It might not be easy for some seniors to learn how to use modern-day technology like Alexa, but it’s well worth the effort to figure it out. Alexa features tons of apps and services that can make a senior’s life easier, especially if they live alone or have difficulty with mobility, vision, hearing, or memory.
Below you’ll find all kinds of daily life solutions for seniors that Alexa can help fulfill. Using Alexa’s functions, it’s much easier for seniors to maintain their independence and a strong connection with the outside world.
Seniors Can Use Alexa for Shopping
For seniors shopping online can be intimidating depending on what their level of comfort with technology is. The great thing about Alexa for seniors is that it comes with a shopping list application already installed, so all a senior needs to do to start shopping is speak into the device.
Alexa helps simplify the act of digital shopping in the following ways:
- Create multiple shopping lists: Seniors can issue verbal commands to Alexa to maintain multiple shopping lists to keep their shopping organized. Alexa’s smartphone application is a way to see and modify any created shopping lists.
- Alexa Voice Shopping: Using Amazon’s Voice Shopping app, seniors can purchase pre-approved items and have them delivered to their front door. This app is especially convenient for seniors who have difficulties driving or accessing mass transportation. This makes it easy for seniors to know exactly how much they’re paying, too.
- Access to discounts and deals: Since Alexa is linked into Amazon, seniors will have access to the products they need the most at the best deal possible. This affordability is an important consideration for seniors since many usually live on a limited income or a retirement pension.
- Ordering fast food: Alexa can order food such as pizza or Chinese takeout quickly. This food option is perfect for seniors who would rather order supper than try and cook for themselves. Thanks to the wide variety of takeaway food available, seniors can access many healthy foods through takeout.
- Ordering groceries: Alexa can set up regular grocery lists for seniors so that the household is never low on staples or dry goods. Alexa can even arrange the delivery of frozen groceries or fresh produce from a local grocery directly to your front porch.
Without steady access to food and hygiene products, seniors may fall into a state of neglect as they grow older. Alexa helps prevent that by giving seniors a failsafe way to get the products they need without leaving home.
Seniors Can Use Alexa for Reminders
As seniors get older, it can be hard for them to remember to do basic daily tasks such as take their medication or put bills in the mail. While this kind of forgetfulness is a natural part of growing older as cognitive capabilities diminish, it can limit seniors’ ability to live independently if they can’t remember to accomplish basic tasks necessary for daily living.
Luckily, Alexa serves as a solution to this problem by offering seniors a way to set reminders for themselves to get tasks done. Whether it’s reminding someone to water their houseplants or pick up the newspaper, these reminder systems can help take a burden off seniors to keep a mental tally of these daily activities. This can remove a major source of stress for seniors.
Seniors can set reminders on Alexa to announce on multiple Echo speakers throughout the house. This ability means that no matter where in the house the senior is when their reminder is set to go off, they’ll be able to hear it.
Here’s how seniors can use Alexa to set reminders on their devices (Source: CNET):
- Go into the Alexa smartphone app on your phone.
- Select Reminders & Alarms from Alexa’s main menu.
- Select Reminders, then choose Add Reminder.
- Type out whatever you need reminding of along with the date and time that you need to be reminded.
- Select Announces From, then select All Devices. This will have Alexa play the reminder from all connected speakers in the home.
Reminders are a great way for seniors to get a sense of daily routine in their life. This increases resistance to dementia and can help increase emotional security too.
Seniors Can Use Alexa for Telemedicine
One of the most stressful things that seniors have to deal with are doctor’s appointments, but modern technology is making these appointments less of a hassle for seniors that have a hard time leaving home due to issues with mobility, vision, or transportation.
Alexa can take some of the trouble out of these medical appointments by letting seniors take advantage of telemedicine. Telemedicine allows seniors to refill their regular prescriptions, see therapists remotely, report on bloodwork, or consult their general practitioner for minor issues without having to go into the doctor’s office.
Here are a few of the other advantages of using Alexa for telemedicine:
- HIPAA-compatible services: One of the biggest challenges of telemedicine is respecting the privacy of medical patients when using digital technology for recording and filming. Alexa’s telemedicine services are certified HIPAA-compatible, which means that they comply with federal regulations that govern medical privacy laws. (Source: MHealth Intelligence)
- Tracking prescription medications: Besides giving seniors access to medical professionals in telehealth appointments, Alexa also allows seniors to track any prescription medication they have delivered directly to the house.
