Alexa Apps for Seniors: Helpful Skills & Routines for Older Adults

From setting up the timer to asking for help, Alexa devices have much to offer to their users. And even older adults should be able to maximize the use of Alexa devices and apps. So here, we discuss in depth the available Alexa apps for seniors that might be helpful for you and your aging loved ones.

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional
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Alexa Apps for Seniors
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Most seniors would love to use Alexa devices but have problems learning how to use them. Others have a hard time setting up the devices and adding skills.

We are here to help you understand how to use Alexa devices and outline ways seniors can make the best use of the devices. This article also answers some of the frequently asked questions about the devices.

Basics Of Amazon Alexa

It is best to start by saying the wake word on the device before you can start talking to Alexa. Alternatively, you can press the action button on the device. The inbuilt technology detects acoustic patterns in what you have said.

Amazon secure cloud is responsible for verifying the wake word. In some instances, Alexa may wake up when you mention names that sound similar to Alexa.

You can tell when Alexa is listening through the light indicator that appears on the device. You may also hear an audible time sound. In case you get wrong responses, you can seek clarification. You can use “Alexa, tell me what you heard.” or “Alexa, why did you do that?”

Using Alexa, you can access your voice recordings. You get to hear the requests you made and the responses you got from Alexa from the history. You are at liberty to delete the history on the device.

Alexa allows you to have your text transcripts deleted after every 30 days if you do not want the history on your device.

You can enhance your privacy by using the Amazons Echo smart speakers that use microphone controls. You can switch off the microphone by pressing the microphone off button.

A red light on the device means that it cannot take your requests and cannot detect the wake word. If you need Alexa’s help again, you must turn on the microphone first and have the red light go off. Some echo show devices allow you to use a built-in shutter to cover the camera.

It is possible to turn off both cameras and audios on Alexa-enabled devices with screens. Alexa has a wide range of inbuilt skills. Some of them include quizzes, meditations, and games. Third parties offer skills on Alexa.

The device never shares information with third parties without your consent. Your voice recordings are also not shared with third parties.

Skills vs. Apps vs. Routines

  • Alexa Skills – These are built-in features found on Alexa devices and named skills. You can find a list of skills in the Category or Discover section. You can also use the search platform to look for a skill you know about. Learn more about Alexa Skills here.
  • Alexa App – This is a virtual assistant technology application that you need to download on your phone to access usage. Learn more about the Alexa App here.
  • Alexa Routines – They are a series of skills you would want Alexa to help you with. Routines can help you turn smart lights on and off when certain activities occur or at specific times. Learn more about Alexa Routines here.
Alexa apps for seniors help do
Alexa enables its users to set notifications and reminders.

What Can Alexa Help Senior Citizens Do?

Senior citizens have endless benefits to reap from using Alexa. Statistics show that more than 60% of senior Amazon Alexa users use the device to find information.

Studies have also shown that more than 41% of individuals aged above 65 make use of Alexa. 84.9% of Echo owners have used Alexa to set a timer, while 82% have used it to play music.

Here are 26 ways seniors can make use of Alexa:

1. Show And Tell

It is available through the Echo show. Seniors use it by holding an item and giving a command to Alexa to tell them what they are holding. It is commonly used by those who are blind or visually impaired.

2. Finding The Cell Phone

Seniors are prone to misplacing their phones. You can find your phone by simply asking Alexa to trace it. Alexa traces your phone by calling your phone, helping you trace it through the ring.

3. Night Light

Night bathroom visits are typical among many. Alexa makes this easier for you by providing light at night. You need to set up the night light skill first. You can then turn the light on by using a simple command.

4. Using Smart Home Devices

You can connect smart home devices to Alexa and use Alexa to operate them. Some devices include Light switches, television, door locks, home security systems, and garage doors.

5. Date And Time

Alexa helps seniors keep track of dates and times by answering their questions on the same.

6. Marking The Calendar

Seniors can use Alexa to keep track of special activities. These include birthdays, doctor appointments, and anniversaries.

7. Notifications And Reminders

Apart from allowing the seniors to mark their calendars, Alexa also allows them to set notifications and reminders. This feature is suitable especially for individuals with any form of cognitive decline.

