Posted on September 2019 By James Southwell
This care home has a robotic resident joining them, Amazon Echo’s were recently introduced into Livability Brookside House in an attempt to make residents more independent and feel less alone.
Alexa, as it’s commonly known, is the name of the voice inside the Amazon Echo smart speakers. As these devices are on the rise in terms of popularity it seems that care homes have found a rather interesting use for them, pairing them up with things like smart lights and smart TV’s which let residents communicate on how bright they want their rooms or what channel they’d like to watch. Alexa responds to these requests vocally then performs the action, this is a perfect fit for residents who aren’t able to stand up regularly and do things alone. It isn’t just a little talking remote though; Alexa has been utilised in the past to help dementia patients through its use of voice and response, it’s great for tackling issues like loneliness and extremely practical as a medication reminder. Alongside her functionality is her easily recognisable signature voice, something that dementia patients will be able to get quickly adjusted to.
Livability Brookside House isn’t the only care home trying to transition into the age of digital carers and helpers. Earlier this year in May, Hampton Court Palace began placing Amazon Echo’s and Echo Show’s by the bedsides of its residents and found fantastic results in similar ways. Ruth Drahota is 89 and loves to use her Amazon Echo Show, a device very similar to the original Echo but provides a digital screen alongside the mini built-in speaker that the original already has. Ruth spends her time playing games and watching TV shows on the small screen but still performs little tasks such as controlling her smart fan. She even goes as far to say that when her Show is ‘out of commission, I really miss her’.
Ruth is truly fond of her new little companion and finished off by adding ‘it’s good at night to have someone I can speak to’. Unfortunately this sort of tech isn't wide spread yet but hopefully we'll begin to see more as people realise it's great practicality in healthcare.