You might think tech is just for the young crowd, but guess what? More and more gadgets are being made for older adults. From wearable devices that send an alert if someone takes a tumble to security systems that give peace of mind to seniors and their families, smart devices are helping seniors live on their own terms and stay connected with everyone around them.
AARP points out that the handiness and comfort of smart devices are quickly catching on with seniors. In fact, now they’re using technology like smartphones nearly as much as younger people!
Some top features of smart tech that older adults really like include:
- Security systems, designed to watch out for intruders, can sync with other smart gadgets. They can switch on lights when someone walks into a room (making tripping less likely), lock the front door when it’s bedtime and give a heads-up to a caregiver when the person they’re caring for is up and about.
- Smart assistants can give reminders, answer questions and dial telephone numbers. The voice-command feature is a big win for seniors who might find tiny phone buttons tricky or get tangled up on a complicated interface.
- Keeping an eye on health is a big plus for seniors dealing with ongoing health issues. Smart wearables can count steps, track sleep, spot falls and even keep tabs on blood sugar. The best part? Since they’re trendy for all age groups, there are plenty of sleek and stylish devices to pick from.
The perks of using Alexa for seniors
Thanks to its voice-activated technology, Alexa-enabled devices stand out as a top smart home device for seniors. No tricky interfaces to deal with, and no need for perfect hand movements or great eyesight. Just use your voice!
Alexa has lots of skills that can be enabled on your Alexa-enabled device. Here’s a few that really stand out for older adults.
- “Routines” lets you set timers for things like lights and wake-up alerts.
- “Ask My Buddy” lets you create emergency contacts and reach out to emergency services.
- “My Calendar” reminds you about upcoming birthdays, meetings and other events on your agenda.
- “Drop In” is an optional feature that lets people instantly connect between rooms with their supported Alexa-enabled devices. Just say “Alexa, drop in” to get started.
Besides those skills above, Alexa-enabled devices can also:
- Play the radio or an audiobook
- Tell you the weather forecast
- Save your shopping list
- Share a recipe with you
- Tell you the date and time
Amazon and Holiday: Collaborating in innovation
While many older adults see the appeal of smart home devices for their convenience and safety, the initial setup can seem like a tall task. Getting a steady internet connection, syncing devices and handling multiple subscriptions might hold some seniors back from diving into smart tech.
At a growing number of Holiday communities, however, residents don’t have to worry about any of the setup. Through a collaboration with Amazon’s Alexa Smart Properties team, Holiday has enabled Alexa devices, which includes the Echo Show, in many of its communities to support residents and the staff who serve them. This makes Holiday among the first in the senior living industry to deploy large-scale Alexa Smart Properties nationwide.
Ginna Baik, Senior Care Lead for Alexa Smart Properties, believes these great innovations are reshaping the aging experience. The Alexa voice features make it easy for older adults to jump on board with all the newest tech.
Chris Nall, Chief Technology Officer at Holiday by Atria, calls the Holiday experience a blend of hospitality, well-being and social bonding. Achieving this mix demanded careful planning and ongoing innovation. “Technology,” he says, “is the glue that holds it all together.”
That push for innovation led to the Holiday collaboration with Amazon. By fitting apartments with Alexa-enabled devices, residents can handle basic tasks more easily. This boosts their independence and lets the staff zero in on delivering top-notch service.
Alexa helps to enhance the senior living experience seamlessly
From ringing up the front desk to playing a favorite tune, Holiday residents can connect deeper with their community thanks to Alexa’s voice-enabled technology.
With Alexa-enabled devices, residents just have to use their voice to:
- Notify staff about a maintenance issue
- Find out about the next meals and events
- Get answers to common questions
“I tell my friends, ‘Alexa is not intimidating!’” says a Holiday resident who’s now used to chatting with Alexa devices. “It’s so simple.
Alexa helps to keep seniors at Holiday active and involved
With a handy events calendar at their fingertips, Holiday residents can dive right into all the fun programs their community has coming up.
After setting up those new devices, Alexa-enabled communities at Holiday have had a 50-75% jump in residents attending Holiday’s Engage Life® events. Nall says that means “More residents getting out of their apartments – while keeping them connected to their families through voice and video calls. And we’ve made it easy. All they have to do is ask Alexa.”
Swing by a community close to you and see firsthand how Holiday is re-imagining senior living.
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