19 March, 2018
Suddenly, there is a lot of buzz about the use of technology for the betterment of the life of seniors and how much virtual assistants can play a role in this. Virtual assistants are assistants that are part of your device, like a phone or tablet. They are easy to use and can make a lot of things less complicated and overall life, a little smoother for many people. It is the seniors and the immobile category of people who benefit most in this.
You can use the virtual assistants to help you send a message, set up a call, set up reminders to take medicines or pick up your shopping, play songs or even find restaurants and make a booking etc. And all this, by just talking to the virtual assistant; so it’s as good as telling a person to do your errands and hence it’s called as a virtual assistant.
In most Android phones, you have a Google Assistant, which can be activated just by saying “Ok Google”. And in Apple devices, you have something similar called as Siri. Amazon Echo happens to be something similar that is slowly taking the world by storm.
What is Amazon Echo?
Amazon Echo is also called as Alexa and it can be dubbed as a rather patient companion, who can talk to you, and who you can talk to, for getting your chores done. This assistant can tell you the game scores, the weather, or play for music for you. While definitely, Echo is not a replacement for a human caregiver, it can certainly help people who are immobile and aged.
Impatience with the elderly is a common enough thing. Sometimes, they ask the same things repeatedly, irritating you. But, Alexa wouldn’t mind that for sure! This can especially be useful for people with dementia as Alexa can tell them what year, day, month or time it is and read the news or play some pleasant music. Alexa can help them look up for information and convey the same or even tell them jokes!
It's utility for Alzheimer’s patients
The true utility of something can only be considered or accepted when someone who is afflicted with something recommends it. In the case of Amazon Echo, this is what has happened. Rick Phelps, an Alzheimer’s disease patient, who bought Amazon Echo, has blogged about its utility for such people. Considering that he is someone who has started a Facebook group for creating awareness about this disease called Memory People, there has to be some amount of credibility in what he has to say. After all, he blogged about it after using it himself and that’s kind of like an endorsement of sorts.
He says that it is beneficial, especially because he can ask Alexa anything, and that too twenty times a day if required. Alexa reminds him to take his medicines on time, add things to his shopping list, and even read out audio books for him. Intelligent, patient and helpful, Amazon Echo, certainly seems to have a few right qualities that can make it a companion for people with dementia.
What more can it do?
Now consider this, you have some smart home devices installed at your place, to make it friendlier for seniors. Alexa can, actually, help you to turn on the lights or put them off. It can even set the temperature for you and thus help you manage your home environment without you having to move around. This is a big advantage for immobile people as well as seniors, especially those living alone.
All Amazon Echo needs is a wireless network connection for using it. You would need a Smartphone or a computer to set it up initially. After that, it works on Wi-Fi and a power connection. The possibilities that this throws up are immense, with even the visually impaired people using it.
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