7 March, 2018
Perhaps your children gifted you an iPhone or an iPad for your birthday, or you decided to gift yourself one! But then, you find yourself in the familiar situation of a little bit of distress which technology, and devices usually land many of the seniors in. Not anymore; help is at hand, as these devices now come with something called Siri, a personal digital assistant. Similar to this is the Google Assistant, which is now available on most Android devices. While Siri is available on Apple devices, Google Assistant can be used on most Android devices as well as Android Wear devices, depending on the Android version.
These personal digital assistants are just like a virtual assistant that can help you get things done, with voice-activated commands. Put simply, you could talk to the assistant in your device to get your things done. On an Apple device, all you have to do is say “Hey Siri” and Siri gets activated. On the Android device, you could use ‘OK Google’ or “Hey Google” to activate the assistant.
What can Siri do?
If you want to search for some information, a restaurant, nearest clinic, the movies in town, the baseball scores, etc., all you have to do is ‘talk out’ the request to your Siri and ask the question. Siri would then list out the results for you. You could then browse through the results and do what you want to do.
Here, comes the best part, if you need someone to remind you to take the tablets, pick up the grocery, or wish someone for a birthday or anniversary etc., all you have to do is tell Siri to remind you about it. It automatically adds the request to the reminder app and then you get a reminder on the specific day, time that you asked for.
It gets better as Siri can even remind you about location-based actions, like reminding you to pick up something in the supermarket or check the locks when you step out of the house. Similarly, you can ask Siri to create events for you, like a doctor appointment and the same gets added to your Calendar. You can turn on alarms, or even make calls using Siri. Just say ‘please call’ followed by the name and the call will be placed to that person (in contacts). What’s more, Siri can even work like a timer to remind you about something that’s cooking on the stove or so.
The list is endless, it can tell you the time, day, play you a song, or even make reservations at a restaurant, launch any app on the phone or find a specific email for you. In short, Siri and its voice-activated commands can make life easier for seniors in many ways. All you go to learn is to have a basic familiarity with the device and the rest Siri takes care; well at least most stuff, if not everything, one might say!
Google Assistant for you
Similar to Siri, Google Assistant on Android devices can help seniors with many things, like making calls, sending messages, search for something location specific, set reminders, and many more. In fact, just ask Google Assistant, “‘What can you do” and it will even tell you what all it can do J. It’s that cool!
Figuring out the weather, or the nearby pizza place, navigate to your home, setting up alarms and reminders, make reservations, ask for translations, and even control the lights and thermostats with Google Home. It is a great exploratory journey that you will have real fun with. Just try out a few actions and you will soon get the hang of it. Start with simpler things till you get a hang of the thing and then slowly try out more options. There is enough literature available on this to help you out if you need to know more.
It has been observed the world over that these voice assistants are making lives easier for the seniors. They are helping them to get their chores done more efficiently, allowing to be a bit more independent and live a better life. In fact, these voice-activated devices and technology are now being used widely in the elder care facilities in the Western countries successfully.
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