- Telemedical monitoring: Many seniors deal with chronic health conditions such as diabetes or blood pressure problems that require regular recording and monitoring to regulate medications or other medical decisions. Alexa allows seniors to easily track medical notes such as blood or blood pressure and report them to their doctor.
- Setting up medical appointments: The hands-free calling function for Alexa makes it simple to call the doctor’s office and set up regular appointments. Once a person’s medical offices are placed in Alexa’s contact list, you can call them up on demand.
Going to the doctor’s office can expose seniors to dangerous contagious diseases and interrupt their easy lifestyle. Telemedicine through Alexa helps seniors reduce their medical visits and can help them streamline their medical records.
Seniors Can Use Alexa for Emergency Services
Many seniors enjoy living alone and the sense of independence it brings versus living in a senior living community. However, this solitude can leave them vulnerable if they fall and hurt themselves or succumb to a medical emergency like a heart attack or stroke.
Another threat to seniors living alone is the threat of being robbed. Home invaders are known to target elderly people since they’re considered an easy mark. Many seniors are too frail to fight back in a home invasion scenario, and may be badly injured or killed if they try to resist.
Alexa can be synced up with the following home monitoring systems:
Alexa makes it easier for seniors to be safe while living alone since they can use their Alexa-connected devices to immediately contact either the police or emergency medical services. Since it is voice-activated, Alexa can call for help even if someone can’t reach the phone due to a fall or other emergency.
Even though a senior may never need to use their Alexa device to call for emergency services, just knowing that the capability is there is enough to put minds at rest. Seniors can sleep easy knowing that help is just a shout away, while their children can rest knowing that their parents have instant access to medical or police assistance if they need it.
Seniors Can Use Alexa for Entertainment
A challenge that faces many seniors who live alone is that they become isolated and bored. Alexa can help reduce these stress triggers by providing a source of entertainment for seniors who may become lonely without human company.
Here are a few ways seniors can use Alexa to keep themselves entertained between visits from friends and family:
- Use Alexa to play music: Alexa can play a huge range of different musical genres, and linking it into Spotify also allows seniors to access their library of Spotify playlists so they can listen to whatever they want, whenever they want.
- Use Alexa to read audio books: Alexa is an excellent resource for audio books since many seniors may have difficulty reading the small text on tablets or in physical books. Audible is a great library collection of audiobooks that has offerings in every literary genre. Seniors can even try Audible for thirty days free to see if they like it.
- Use Alexa to play trivia games: Trivia games and other mind puzzles can help keep senior minds sharp and stave off dementia. There are a variety of different trivia games available on Alexa from daily trivia questions to full-blown Jeopardy applications.
- Use Alexa to listen to podcasts: There are podcast broadcasts available on practically any topic under the sun from WWII history to true crime. Podcasts are a great way for seniors to stay engaged with a wide variety of different topics they’re interested in.
- Use Alexa to take an art tour: In its Art Museum application, Alexa provides a way for seniors to take a curated audio tour of the Art Institute of Chicago as well as other museums from around the world. This application gives seniors access to over three hundred different pieces of art along with in-depth audio commentary explaining it. (Source: Amazon)
Alexa has a lot of practical uses for seniors, but it can be used for fun too. This system gives seniors access to media that can both entertain them and improve their mental health at the same time.
Seniors Can Use Alexa for information
Alexa has lots of entertainment options available for seniors. However, Alexa can also help seniors stay informed about their community and any activities they might have scheduled.
These are just a few ways that seniors can use Alexa to get vital daily information:
- Read the news: For vision-impaired seniors, reading the newspaper can become difficult. Alexa allows seniors to verbally request a rundown of the news on both a local and international level. This application is just one way seniors are able to stay informed and engaged with society.
- Check the weather: Seniors can be more susceptible to cold or stormy weather than healthy adults, and may be at risk of developing pneumonia or other complications from a cold. It’s easier for seniors to know when they’re at risk of extreme temperatures or inclement weather if they can check with Alexa before they step out the front door.
