Alexa is an intelligent companion and an ideal gadget to keep older adults informed, entertained, and connected with their loved ones.
If you wonder what can Alexa do for seniors, this article highlights some of the best Alexa features and skills for the elderly.
Let us find out.
What can Alexa do for seniors – 8 Best Features & Skills
Alexa comes with many pre-installed features but can also add additional features. These features are called “Skills” and are the same as “apps” for smartphones.
You are required to “enable” a skill before you can use it. You can enable a skill by asking “Alexa, enable the <skill name>” or using the Alexa app.
- Open the Alexa app and tap on Menu (3 horizontal lines at the top left corner)
- Tap on the Skills & Games option in the drop-down menu
- Tap the Search option (magnifying glass icon) to search for the skill. You can alternatively explore skills from Categories or Discover options. There are around 150,000 skills to choose from.
- Tap on the skill and tap Enable to Use to enable it
Once the skill is enabled, you can use it at any time.
1: Play Games and Puzzles
You can play 5,000+ games on your Alexa device. Alexa can help you host a memorable game night with its collection of Group Games. From Trivia and Quizzes to Puzzles and popular TV Game Shows games, Alexa has a gigantic catalog of games.
Here are some of the senior-friendly game categories to explore.
and many other categories to explore.
I have shared my favorite Alexa games for seniors. You can play games on your Echo Show, Echo Dot, FireTV, or any other Alexa device.
Explore the full Alexa games collection and discover the best options for you.
2: Call for Help/ Alert Others in Emergency
You can use your Alexa device to call for help if you fall or face any other unexpected situation. There are 3 ways to use Alexa to call for help in any emergency.
– Using Alexa Emergency Contact
Once your emergency contact is set up, you can use a simple voice commands like “Alexa, call for help” or “Alexa, call my emergency contact” or simply “Alexa, help”. Use the following steps to set up your emergency contact using the Alexa app.
- Tap the Communication on the bottom navigation bar of the Alexa app.
- Tap on the Contact icon (two people icon at the upper right corner).
- Open the triple dot menu at the upper right corner
- Select Emergency Contact and follow the prompts to select an existing contact or add a new one
– Using “Ask My Buddy” Skill
Ask My Buddy enables you to ask for help using your voice. You can create a personal alert network and ask Alert My Buddy to alert 1 or all contacts in the network when you need help.
You can select a family member or a friend as your “buddy” and when you need help, simply ask “Alexa, ask my buddy to send help”.
Use the following instructions to set up the Ask My Buddy skill on your device.
- Go to AskMyBuddy and register, you can use the services free for up to 5 buddies
- Enable the Ask My Buddy skill from the Alexa app following the above instruction (Menu > Skills and Games > search “buddy” to find Ask My Buddy skill)
- Follow the instructions to register and set up.
Once the skill is set up, use the voice command “Alexa, ask my buddy to alert <name>” to contact one of the contacts. You can also use “Alexa, ask my buddy to alert everyone” to alert all contacts.
– Using Alexa Together
Alexa Together is a subscription service designed to protect seniors and enable them to get 24/7 help in case of emergency. It is an ideal way to support your elderly loved ones remotely and stay in the loop about their health and well-being.
Once Alexa Together is set up, older adults can ask “Alexa, call for help” to connect to an urgent-response agent in a few seconds.
Some of the key features of Alexa Together include.
- Customized Alerts: Setup Alert for your elderly loved one’s first Alexa interaction of the day.
- 24/7 Urgent Help: 24/7 hands-free access to trained agents who can help seniors get assistance.
- Remote Support: Family members can join the circle of support to help seniors remotely.
- Fall Alert: If a compatible device detects a fall, Alexa notifies the emergency contacts and calls for urgent help.
You can also use Alexa Together to share memories with your loved ones by sharing photos.
Read More: Refer to the Using Alexa to Monitor Elderly Parents article for a complete review of Alexa Together and Alert My Buddy
3: Do the Basic Math
Seniors do not need to use a calculator for everyday life addition, subtraction, division and other basic calculations. If you are wondering how can Alexa help the elderly with basic matches, have a look at some voice commands examples below.
