What Can Alexa do for You?
Aging Matters

Do you have a voice assistant at home? It could be Alexa or Google home. I have two uninstalled Echo Dots and after my research, they may get unpacked.

As the AI voice assistants become smarter, this minion will do more for those aging alone than anything else. There will be no app, no website, no organization to do as much for older individuals than Alexa. As it stands today, my research proved it to me.

Today, consumers use it in the home to get their daily news, weather, exercise routines, calendar, trivia games, and even lock the doors, maintain the thermostat, dimmer and appointment or medication reminders.

Remember the phrase, "There's an app for that?" Well, that's shifted to, "There's a skill for that."

There are so many Skills to use that Amazon created a Skills Finder. Just go to Amazon and in the search bar drop down menu, you'll see the keywords Alexa Skills. That's where I got blown away.

One of my favorites is the personal preferences setup for one's own flash briefing to offer tips, industry news, inspirational quotes, professional insights, and chronic illness management tips. And tons more.

There are so many Skills to use that Amazon created a Skills Finder. Just go to Amazon and in the search bar drop down menu, you'll see the keywords Alexa Skills. That's where I got blown away.

One of my favorites is the personal preferences setup for one's own flash briefing to offer tips, industry news, inspirational quotes, professional insights, and chronic illness management tips. And lots more.

And realty, tech, service, and others join in. They create their flash briefing for consumers, like Eagle Realty with their skill called, "The Myrtle Beach Real Estate Minute." This one delivers price and inventory updates, and shares investment and home buying opportunities in their market.

A few impressive skills:

Chronic illness tracking - Palmnest, and Track by Nutritionix lets you record your food intake or ask for caloric values of foods. There is food and drug recall via the Food and Drug Administration, booking same or next-day appointments with Providence Health Connect, and Care Assistant helps seniors remain independent by reaching out to caregivers (Children, Family, Friends, neighbors, etc...) when you need help and your phone is unreachable.

Other skills include, Big Sky delivers hyper local weather forecasts, and Neighborhood Watch skill alerts you and neighbors about security concerns in the area. Kayak gives you fare estimates, and the Airport Security Line Wait Times skill lets you check for security wait times at the airport.

Another called Chatbot when you're feeling bored or lonely. You can see all skills on Amazon.com. Go to the search bar and click on the drop down menu.

Next week, I'll research the security concerns and whether Alexa can be trusted in our homes.

Carol Marak, aging advocate and editor at Seniorcare.com. She's earned a Certificate in the Fundamentals of Gerontology from UC Davis, School of Gerontology.



Part of the Aging Matters Weekly Syndicated Column

Aging Matters is a weekly column tackling everyday challenges that our growing elderly population and their loved ones face. It is also published in a variety of syndication partners including newspapers all over the country.

Learn More