- Check the calendar: It can be difficult sometimes for seniors to keep up all of their appointments and scheduled activities, especially if their memory is failing or they lead a particularly active lifestyle. An activity calendar on Alexa can help remind seniors of their social obligations so that they don’t end up flustered or left out.
- Monitor sports scores or the stock market: For seniors who amuse themselves by investing in stocks or keeping up with their favorite sports teams, Alexa provides the perfect way to keep informed with up-to-the-minute data. A popular skill on Alexa for monitoring the stock market is Stock Trigger.
- Look for tickets to a movie or theater production: Alexa makes it easy to order seats for live entertainment or for a cinema showing. Alexa can even give seniors a breakdown of show times so that they know exactly what shows are available.
- Read a recipe: Cooking independently can become more difficult for seniors as they grow older and lose vision. Online recipes read aloud by Alexa make cooking easier since they remove the need to stop cooking and study a recipe book.
Alexa is more than a way for seniors to keep informed about the world around them. It can also form a unique connection between a senior and the rest of the world that allows them to participate in it more fully even with issues that make it difficult for them to see or move around. Wireless Internet has made it easier to participate remotely than ever before.
Seniors Can Use Alexa for Health
Keeping up with health activities is crucial for seniors since physical health can go downhill quickly after retirement if neglected. Luckily, there are plenty of ways that Alexa can help seniors stay on top of their physical health as well as their mental and emotional health.
Here are just a few options seniors have for using Alexa to improve their health:
- Alexa-based exercise programs: Alexa has several exercise programs that it walks you through that are tailored to different lifestyles. Whether a senior wants to engage in daily yoga practice or they want to keep track of push-ups and sit-ups, the exercise trackers on Alexa make it easy to do.
- Alexa for meditation: Meditation is great for controlling both mental and physical health. Seniors are free to meditate through Alexa through several different mental health-based applications such as Guided Meditation, Headspace, or Sweet Dreams depending on the type of meditation desired. (Source: PC Magazine)
- Alexa for sleep hygiene: Seniors can often become afflicted with sleeping disorders such as insomnia or other sleeping problems due to aches and pains or natural disruptions in the sleep cycle as we grow older. Alexa can both schedule sleep and track sleep over time.
Maintaining health in old age is one of the main factors that determines happiness in old age too, so taking steps to take care of health through Alexa’s functions is a great idea for any senior trying to stay healthy. Alexa also allows seniors to take the initiative on safeguarding their own health by giving them an opportunity to engage in healthy activities on call.
Seniors Can Use Alexa for Environmental Control
One of the best applications for Alexa when it comes to senior care is the use of Alexa to maintain environmental controls. By hooking up Alexa to the home’s environmental functions, seniors can make all kinds of adjustments to home comfort levels easily just by speaking into the device. This hands-free method is useful for seniors who have mobility issues.
Here are a few of the different environmental variables that can be adjusted through Alexa’s voice command system:
- Temperature control: By hooking Alexa up to a smart thermostat, seniors are able to adjust the temperature and even the humidity in their home simply by speaking into one of the Echo speakers. Home owners can swap from heating to cooling or adjust home temperatures down to the last degree, even when they’re away from home.
- Lighting control: With Alexa, seniors don’t have to lay in bed worrying whether they turned off all the lights in the house. This device allows seniors to shut down the entire household from their own bed without having to worry about lamps being left on elsewhere in the home creating a fire hazard. Alexa allows for mood lighting, too.
- Fan control: Along with controlling the lights and thermostat, Alexa can also turn ceiling fans off and on and individual rooms of your home. This action can be done even when you’re away from the house as long as your smartphone is connected to Alexa.
- Security control: Seniors can connect Alexa to a digital lock system and use the device to lock all the doors in the home at once. For seniors who live alone, this security control allows them to sleep peacefully without having to worry that they accidentally left something unlocked.
- Sprinkler system control: For seniors who love to garden, Alexa can be hooked up into a smart sprinkler system to allow hands-free irrigation of landscaping and flower beds. This system takes a lot of the work out of tending the garden with a water hose every afternoon. It also allows seniors to maintain a garden easily even with limited mobility.
For many older seniors who live alone at home, one of the goals moving forward is to remain in the comfort of their home rather than move into assisted living. Digitizing your home as a senior makes home upkeep much simpler to maintain even if you’re living alone.
