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Amazon’s Alexa: Its Advantages & Limitations for Seniors

By , 9:00 am on

Within a few weeks of being released, Alexa became one of the most downloaded programs in the world. This virtual personal assistant streamlines access to a wide variety of services and programs, ranging from Google searches to music libraries. For seniors who have a difficult time with devices such as smartphones and tablets, this program might the perfect tool to help them understand technology better. 

The Rise of Virtual Personal Assistants

Some of the biggest tech companies in the world have been investing an overwhelming amount of resources into AI and virtual assistant software. Alexa is Amazon’s response to some of the technology recently released by Apple and Google. These programs are designed to recognize voice commands before accessing a database of information. Users can ask random questions and get an immediate voice response from authoritative websites and journals. Alexa can also be connected to countless other popular services such as Amazon Prime, Audible, Kindle Unlimited, and Amazon Music. 

Although virtual assistants can make internet usage easier for seniors, these programs do not offer physical assistance. Seniors with limited mobility can benefit by hiring professional caregivers in addition to using virtual assistants. Naples elder care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.

Where Can Alexa Be Used?

Alexa was first installed in a series of electronic devices known as the Dot and Echo. These two standalone devices are wirelessly connected to the internet and directly attached to an individual’s Amazon account. Recently, Amazon has made this technology compatible with almost any device with a microphone. It can currently be used on most smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop PCs, which means the virtual assistant can be taken wherever an individual goes, as long as he or she has access to the internet. 

The Benefits of Alexa

For seniors who do not consider themselves tech-savvy, Alexa is incredibly easy to set up on almost any device. Those who have a Dot or Echo will be able to install the system with a few voice commands. The software can also be purchased through almost all major app stores. Once it has been connected, seniors can then play their favorite music without searching through old boxes of records or trying to figure out a new MP3 player. An Echo placed next to the bed can be used to turn off lights in another room or turn the TV to a specific station. Practically any device that connects to the internet can be controlled with this personal assistant. 

It is important to note that this program may not be ideal for all aging adults. Some seniors may be living with degenerative disorders, making it difficult for family caregivers to provide care for them, let alone teach them how to use high-tech gadgets. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Naples, FL, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

The Limitations and Risks of a Virtual Personal Assistant

One of the biggest problems with Alexa is that it can be confusing to seniors who have dementia or another related health condition. While the unlimited access to information is beneficial in the earliest stages of dementia, it might become annoying later on. Another major problem with this technology is that it can be used to order items online if it is connected to an individual’s Amazon account. This makes it a major liability for those who have memory issues or tend to order items they do not need.

If your elderly loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, trust in the Naples dementia care experts at Home Care Assistance to help him or her manage the condition while continuing to live at home. In addition to high-quality dementia care, we also offer specialized Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and stroke care. To learn about our senior care plans, call one of our friendly Client Care Managers at (239) 449-4701 today.