Tag Archives: amazon alexa

Amazon Alexa now has Care Hub

I’m always interested in new technologies that can help elders and their caregivers. So when I received an email about Amazon Alexa’s new Care Hub, I took some time to look at its features.

Smart home devices such as virtual assistants have become popular over the last several years, and their ease of use means a wide range of people, from children to older people, can adopt them without much of a learning curve. The privacy concerns are real and should not be ignored, however many find that these devices are helpful in their daily lives. I have one of the older Amazon Echo devices and I use it to automate the house lights and to use as a timer when I’m cooking.

The new Care Hub requires the elder user to have an Amazon Echo device in their home and for the caregiver to at least have the Amazon Alexa app on their phone. Echo devices start around $50, though you can get older generations at a discounted rate, especially during Black Friday or other deal days. For example, a deal right now offers an Echo Dot for $29.99.

A customized activity feed is linked with alerts so that you can monitor when your loved one first interacts with the device each day. If activity is delayed, then you can check up on them, either through the Care Hub or by phone. Alexa will also notify caregivers if their loved one asks for help, allowing the caregiver to check on the person and call emergency services if necessary.

There are a lot of things that Alexa can do to help elders, from offering pill reminders to adding items to the shopping list and making hands-free calls without having to remember numbers.

I haven’t had the chance to use Amazon’s Care Hub because I’m not currently caregiving for anyone, but would love to hear feedback from anyone who has had the chance to try it.

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How the voice first trend could help with elder care

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I attended Digital Book World in Nashville last week. It’s always inspiring to be surrounded by authors and others in the publishing industry who are pursuing their dreams and creating worthwhile projects.

It came as a bit of a surprise to me that voice-activated technology was among the biggest trend. As a writer, I’ve always concerned myself with the written word, whether it was in print or more likely, digital form. While I’m aware of voice-activated home devices like Alexa, and own one, I never thought about storytelling through such devices. Well, I learned last week that plenty of people are thinking about voice-first as an emerging platform for authors.

While many of the early examples and success stories involve children’s stories, I started thinking about how those of us involved in elder care may be more familiar with voice-activated technology than we think.¬†Life Alert’s, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up,” slogan has become a meme, but the company developed one of the earlier forms of a voice-activated devices that was adopted by the masses and has helped save countless lives.

Now there is a focus on using voice to create entertainment options, and I can think of ways this could benefit those with dementia.¬†Witlingo’s Drill Skills could be useful for dementia caregivers to engage their loved ones in a fun mental exercise. Those with dementia who can no longer read longer works may enjoy the shorter “microstory” format that voice first publishing uses.

I will be following the developments in voice first publishing and look forward to seeing how it could be used by caregivers to entertain and engage their loved ones.

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