Alexa: Useful tool for Seniors With Memory Loss

While memory loss is a key symptom of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, forgetfulness can also be a part of the normal ageing process. It can also sometimes be a result of other diseases, such as depression or an underactive thyroid.

If you’re experiencing any kind of memory problems, there are lots of devices that can make a real difference to your life. From gadgets that remind you to turn off the taps when running a bath to medication reminders and technology to stop you getting lost, there are a wealth of products on offer.

Some memory aids are fairly technical, others less so – but all are designed to help with remembering important and safety-critical everyday tasks. Below, we describe one of the most (if not the most) popular series of smart gadgets currently available on the market which can help those living with memory problems: Amazon Echo and Alexa.

There are at least 10 ways we can think Amazon Echo and Alexa can help forgetful seniors to either remind them about something and also to trigger their memory, such as:

  1. Set medication reminders
  2. Provide a reliable Calendar 
  3. Easily Manage Your Calendar
  4. Keep Track of Lists
  5. Find your phone
  6. Alert friends and/or family in the case of an emergency
  7. Store your “memories”
  8. Connect to your past
  9. Answer Questions
  10. Work together with other Smart appliances in your Smart living

Alexa also has 5 “skills” to Boost Memory for Seniors and sharp their minds:

  1. Memory Recall Training
  2. Brain Workout
  3. Question of the Day
  4. Jeopardy!
  5. Staying Sharp Memory Game (From AARP)

To learn more details about these lists, keep reading the post!

* If you want to check other posts about smart gadgets for seniors suffering from memory loss, click here.

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Amazon Echo and Alexa for Beginners

Before going on, for those readers who are not sure what we are talking about, here is a brief description of what Amazon Echo and Alexa are.

What is Amazon Echo?

Amazon Echo is a voice-activated and controlled smart speaker that uses speech recognition with a virtual assistant, “Alexa”, to perform an ever-growing range of tasks on command. Amazon calls the built-in brains of this device “Alexa,” and she* is the thing that makes it work.

These tasks can be simple, such as playing music or making lists, or more advanced, such as controlling your smart home’s thermostat or turning off your lights.

But what is Alexa?

So basically, Alexa is an artifical intelligence (AI) developed by Amazon, and made available in a family of hardware products with names like the Amazon Echo, the Amazon Echo Show, the Amazon Echo Dot and the Amazon Echo Studio.

There are several Echo products in the family which vary in subtle ways, but are part of the same family. 

Echo Show

The Echo Show 10 is the newest smart display with Alexa. features a 10.1″ HD screen that’s designed to move with you, video calls, recipes, and shows are always in view. You can actually ask Alexa anything, ask to play your favorite shows, music, and podcasts from Prime Video, Netflix (coming soon), Amazon Music, Spotify, and more. The speakers deliver premium, directional sound.

Besides, with this voice controlled device, you can also take a picture while the 13MP camera with auto-framing and motion keeps you front and center. And you can use the Echo Show as a digital picture frame as well.

The Amazon Echo products offer you the option of having your smart home made simple. You can also securely access the built-in camera to remotely monitor your home anytime with the Alexa app or other Echo Show devices. Set up compatible devices or smart products without a separate hub. Ask Alexa to show you security cameras, control lights, and adjust thermostats.

The Amazon Echo products are designed to protect your privacy. Electronically disconnect the microphones and camera with one press of a button. Slide the built-in shutter to cover the camera. Disable motion at any time.

Click here for more details on here (coming soon!). And click here to check the latest version of this device on Amazon.

Echo Dot

The Echo Dot with a clock is the most popular smart speaker with Alexa. The sleek, compact design delivers crisp vocals and balanced bass for full sound.

With this voice controlled device, you can see the time, alarms, and timers on the LED display. Tap the top to snooze an alarm.

And you can ask Alexa anything, ask Alexa to tell a joke, play music, answer questions, play the news, check the weather, set alarms, and more.

You can call almost anyone hands-free. Instantly drop in on other rooms or announce to the whole house that dinner’s ready.

The Amazon Echo products offer you the option of having your smart home made simple. You can use your voice to turn on lights, adjust thermostats, and lock doors with compatible devices.

