Amazon Echo - it is helpful for Baby Boomers?
The rapidly evolving world of technology can be hard to keep up with at the best of times, however if you are an older citizen who wants to make the most of the new possibilities afforded by tech, then an Amazon Echo could be the answer.
The Amazon Echo is a voice-activated virtual assistant, much like the Siri feature on iPhone, and it takes the fuss and hassle out of organising your daily life and accessing online information. There are no buttons or controls to figure out either, you simply speak and the Amazon Echo, “Alexa”, does the work for you. Essentially, any information that is on the internet, Alexa can access. This means that it can be a great tool to keep senior citizens engaged and interested in learning new things. Alexa can answer almost any question, it can tell you facts, relay riddles and brain teasers and even tell jokes. You can even play your own music through it if you’re subscribed to a streaming service such as Spotify. Although this feature may seem unnecessary, it can help keep the mind sharp and even ease loneliness for those who live alone. It has previously been noted that the Echo can be particularly helpful for those living with dementia and memory problems, as it enables them to orient themselves in the day. Alexa can respond with the date, time and reminders as well, which many seniors find helpful in regards to taking and organising their medication. Relatives of people living with dementia report that getting their loved one an Amazon Echo has given them peace of mind, as they are more confident that using it as a safety net enables their family member to maintain independence that they wouldn’t have otherwise. It can also be potentially life-saving for more vulnerable senior citizens, as you can link emergency contacts to your Echo, so if you were to have a fall at home and were unable to reach a phone for help, simply shouting Alexa could alert your loved ones. If you are particularly tech savvy, you can even link Alexa with other smart devices in your home, such as your thermostats, locks or lights. We’ve all had that moment of realisation that we’ve left the lights on in another room, but we’re already at the opposite end of the house. If you have smart controls already installed, you can simply instruct your echo to turn off the lights, lock the door, or change the heating temperature. If you are someone who struggles with poor mobility, it may be a helpful to install smart controls and use them in partnership with the Echo. Finally, here are some important tips to ensure using your Echo goes smoothly:
For an Echo device to work correctly, it needs to be plugged in and connected to a WiFi network. You’ll also need to use a smartphone or computer to complete the setup process.
To ask Alexa a question or to give a command, you need to start by saying “Alexa…” (Saying “Amazon…” or “Echo…” will also work.) It can be tricky to remember, so it’s really helpful to put a note on or near your Echo as a reminder.
In order to play music using your Echo, you’ll need to connect it to an Amazon account that has an Amazon Music subscription. However, if you download the Amazon Alexa app, you can also connect Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM, or other music/radio subscription services.