8. Multiple Timers

Alexa allows you to set up numerous timers and name each according to its purpose on all Alexa devices. On the Echo show device, you can get the time left displayed on the screen.

9. Intercom System

It is suitable for seniors who live in multilevel homes when communicating with other family members. You will find this feature preset on the Alexa device.

10. Drop-In Skill

It is an excellent feature for you if you are an adult taking care of a senior. It is available on the Amazon Echo Show device. It allows you to have video surveillance of the person you drop in on.

11. Music, Videos, And Audio Books

Alexa is a good platform for entertaining seniors. Through Echo Show, you can access all videos, audiobooks, and songs available through Amazon Prime Membership.

12. Making Orders From Restaurants

Alexa skills has several restaurants from which you can order food. Some of them include Starbucks, Pizza Hut, and Denny’s.

13. Burglar Deterrent

This skill helps seniors to enhance security in their homes. It gives you a variety of sounds to choose from to detect where an intruder could be. It works until you give it a command to stop.

14. Alexa Guard

It helps seniors to detect sounds of alarms and breaking glasses. You must activate this feature on your device to use it.

15. Weather Forecast

Alexa helps seniors to check out the weather forecast. It spares them the hustle of fiddling on the phone to get information on the weather. You can access both local weather and the weather elsewhere.

16. News Update

Alexa offers seniors a flash briefing report. You can use a simple question such as “Alexa, what is in the news today?”

17. Asking For Help

Alexa allows seniors to set up someone as a buddy on their device. Whenever you require help, Alexa contacts your buddy on your behalf upon request.

18. Call 911

In an emergency, a senior can call 911 using Alexa. All they need is to give a simple voice command.

19. Phone Calls

Alexa also allows seniors to add a contact list. It gives you the chance to integrate the phone’s contact list if you are using Alexa from your phone.

To make a call via Alexa, you need to give a command mentioning the name of the person you would want to call as it appears on the contact list.

20. Video Phone Calls

These are easier for seniors who have access to large screen sizes. You can only call another person who has the Alexa app on their phone or the Echo Show. It helps caregivers to check in on the seniors when they are away constantly.

21. Alexa Hunches

This feature helps Alexa alert you when a connected device does contrary to what it is supposed to.

22. Shopping List

This feature allows seniors to write down shopping lists and share them with their spouses, friends, or caregivers. It is helpful for seniors who prefer to have others help them do their shopping.

23. Control The Television

When seniors cannot trace their remote, they can control the television using the Alexa device. It is important to note that different television brands have adopted different ways of setting up Alexa on their devices.

24. Answers To Simple Medical Questions

Amazon Echo has partnered with National Health Services to give you answers to medical questions. However, many have questioned its privacy.

25. Calling Local Businesses

This skill only requires you to know the business’s name. If your company of choice has various outlets, it asks you to choose the exact location, after which it calls the company number upon your confirmation.

26. Starting The Car From The House

This skill is necessary if you live in a very hot or cold place. It requires your car to have a remote start feature. It helps you warm or cool your car before you can get in the car. It, however, works with only a few car models, such as Chevrolet and some Fords.

Your senior loved one may not need to use all the features on the Alexa device. You should select those that suit their unique needs and train them on how to use them.

Best Alexa Device For Seniors

Of the many Alexa devices available in the market, these two stand out for use among seniors.

1. Echo Show 2nd Generation

This offers seniors a larger display and a higher resolution. It has improved speakers that include 2″ premium drivers, Dolby processing, and a passive bass radiator.

You also can use it with smart devices at home. It can help you check on children or make announcements at home. It allows you the privilege to multitask.

2. Echo Dot

This is among the smallest Alexa devices and has a 2.5″ screen. It has small speakers but that have very rich sounds appropriate for seniors. It is easy to set up, with the process taking up at most 15 minutes. It has high accuracy when listening to commands.

RELATED: What Are The Best Apps for Seniors?

How To Set Up An Alexa Device For Seniors

Before setting up an Alexa device for a senior, you will need the name and password of the network they will be using. You will also need their Amazon account login details. You can use their email address to set up a new account if they do not have one.

