Amazon launched its new interactive service in the US called Alexa Together on December 8, 2021 to help support older adults and their families. Announced in late September, Alexa Together is a subscription service that enables families and other caregivers to monitor the well-being of their aging loved ones and for older adults to get additional support from their Circle of Support as needed. All that’s required is an Alexa Together subscription and an Echo device.
Alexa Together adds numerous features to existing Amazon Echo and Echo Show devices. The service could enhance an older adult’s safety while giving families and caregivers greater peace of mind. It could also enable older adults to continue living independently with the level of support they require. Let’s examine the features of this service in more detail.
Custom Alerts and Activity Feed
As the adult child of an older adult, I want to know that my parent is going about their daily routine and doing well. Alexa Together can alert family members and caregivers daily whenever their loved one first uses their Echo or if they haven’t used it by a specific time.
An Activity Feed allows caregivers to see how their older person interacts with Alexa and other smart home devices with alerts for user-generated activities throughout the day.
Circle of Support
Starting in early 2022, Alexa Together will allow subscribers to add other users to their Alexa Together account (friends, family, and other caregivers) who can also receive alerts concerning the person in their care. A single user will be supported when the product launches.
24/7 Urgent Response
Alexa Together subscribers also get 24/7 urgent response support from a professionally staffed call center. If your loved one says, “Alexa, call for help,” Amazon’s Urgent Response team will respond, and Alexa Together notifies the Circle of Support.
Alexa Together also supports fall detection alerts from compatible wearable or push-button devices. If a fall is detected, Alexa asks the subscriber if they would like it to notify the Urgent Response line and their emergency contacts.
Remote Assist enables family members and caregivers using the Alexa Together app to set reminders, manage shopping lists, and remotely manage certain features for their loved one’s Echo devices.
Drop In is like an intercom and allows family and caregivers to initiate an audio or video call (using the Echo Show) with their loved ones.
Fall Detection Response
Suppose a fall is detected or reported by a compatible wearable or push-button alert device. In that case, Alexa Together will ask the user if they want it to contact the Urgent Response line and the user’s emergency contacts.
Cost and Availability
Amazon released the Alexa Together on December 8, 2021. Support for multiple caregiving users is scheduled for early 2022. Alexa Together will only support a single care recipient at this time. Subscriptions will be $19.99 per month or $199 per year.
Given home care’s rising costs and staffing challenges, technological solutions like Amazon’s Alexa Together could help fill some potential gaps in care and support for aging adults living independently.
For more information or to sign up to receive an email alert when available, please go to amazon.com and search for Alexa Together or click here.
This post also appears in the November 2021 edition of Prime Time News.
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