Seniors Can Use Alexa for Transportation
As seniors get older, transportation can become a problem. Mass transportation may become more taxing to use, and limited mobility or vision may interfere with a senior’s ability to effectively drive a car on their own.
Transportation is another area where Alexa can step in to the rescue. These are just a few of the ways that Alexa can aid seniors in transportation:
- Driving directions: Thanks to the advent of GPS navigation, Alexa is able to give direct driving directions to just about any destination a senior can think of. These audio directions make it much less stressful trying to drive, especially in unfamiliar places.
- Calling a cab: For seniors who can’t drive, Alexa makes it easy to call a cab or Uber service. Setting up a preferred cab company in Alexa’s contact list allows seniors to call up that cab company directly whenever they need a ride somewhere. It also prevents seniors from having to keep track of or remember the telephone numbers involved.
- Mass transport schedules: Seniors that live in areas with mass transportation may need to take advantage of it, but can also find using mass transport daunting in large cities. Alexa is an easy way to pull up bus stops and transportation schedules on the spot.
Transportation can be a serious issue for seniors as they get older, so any device that makes getting around easier is a good investment for them. Whether a senior has their own car or they take the shuttle, Alexa can make traveling as a senior a lot simpler to pull off.
Advantages of Alexa for Seniors
As you can see from the guide above, there are a vast amount of different ways Alexa can potentially be used to improve a senior’s life. There are many advantages Alexa has that put it ahead of the pack over any other home smart device. These are some of the general benefits that Alexa can provide seniors:
- Versatility: Alexa is easily hooked into other Bluetooth and wireless speaker systems to help it integrate more seamlessly into a “smart home” setup. Alexa also has more thorough compatibility with third-party software applications than any other smart device available. This makes it a great one-stop-shop for digital personal assistants.
- Strong hardware: Alexa features seven far-field microphones that allow it to catch verbal commands even over the sound of TV noise or loud music.
- Affordable price: With an Alexa Echo speaker costing just around fifty dollars, you can’t ask for a more budget-friendly piece of tech to get your smart home design started. The affordable price also makes it easier to buy multiple Alexa-supported speakers to integrate throughout your household for better connectivity.
Even though Alexa has competitors on the market, none of them offer the comprehensive features that Amazon’s Alexa has available. Alexa has had the lion’s share of the smart home device market for several years now. Thanks to the upgrades and improvements that Amazon has continued to make on its newest Echo models, that demand is improving the brand.
Disadvantages of Using Alexa for Seniors
Alexa can offer hundreds of useful applications for seniors that can potentially make their lives easier, but these devices do come with a few drawbacks too. Here are a few of the disadvantages you’ll need to keep in mind when you’re getting set up with Alexa as a senior:
- Needs unlimited Internet: Alexa is definitely a data hog, so seniors who use Alexa as a smart home hub need to be prepared with a robust Internet data plan to support it. This also makes Alexa more difficult to use in some rural areas where wireless Internet connectivity is sporadic.
- Risk to digital security: Even though Alexa is a useful device in the home for seniors, there are some concerns about privacy when it comes to installing Alexa speakers in the house. It is possible for these speakers to be hacked remotely by outsiders, and the speakers are also used to data mine for advertising and other marketing forces.
- Dependent on cloud technology: Alexa uses cloud-based computing technology to function, so it’s basically a large paperweight unless you have wireless Internet access in your home. Any loss of data in the cloud will also result in a loss of data from your home Alexa device.
Despite the few pitfalls of owning an Alexa-supported device, the many ways that Alexa can be used by seniors to improve their lives outweigh the disadvantages. As long as you have a good Internet connection and you’re conscious of potential cybersecurity issues, Alexa can be a great addition to any home control system.
Alexa Is Perfect for Independent Seniors
For seniors who want to maintain their independence or seniors who just want to make their daily lives a little easier, Alexa provides dozens of solutions for everyday problems. Since the device is capable of using more and more apps every day, Alexa will only continue to become more invaluable in the lives of active seniors in the future.
The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this Blog article are not intended to amount to advice, and you should not rely on any of the contents of this Blog article. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this Blog article. OccupationaltherapyBlog disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this Blog article.