Jan 31, 2020|

Alexa Guide for Seniors: 14 Ways Older Adults Can Use Amazon Echo Devices

More than 118 million people in the United States have a smart speaker like Amazon Alexa. If you have a smart speaker of your own, you already know how valuable they can be around the house.

But can Alexa help seniors? Absolutely!

This guide will show you some of the best Alexa skills for seniors, from setting reminders to controlling the temperature around the house.

amazon echo guide for seniors
Keep reading to learn how an Amazon Echo can improve life for seniors.
 

About Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo is a voice-activated and controlled smart speaker that uses a virtual assistant, Alexa, to perform a variety of tasks. These tasks can be simple, such as playing music or making lists, or more advanced, such as controlling your smart home’s thermostat or turning off your lights. 

What are Alexa Skills?

While the Amazon Echo has many different capabilities built-in, it also connects with third-party apps called Skills. A Skill expands the benefits of the Echo, allowing you to do things like play trivia games, listen to different types of music, or connect to your smart home devices so you can control them hands-free.

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Benefits of Alexa for seniors 

While all ages can benefit from using Amazon Echo, older adults in particular will find the hands-free management particularly useful. Take a look at a few benefits this smart technology can bring to seniors: 

  • Makes daily tasks hands-free. Perhaps one of the best benefits of Amazon Echo for seniors is that it allows so many actions to be performed hands-free. More than 50 million adults aged 65+ in the United States suffer from arthritis, making tasks like writing or even entering numbers on a phone a painful process.  With Alexa, these daily tasks become simpler. 
  • Assists those with vision problems. For seniors with vision problems, Alexa can be a huge help. Seniors can listen to the news or hear weather forecasts without having to read a newspaper or phone. 
  • Perform basic tasks. Going up and down the stairs or getting out of bed to turn off the lights or adjust the thermostat can be difficult for older adults with mobility issues. When connected to smart home technology, you can use Alexa to perform these tasks with just your voice. 
  • Make home a safer place. More than 76% of elderly people would like to age in place, or remain in their homes and communities for as long as possible. With this, however, come safety risks like falling down or not being able to call for help. Amazon Echo can be a lifesaver when an accident in the home renders an older adult immobile. You can contact caregivers or family members all with your voice. 

These are just a few ways Alexa for seniors can make home a safer, more enjoyable place. As you get used to using Amazon Echo, you’ll find more benefits to add to this list.

amazon echo seniors
Make your home a safer, more enjoyable place with a Vivint Smart Home system and Amazon Echo.
 

Using Alexa for Seniors

The best Alexa skills for seniors can do everything from entertain to educate to help with daily tasks around the house. 

Take a look at some of the things seniors can do with Alexa, as well as some of the best Alexa skills for seniors: 

  • Play music. Amazon Echo connects to a variety of music streaming services, making it easy to access your music playlists. In fact, streaming music is one of the most popular things people use their Echo for. Just say, “Alexa, play classical music,” or “Alexa, play songs by the Beatles.” 
  • Make phone calls. Technology for communicating has advanced by leaps and bounds over the years. Corded phones gave way to cordless, then cell phones rendered landlines—even cordless ones—pretty much obsolete. And now, with Alexa's help, you don't even need to pick up your cell phone to make a call. You can do it all hands-free.
  • Set medication reminders. When it comes to medication, 87% of adults between 62 and 85 take at least one prescription, and 38% take five or more. Staying on top of medication is vital, but it can be difficult for seniors to remember to take a medication without full-time caregivers. With Alexa, setting medication reminders is as simple as saying, “Alexa, remind me to take my medication at 4:00 PM.” (Tip: Download the skill Giant Eagle Pharmacy and give commands such as "Alexa, what times do I need to take my medication today?")
  • Make lists. You don’t need to find a pad or paper to make lists with Alexa. Simply say, “Alexa, make a list.” And then create a grocery list, to-do list, or packing list for an upcoming trip, to name a few. (Tip: Alexa can create lists without having to download specific skills.) 
  • Set reminders. Your Echo is already equipped with the abilities to set reminders to keep you on top of your calendar. This handy feature will remind you when it’s time to leave for an appointment, to call a friend back, or even when it’s time to take something out of the oven. 
  • Listen to the news. Want to find out what’s going on in the world without turning on the TV or reading a newspaper? Some of the best Alexa skills for news include CNN, Fox News, The Washington Post, and NPR. (Tip: You can find this type of content by downloading your favorite news skills for Alexa on Amazon’s News Skills page.)
  • Check the weather. You don't need to go outside or even turn on the Weather Channel to find out the forecast in any location. So whether you want to know if it’s going to rain today or you’re preparing for a trip and want the weekly forecast for Florida, Alexa can help! (Tip: Download the Weather Channel Skill to get weather information and forecasts.)
  • Control your lighting. If you have a smart home, you can easily connect your lights to your Amazon Echo. You can then control your smart lighting by saying “Alexa, turn on the lights.” Or you can even dim them by saying, “Alexa, dim the lights.” (Tip: Download Vivint’s Basic skill to turn groups of lights, such as “downstairs lights” or “bedroom lights” on or off at once.) 
  • Adjust the thermostat. Your smart thermostat can also be controlled with your voice with Amazon Echo. So if it’s getting too chilly in your room, you can just say, “Alexa, turn the heat up two degrees.” Setting your thermostat for a specific temperature is also easy with Alexa. (Tip: Vivint Smart Home's Element Thermostat easily integrates with Amazon Echo.)
  • Lock your doors. You can also lock your doors with your voice if you have smart locks. This makes it easy to lock up at night if you don’t want to get out of bed. (Tip: Download Vivint’s Complete skill to lock your doors, close your garage door, or arm your security system, if you have a Vivint Smart Home system.)

The list of things you can do with Alexa for seniors goes on and on. 

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Vivint and Alexa for Seniors 

When combined with a complete smart home system from Vivint, Alexa can help seniors live a safer, more convenient life from home. 

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