Here are the steps you need to follow to set up an Alexa device:

  • Step 1: Plug in the device, tap the screen and choose a language.
  • Step 2: Select your Wi-Fi network, enter the Wi-Fi password, and click Done on the top right corner.
  • Step 3: Enter the senior’s Amazon account email and password and click sign in.
  • Step 4: Confirm the senior’s time zones and select continue to finish the setup.
  • Step 5: If they are using an Echo show, you need to add a “real” Wi-Fi network from the settings.

You may also:

  • Download the app on your phone and set up contacts to help you easily tweak them up in the future.
  • Print out a few basic commands for their use.
  • Upload some setup apps and pictures.

How To Install An Alexa Skill

Alexa devices allow you to make use of several skills. Follow the following steps to install a skill on the device.

  1. Open the Alexa app, go to the upper left corner where we have the menu, tap on it, and type the skill you need.
  2. Tap on Discover and Categories to view the descriptions.
  3. If you are sure that the skill available is what you want, click the “Enable To Use” button.

Alternatively, you can give Alexa a command to enable the skill you need to add.

Alexa apps for seniors dementia
Seniors with dementia will enjoy the instant answers coming from Alexa.

Amazon Echo’s Alexa Helps Seniors With Dementia

Seniors with dementia require a lot of attention. They need you to be around most of the time, ask so many questions, and need to be entertained.

Some of the features that will help you out with seniors who have dementia include:

  • Playing audiobooks and music
  • Telling riddles
  • Reporting news and weather conditions
  • Sending shopping lists

It is essential to remember that Alexa cannot provide the human touch and real conversations like human beings.

Alexa only helps ease the burden of attention so you can take part in other important activities. Seniors with dementia will love having instant answers from Alexa.

Tips For Making Alexa Devices Easier To Use For Seniors 

There are several ways you can help seniors have an easier time using Alexa devices. Some of them include:

  • Creating a profile for them and their buddies.
  • Helping them come up with a convenient wake word.
  • Helping them create voice profiles.
  • Add non-supported home devices on their behalf.
  • Help them create routines on the device.
  • Teach them how to use the Alexa device.
  • Purchase a voice remote for them.

FAQs

Difference Between Alexa And Echo

Echo is a hardware device, while Alexa is a software device. Echo devices give you access to Alexa. Alexa is the virtual assistant that listens and answers your questions or executes your commands.

Are Alexa Apps Free? 

Some Alexa apps are free, while others might need you to make a payment. 

What Free Apps Work With Alexa?

If you need to use a free app that works with Alexa, here are some of the best senior-friendly and free apps you can choose from.

  • Big Sky – It is the most powerful weather Alexa app. Big Sky gives you weather alerts and weather conditions of any location. You also get access to extra details such as dew points, wind speed, UV index, and humidity.
  • Ambient Sound Apps – They are the most popular apps for Alexa. You have access to more than a dozen of these apps. Some of the ambient sounds they offer you include forest night, heavy rain, distant thunderstorm, and sleep sounds.
  • Fitness Tracker Apps – Only some fitness tracker apps, such as Fitbit and Motiv (available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store), work with Alexa. Their main functions are to set workouts for you.
  • Uber and Lyft – These two apps work the same way. You only need to ask Alexa for a ride, and the app sends you a driver. Uber and Lyft provide you with a form of neatly asking for a ride.
  • Amazon Alexa – Amazon Alexa is the best app so far. It offers you the opportunity to interact with Alexa and all Alexa-enabled devices. It also gives you recommendations on new stuff.

Is There A Monthly Fee For Alexa?

There are no monthly charges for Alexa unless you want to use an Amazon Prime account. You only need a Wi-Fi connection to use Alexa.

Is Alexa Always Listening?

Alexa is always listening since that is one of Alexa’s primary functions. Alexa constantly monitors voices at home, waiting to hear the wake word. The only time Alexa is not listening is when you have turned off the device.

Alexa Is The Real Deal

You or your loved ones will have an easier time carrying out your daily activities by using Alexa. It offers you so many skills to make your work easier. If need be, you can make use of all the skills.

When buying a device for a senior, endeavor to choose from the best Alexa devices for seniors. You will also need to help seniors who are having trouble learning to use the device adapt. Consider assisting seniors in setting up the devices and installing their skills of choice.

Sources:

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Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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