The Amazon Echo products are designed to protect your privacy. Built with multiple layers of privacy protections and controls, including a microphone off button that electronically disconnects the microphones.

Click here for more details on Amazon.

Echo Studio

The Echo Studio features 5 speakers that produce powerful bass, dynamic midrange, and crisp highs. Dolby Atmos technology adds space, clarity, and dept. It adapts to any room, and automatically senses the acoustics of your space, fine-tuning playback for optimal sound

With this voice controlled device, you can stream songs from Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, Tidal, and more. With Amazon Music HD, play 50 million songs in HD plus a growing library of music mastered in 3D. And you can ask Alexa anything, ask to play music, read the news, and answer questions.

Click here for more details on Amazon.

Echo Frames

The Echo Frames are the newest – and coolest – Echo device, just released on the market. Like the other Echo products, the Echo Frames you can just ask Alexa anything: Make calls, set reminders, add to your to-do lists, get the news, listen to podcasts, or control your smart home from anywhere.

What makes the echo frame special is that you can actually use them all day long and everywhere. They are lightweight, splash-resistant, and compatible with most prescription lenses.

It is designed to protect your privacy. The microphones are designed to respond to the voice of the person wearing the frames and turn off with the double-press of a button. And the Echo Frames direct sound to your ears while minimizing what others can hear. Plus, they can adjust volume based on the noise level of your environment.

Supports access to Google Assistant and Siri from a compatible device.

The Echo Frame can work for over 2 hours of talk time, Alexa interactions, and media playback over a 14-hour day. Or, up to 4 hours of nonstop listening on a full charge.

Click here for more details on Amazon.

The Amazon Echo products offer you the option of having your smart home made simple.

As you may notice, all the Amazon Echo products have basically the same essential features. What changes is that each one is specifically designed to make your life simpler in different aspects (smart displays and smart speakers). So each of them has special features that differentiate themselves.

But they can all be set up to your smart home to make it simple. And they all have Alexa and the skills that come with it which can be really helpful for forgetful seniors.

Let’s now take a closer look at these skills and the possible ways Amazon Echo and Alexa can help forgetful seniors to either remind them about something and also to boost their memory.

10 Ways Amazon Alexa Helps Forgetful Seniors to Deal with Memory Loss

There are at least 10 ways Alexa can help forgetful seniors to either remind them about something and also to boost their memory.

1. Set medication reminders 

Using the remind feature, Alexa can be set up to remind your loved one whenever it’s time to take their medication. This is helpful for those with dementia since remembering the exact time to take medication can be very difficult.

When it comes to medication, 87% of adults between 62 and 85 take at least one prescription, and 38% take five or more. Staying on top of medication is vital, but it can be difficult for seniors to remember to take a medication without full-time caregivers. With Alexa, setting medication reminders is as simple as saying, “Alexa, remind me to take my medication at 4:00 PM.” (Tip: Download the skill Giant Eagle Pharmacy and give commands such as “Alexa, what times do I need to take my medication today?”)

Setting reminders is one of Alexa’s simplest features, but it may also be one of its most powerful. Using Alexa to set medication reminders can be extremely helpful for taking your medications on the right days and at the right times, which goes a long way towards healthy aging.

All you need to say is “Alexa, remind me to take my medications every day at 9am.”

If you have multiple medications that need to be taken at different times, then you can set reminders for each particular medication.

Click here to get My Monthly Calendar free Alexa skill on Amazon.

2. Provide a reliable Calendar

Seniors with dementia may have a hard time remembering the date and time. Alexa can provide that information to your loved one whenever they need a reminder. 

Click here to get My Monthly Calendar free Alexa skill on Amazon.

3. Easily Manage Your Calendar

With as busy as life can get, it can be difficult to keep track of all your plans. Give your Amazon Echo and Echo Show the responsibility of managing your calendar so you can stay on top of doctor appointments, outings with friends, grandkids coming to visit, birthdays, and all the rest of life’s events.

Putting plans up on your calendar is simple; say, “Alexa, add an event to my calendar” and give the name of the event along with the date and time when prompted.

