Smart Home: Set up Amazon’s Alexa for seniors


Smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, voice assistants, internet radios, streaming adapters – all of this has reached the masses within the last 5 to 15 years. Young people or people with a lifelong technical interest can often find out about the innovations quickly. But for those who have always only viewed technology as a means to an end, smartphones and apps that appear simple can be a major hurdle – even if the interest and instructions are there.

With a voice assistant, you can easily give your parents or grandparents access to digital audio content – without complicated menu structures and with almost uniform commands. Using the example of Amazon Alexa, we describe what you should pay attention to when setting up and show a selection of useful skills. We also have a template for clearly structured instructions that you can download, adapt and expand as you wish. It was worked out and tested with the author’s grandmother.

Regardless, note that while many seniors may be better at using voice commands than smartphones, not everyone likes to talk to a computer and you shouldn’t push anyone to accept a voice assistant. You should also explain to users in advance that Alexa is an internet-connected microphone and that they should be aware that you as a fitter, Amazon as operator and also potential attackers can eavesdrop on the room. Make it clear that only a pulled power supply will help against this.

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