As the number of COVID-19 cases soars and more hospitals fill with novel coronavirus patients, governments are forced to tighten safety measures to minimize the spread of the virus. Older adults who are more vulnerable to becoming seriously ill from coronavirus are once again faced with social isolation and physical distancing. Family caregivers, especially loved-ones who live at a distance, now have one more tool in their arsenal to check in on elderly family members with the help of the newly released Care Hub, a free feature of the Alexa app that connects with many of Amazon’s smart devices.
According to Amazon’s Care Hub page, using an Echo device set up at a loved one’s home and the Alexa app on a caregiver’s smartphone, family can check in remotely on the well-being of aging parents or other older adults. The Care Hub operates considering privacy as well as safety; caregivers can check on daily activities without tracking every song played or video watched. In the Alexa Privacy Setting or in the app, voice recordings can be listened to as well as deleted with just a voice command.
And in addition to checking to make sure older adults are up and about, following their daily routine, a notification can be sent to a loved one for help using a voice command. Customized alerts can notify carers when no activity is detected or when a loved one first uses Alexa each day. With smart home devices like light bulbs, doorbells, and thermostats, family can track any significant changes in routine or activity that could indicate a health problem.
Alexa can also help seniors stay safe and more engaged and connected with features like medication reminders, news and weather streaming, and hands-free video and phone calls. Older adults can adjust the lights from bed, ask Alexa to speak slower, turn on and off captions on devices or increase the volume, all with just a voice command. Using an Alexa-enabled device, seniors can plan music, add to a shopping list, play a trivia game, or listen to a guided mediation or audiobook. Echo devices with video can even tell people with vision problems what they are holding – which can make all the difference when cooking or taking pills.
Learn more about using the Alexa Care Hub by following this link. And don’t forget to walk older adults patiently through all the setup and be prepared to provide some technical support as everyone becomes accustomed to the new device or devices in their home.
The Care Hub is currently available only in the United States for now, but Amazon will monitor interest and expand to other regions if there is enough demand.