.
Alexa Plays Games
There are many other ways that Alexa can enrich your everyday life. One final item may think you. Alexa has a whole library of games for all ages and tastes to fill in whatever spare moments you may have.
Order your Uber or Lyft Ride
You can schedule an Uber or Lyft with your Amazon Echo. Instead of struggling to get your phone out of your pocket, you can use Amazon Echo to schedule it for you. Alexa will let you know the closest options in your area so you can pick the one that works best for you.
This catalogue of Alexa abilities may well have convinced you that whether a senior is Aging in Place or living in a Senior Living Residence, Alexa can be an invaluable aid for them. If they need any further convincing, this video by Kelli Bradley provides a useful summary of some of the important Alexa abilities.
If you believe that you or some senior you know deserves to get a Smart Speaker for Christmas, then TechieLiving can help you in making that choice. There is no obligation and this consultation is entirely free.
Further reading on this topic
A great deal is being written on this topic and the following articles are well worth checking out.