Your Echo is already equipped with the abilities to set reminders to keep you on top of your calendar. This handy feature will remind you when it’s time to leave for an appointment, to call a friend back, or even when it’s time to take something out of the oven. 

4. Keep Track of Lists

Alexa offers an easy way for your senior to keep track of necessary purchases or lists. Your loved one only needs to speak the items they need to add to their shopping list or review things they need to get around the house, and Alexa will record it for them. It will remain on the app until they need to refer to it again.

You don’t need to find a pad or paper to make lists with Alexa. Simply say, “Alexa, make a list.” And then create a grocery list, to-do list, or packing list for an upcoming trip, to name a few.

Create as many lists as you’d like:

  • To-do lists
  • Shopping lists
  • Holiday gift lists
  • Vacation packing lists
  • etc.

To add something to a list, say the following: “Alexa, add an item to my holiday gift list” and then say what you’d like to be added. To remove something from a list, just follow the same steps but say “remove” instead of “add.”

When you want to know what’s currently on a list, simply ask “Alexa, what’s on my holiday gift list?” Your Echo will announce the list aloud and your Echo Show will display it for you to see.

5. Find your phone

Phone Finder is a handy skill that, once enabled, can be used to override your Android phone’s silent settings to ring it at full volume. Useful if you often forget where you’ve put your phone down!

Click here to get the Phone Finder free Alexa skill on Amazon.

6. Alert friends and/or family in the case of an emergency

Ask My Buddy is a great skill for seniors who live alone, as it gives them the ability to alert friends and/or family in the case of an emergency. Ask my buddy is basically a personal alert network. It sends a text, email and call to someone who is registered as a contact to tell them that the person who requested the alert needs help and needs to be checked on. It also gives the option to send “check-in” alerts, so you can quickly and easily let people know that you are okay.

Click here to get Ask My Buddy free Alexa skill on Amazon.

7. Store your “memories”

My Life Story is a skill designed for those suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia. A loved one or carer sets up “memories” within it of the person’s life, which can then be played back at any time, allowing the senior to relive some of their happier moments that they may otherwise find it hard to remember.

Click here to get My Life Story free Alexa skill on Amazon.

8. Connect you to your past

Somewhat similar to the previous Alexa skill, Memory Lane is the first of a suite of skills Hacking Alzheimer’s are building to use Alexa with Alzheimer’s patients. Memory Lane ‘connects users to the past’. The user can ask for a descriptions and audio clips from a defining event in history from that year. It can cause nostalgia, improve mood and possibly trigger memories.

Click here to get Memory Lane free Alexa skill on Amazon.

9. Answer Questions

Those suffering from dementia have trouble remembering facts ranging from the current president to what day of the week it is. By enabling the questioning mode, Alexa can answer all your loved one’s questions. This can help your loved one feel more comfortable and less confused in their environment.

10. Work together with other Smart appliances in your Smart living

With Alexa’s voice commands, seniors can simply call out and have Alexa control the lights or adjust smart appliance settings. Seniors with smart technology can control the thermostat, turn on the TV, adjust the oven temperature, monitor security systems, and more. 

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Adjust the thermostat: Your smart thermostat can also be controlled with your voice with Amazon Echo. So if it’s getting too chilly in your room, you can just say, “Alexa, turn the heat up two degrees.” Setting your thermostat for a specific temperature is also easy with Alexa.

Lock your doors: You can also lock your doors with your voice if you have smart locks. This makes it easy to lock up at night if you don’t want to get out of bed.

Control your lighting: If you have a smart home, you can easily connect your lights to your Amazon Echo. You can then control your smart lighting by saying “Alexa, turn on the lights.” Or you can even dim them by saying, “Alexa, dim the lights.”

Click here for more details of the Alexa smart home starter kit with Hue bulbs on Amazon.

5 Alexa’s “skills” to Boost Memory for Seniors and sharp their minds:

Alexa is great for playing fun trivia games that offer your mind an entertaining challenge. Brain teasers can help keep your mind quick and even delay the cognitive effects of aging.

1. Memory Recall Training

The Memory Training Skill allows you to train your ability to remember phone numbers and sequences of digits. It’s perfect memory practice.