- “Alexa, what’s [number 1] plus [number 2]”
- “Alexa, what’s [number 1] times [number 2]”
- “Alexa, what’s [number] degrees Fahrenheit in Celsius”
- “Alexa, what’s the square root of [number]”
Alexa can also help you with the spelling or definition of words.
These features are handy for daily use as seniors do not need to take out calculators for basic calculations and can find immediate answers to their questions.
4: Video Calls/ Drop-ins
If you are wondering what can Alexa do for seniors to keep them connected? Well, Alexa can help seniors to get in touch with friends and family members through calls, messages, and most importantly video calls.
Alexa Echo Show and Alexa Spot devices come with screens, which means you can use the “Drop-In” skill to video call your loved ones. The person on the other side has to give you permission to “drop in” on them. Once the skill is enabled, you can simply ask “Alexa, drop in on <name>” and you will be connected through video call immediately.
Follow these steps to use the drop-in skill.
- To enable the Drop-In skill, Open the Alexa app and tap on Menu > Skills & Games
- Tap on the Search option (the magnifying glass icon)
- Write drop-in to search for the skill and tap Enable Skill to enable it
The Drop-In skill is now enabled. In order to allow drop-in calls, follow these steps
- Tap on Communicate (chat bubble at the bottom nav bar) in the Alexa app
- Tap Contacts
- Select My Communication Settings and toggle Allow Drop In
That’s it. Now you can make and receive the drop-in calls.
You can check the echo show drop-in for seniors article for details on how to use the drop-in to call others and receive calls. I have also shared a detailed guide to set up a new Echo Show device for your parents.
5: Get News and Weather Updates
You can keep up with news from your favorite news provider on your Alexa device. Whether you prefer the live news from CBS or a flash briefing from BBC, Alexa is here to keep you informed.
You can catch up on local news, national headlines, and popular news shows and interviews. Alexa Flash Briefing takes a few minutes to update you with the latest headlines from newsrooms of CNN, Reuters, BBS, Fox News, and other channels of your choice.
You can also turn on notifications and stay informed on breaking news from your favorite channel.
You can set your favorite news channel as the primary channel to get all news.
Go to Menu > Settings > News and choose your favorite channel from the list.
Here are some of the voice command examples to get you the latest edition of the news.
- “Alexa, what’s in the news today”
- “Alexa, what’s news from CNN/USA Today/ BBC”
- “Alexa, play Flash Briefing”
- “Alexa, play local news”
- “Alexa, enable Fox News notifications”
- “Alexa, play Seattle News”
If you are planning to go out or work in the garden outside, get the latest weather updates from your Alexa device. Alexa has a built-in feature for weather updates but you can enhance the feature with Big Sky skill for more detailed weather reports.
Use these voice commands for the latest weather updates.
- “Alexa, what’s the weather outside”
- “Alexa, what is the humidity level/ UV index”
- “Alexa, will it rain tomorrow”
- “Alexa, ask Big Sky what will be the weather like on the weekend”
- “Alexa, how will be weather in <city/state> on Sunday”
- “Alexa, will it rain in next 6 hours”
You get the idea. Alexa can help older adults with the latest news and weather updates without turning on their TVs.
6: Unlimited Entertainment
Alexa keeps you entertained with the best music, audiobooks, Ted Talks, podcasts, radio, videos, and movies. All the best streaming services are available on Alexa including Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeart Radio, and many more.
Amazon Music gives you access to 100 million+ songs ad-free.
Alexa can play podcasts from your favorite providers including Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Spotify, Audible, SiriusXM, and others. You get access to plenty of free audiobooks from Audible.
When it comes to videos and movies, Amazon Prime Videos gives you access to the best of Hollywood, documentaries, comedy classics, and more.
If you wonder what can Alexa do for senior citizens to keep them entertained, the possibilities are endless.
7: Home Safety Features
Alexa comes with home safety features to help keep your home safe when you are away. Here are 2 of our favorite Alexa features for home safety.
Using this feature, Alexa can detect the sound of an alarm (fire alarm/ burglar alarm) or breaking glass (if someone breaks into the house through windows). You can set up the Alexa Guard feature using the following steps.
