Amazon Echo Alexa Helps Seniors with Dementia

Amazon Echo Alexa for seniors with dementia makes a wonderful assistant and companion

Alexa voice assistant helps seniors with dementia

At first glance, Amazon Echo’s Alexa voice assistant might seem like just another tech toy.

But in real life, many have found that Alexa devices can improve quality of life for older adults with Alzheimer’s or dementia as well as for seniors with limited mobility and other health conditions.

They’re like intelligent companions and helpers that never get tired, frustrated, or bored.

An Alexa voice assistant is also a great tool for caregivers and anyone who enjoys added convenience.

Here, we explain:

  • What the Amazon Echo with Alexa is
  • How Alexa voice assistant devices help seniors with dementia
  • Who else can benefit from Alexa voice assistant devices
  • How much Amazon Echo Alexa devices cost
  • How they work
  • Where to find helpful reviews and demonstrations

 

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What are Amazon Echo devices with Alexa voice assistant?

Alexa is built into a variety of Amazon Echo devices and is basically a hands-free assistant that you control with your voice. 

It’s similar to voice assistants like Siri on the iPhone or Cortana on Microsoft.

Alexa can play music, play audiobooks, set reminders, provide information like date, time, news, sports scores, weather, and more.

 

Amazon Echo’s Alexa helps seniors with dementia

Family caregivers often get frustrated because seniors with dementia repeat questions endlessly, need constant entertainment, or get anxious when you’re not around

Having Alexa available to answer questions, talk about news or weather, read audiobooks, or play music can give caregivers much-needed breaks.

Even though it doesn’t replace human touch or real conversation, the intelligent voice controls can make it feel like a helpful friend.

Alexa’s voice-activated features are great for seniors with dementia:

  • Instantly answers questions, like “what day is it?” or “what time is it?” – it’s a machine, so it will never get annoyed or frustrated
  • Plays music, audiobooks, and the news – no need to fuss with complicated controls
  • Tells fun jokes and riddles
  • Reports traffic conditions and weather forecasts
  • Looks up information about anything – like, “what’s on TV tonight?” or “who was the Yankees’ manager in 1978?”

 

Who else can benefit from Alexa voice assistance devices?

Older adults with limited mobility or affected by health conditions like stroke, Parkinson’s disease, or multiple sclerosis can also benefit from an Amazon Echo device with Alexa voice assistant.

Alexa can give them more control over their environment and more independence.

For example, with Alexa connected to smart home devices, they could use only their voice to turn on the light across the room or adjust the room’s temperature.

And if they wanted to hear music or read an audiobook, they could do it with another quick voice command.

Without Alexa, they’d likely have to ask someone else for assistance with these simple tasks.

 

How much do Amazon Echo Alexa devices cost?

There are now a wide range of Amazon Echo devices that have the Alexa voice assistant built in.

They’re available at a variety of price points, styles and colors, and include different features in addition to the Alexa technology.

You buy these devices outright and don’t pay any additional subscription fees. 

Note: Full retail prices are shown below, but Amazon frequently offers significant discounts on Echo devices.

The most popular Echo devices:

  • $40 Echo Dot 3rd Generation – compact smart speaker that fits perfectly into small spaces, least expensive Echo device
  • $60 Echo Dot 4th generation – newest version, compact smart speaker that fits perfectly into small spaces, least expensive Echo device
  • $100 Echo 4th generation – newest version with redesigned look, rich sound from a more powerful speaker
  • $90 Echo Show 5 – 5.5 inch display screen makes video calling easy, watch videos or TV shows too
  • $130 Echo Show 8 – 8 inch HD screen and stereo sound makes video calls and watching videos/TV even more enjoyable
  • $230 Echo Show (2nd Gen) 10.1” – a 10.1 inch HD screen and premium Dolby speakers let you make video calls, stream music and books, and watch videos, movies, and TV shows

 

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How to use Amazon Echo Alexa devices

Whenever you want to use an Echo device, just say the word “Alexa” to wake it up and let it know that you’re giving it a command.

Because you must use the wake word to activate the Echo, you could put a large sign on it with its “name” to make it easier for older adults with cognitive issues to remember.

What’s needed to make Amazon Echo work
Alexa needs to be plugged in for power and connected to a wireless network in order to work. 

You’ll need a computer or smartphone to set it up, but after that, it works over the WiFi connection.

Alexa skills add even more features
Alexa skills are voice activated apps that add capabilities to Alexa-enabled devices.

Amazon is continuously improving and adding new skills – view a list in the Alexa mobile app or find skills by voice by saying, “Alexa, discover skills.”

 

See helpful reviews and demos on YouTube

YouTube has many helpful videos with reviews and demonstrations on various Amazon Echo devices.

Here are some videos that we found helpful. Some are older, but the info is still useful and you’ll see the devices in action.

Senior-focused:

General:

 

Next Step  Browse Amazon Echo Alexa Devices and see customer reviews

 

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By DailyCaring Editorial Team

 

This article wasn’t sponsored, but does contain affiliate links. We never link to products or services for the sole purpose of making a commission. Recommendations are based on our honest opinions. For more information, see How We Make Money.


4 Comments

  • Reply December 5, 2016

    Jane

    We too have the issue with taking medication. We’re going to try putting it on the calendar and then having a list of questions for Mom – “Alexa what’s on my calendar today” to which Alexa will say – take your pills. Then we’ll have Mom say “Alexa take take your pill off the calendar today.” Which should take it off for that day only – then when she checks in an hour what’s on her calendar for today the pills shouldn’t be on there. We’re still going to keep the check box we currently have on paper (have you taken your pills), for now. We’ll see if both work.

    • Reply December 5, 2016

      DailyCaring

      It’s great that you’ve thought of a system that could help your mom take her medication! And it’s also smart to have a backup system on paper. I hope both work well!

  • Reply July 2, 2016

    Janet Cameron

    As a long time Echo user who has tried repeatedly to find a way to set medication reminders (or any kind of reminders) I can tell you that it does not have that functionality as of this writing (July 2 2016) If you give the command “remind me to …”, it will simply add the item to your to do list in the app. I tried the command from the review quoted just now, in case there had been an update, and I now have the item “take my meds at 8 AM and 8 PM every day” on my to do list, and no reminder or notification whatsoever.

    Some research from various help desks and tech forums will uncover marginally useful workarounds, like basic alarms and paid third party apps (that you still need to open to see the actual reminder) but as of now, there is no way to get a specific reminder phrase to play at a designated time.

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