How does it work? A passage will be read out to you. Concentrate, listen carefully, and try to remember what is said. Afterwards you will be asked some questions which will test your comprehension and memory. Continue to play, and train yourself to recall details more easily.

Click here to get Memory Recall Training free Alexa skill on Amazon.

2. Brain Workout

This is the most popular brain training skill designed to improve your focus, concentration, memory, processing speed, math skills, and more.

How does it work? Each workout is fun, interactive, and personalized with exercises that adjust over time to maximize results.

The more you train with Brain Workout, the more you’ll improve critical cognitive skills that are proven to boost productivity and self-confidence
Users who train at least 3 times per week have reported dramatic gains and increased confidence.

The more you train with Brain Workout, the more you’ll improve critical cognitive skills that are proven to boost productivity and self-confidence
Users who train at least 3 times per week have reported dramatic gains and increased confidence.

Click here to get Brain Workout free Alexa skill on Amazon.

3. Question of the Day

Games like Question of the Day and Jeopardy! are very popular (and free!). There are also several other trivia and puzzle games that you can find in the Alexa skills database.

How does it work? Each day, Alexa’s Question of the Day poses a new trivia question for you, from arts and entertainment to literature and science. Earn bonus questions, collect points, compete against other fans, and learn something new everyday!

By the way, Question of the Day was awarded the 2020 Gaming Voice Experience of the Year.

Click here to get Question of the Day free Alexa skill on Amazon.

4. Jeopardy!

Jeopardy is America’s favorite quiz show, having over 35 seasons.

How does it work? Just say “Alexa, open Jeopardy” and play to get started! With a single voice command, test your knowledge with new clues every weekday. Step up to the podium and play the same categories you saw on the latest episode! Play a wide range of categories including sports, pop culture, travel, world history, and much more! Get the true Jeopardy! experience now as you respond, just like contestants on the show! The Double Jeopardy! round gives you 6 extra clues every weekday, plus Teen Jeopardy! and Sports Jeopardy! on Sundays.

Click here to get Jeopardy! free Alexa skill on Amazon.

5. Staying Sharp Memory Game (From AARP)

With this skill from, you can test your memory skills with Alexa and learn tips based on scientific evidence.

How does it work? Use simple voice commands to play games with numbers and words. Alexa will give you motivating feedback and personalize the level of difficulty for each game based on how well you’re doing. When you finish a game, Alexa will tell you how you scored. Practice every day and see if you can beat your own scores.

Click here to get Staying Sharp Memory Game From AARP free Alexa skill on Amazon.

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  1. First of all I would like to say excellent blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if
    you do not mind. I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing.
    I’ve had a tough time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts
    out there. I do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or
    tips? Kudos!

    1. Author

      Hey Maisie, thanks for reaching out. I don’t really have any tips for you. Just write about things you love, that really interests you, and maybe it will be easier to keep focus. I hope it helps! Cheers!

  2. Great article! I quickly noticed that reminder skills were #1 in your list of most helpful. But in developing comprehensive programs for in-home dementia patients, I’ve recently been exploring development of custom skills based on individual patients’ needs. A question that has come up is in regard to the currently-available reminders and the limited number of options those reminder skills currently (seem to) have. Are there any reminder skills that will wait until a user has confirmed that he/she has completed a particular reminder before presenting the next reminder? For example, if a user needs to be reminded to drink water at 8AM, 12PM, 4PM, and 8PM, are there currently any reminder skills that would periodically (more than twice if necessary) repeat with a prompt like “have you had your 8AM drink of water yet?” until the user answers “yes”?

    1. Author

      Hey Greg, thank you for the support 🙂 You can’t imagine how much these words mean to me.

      About the set up you asked about – if a user needs to be reminded to drink water, I actually have a post just about this topic: How to Prevent Elderly Dehydration? Gadgets that actually work Check it out!

      As for Alexa, there is not much it can’t do. I will do my own research on it and get back with a confirmation soon. This would be very interesting!

      Please help me keep growing… If you want to keep on reading my new posts, you can always subscribe to our newsletter and I also have a Facebook page 🙂 And please share with your friends who can potentially benefit from this website as well! I hope you have a great day!

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