- Open the Alexa app and tap on the Devices on the bottom right of the screen
- You will get a Guard option, with learn more to set it up
- If you have Alexa-enabled smoke detectors/ carbon monoxide detectors, “add” them to Guard. Press “Later” if you do not have them.
- You can also add an option to set up home lighting to turn them on when you are out
- Press Confirm to complete
Once Alexa Guard is set up, you can activate it by saying “Alexa, I am leaving”.
This home security skill enables Alexa to broadcast sounds as if someone is at home. You can choose the sounds including the sound of the kitchen, a bathroom, a living room, or a guard dog.
The Burglar Deterrent Skill keeps working until you ask “Alexa, stop”. To set the skill, do as follows.
- Open the Alexa app and go to Menu > Skills & Games
- Tap on the Search option (magnifying glass icon on the top right)
- Type in burglar deterrent to search
- Find the skill and tap on Enable Skill button
Once the skill is enabled, you can use it by voice commands like.
- “Alexa, open the burglar deterrent”
- “Alexa, tell the burglar deterrent to sound like a guard dog”
If you are looking into what can Alexa do for seniors to keep their homes safe, try the above security feature and skill and you will be amazed by Alexa’s capabilities.
8: Alexa Features to Counter Forgetfulness
Memory loss and forgetfulness can be a normal part of the aging process. Alexa comes with plenty of features to help seniors with everyday tasks. Here are some of the best Alexa features to counter forgetfulness.
Seniors can use Alexa’s built-in reminders feature to get an alert about important things so they do not miss them.
You can set medication reminders to take medicines on time and hospital visit reminders so you do not miss your next appointment. Setting reminders for important dates like birthdays and anniversaries means you can wish your loved ones on time. Reminders can be helpful for daily tasks like watering plants and doing laundry.
Here are some of the examples to use the reminders feature in your Alexa device.
- “Alexa, remind me to take my diabetics medicine at 7 PM”
- “Alexa, remind me to check the oven in 15 minutes”
- “Alexa, remind me to visit the dentist at 3 PM tomorrow”
- “Alexa, remind me to drink water at 6 PM every day”
- Use “Alexa, what are my reminders” to get the list of the reminders
When the reminder is due, Alexa will alert you with “Here is your reminder” and then announce the reminder twice.
When you explore the features to understand how can Alexa help the elderly, List is one of the most important pre-installed features to consider.
Alexa makes it easy to make and maintain lists without paper and pen.
Older adults can make to-do lists, shopping lists, travel packing lists, and any other list so they do not miss any item. You can make as many lists as you like.
Here are some voice commands to get you started with lists.
- “Alexa, make a grocery list”
- “Alexa, add pasta and tomatoes to my grocery list”
- “Alexa, what’s on my to-do list for today”
- “Alexa, delete toothpaste from the shopping list”
- “Alexa, add laundry to the to-do list”
Making lists is a good habit to counter forgetfulness and get things done.
– Brain and Memory Games
Brain games and puzzles keep seniors’ minds active and help seniors maintain cognitive skills and avoid boredom, depression, and loneliness.
Alexa has a huge collection of puzzles, memory games, and brain twisters to help the elderly with brain workouts.
Here are some of the popular brain games to try.
There are plenty of other games that you can find in the Alexa app (Menu > Skills & Games).
– Find Your Phone
It is common for seniors to lose their TV remote or phone. If you forget where you kept your phone, simply ask “Alexa, find my phone” and your phone will ring. You can follow the ringtone to find your phone.
Some of the other Alexa features to help combat forgetfulness include:
- Calendar: Maintain a calendar to never skip important dates.
- Memories: Store your “memories” in the form of photos and connect them to your past every now and then.
- Ask Alexa: When you forget something, ask Alexa for help. Sometimes we forget and can’t seem to remember the obvious things like who played the lead role in Titanic or what’s the name of our state governor.
Alexa never gets annoyed with repetitive questions.
There you have it, the 8 best Alexa features and skills for seniors. If you are looking to find out how can Alexa help the elderly and what can Alexa do for seniors, I hope you find a good resource in this article.
Have a look at other Alexa articles to get the most out of your Alexa devices.