Speech is the simplest and most natural way for us to interact with technology. Thanks to the advances in voice powered technology the applications for uncomplicated uses are changing the way seniors use technology and assist with maintaining their independence.
Amazon Alexa and Google Home are amongst the more popular digital assistants that can be integrated with your home. From practical uses such as the weather, the date, the time, the year, medication reminders, and appointment reminders all with your voice command. Digital assistants can bring up and play your favourite song or read off any one of your favourite recipes. Order you a taxi, call your daughter and tell you who won the Stanley Cup in 1987, tell you the symptoms of a stroke. Digital Assistants are an endless supply of information all you need to do is ask.
Safety and living at home is a big factor for many seniors who wish to age in place. With the ability to fully integrate into your home a digital assistant can assist many older adults with remaining independent longer. With features such as home security, monitoring your loved ones safe from a distance is simple; turning on lights, turning off ovens & stoves or adjusting the thermostat are a breeze for both seniors and family who can't always run across town or the country to check on their loved ones.
How do they work?
Connected to your homes wifi a voice activated personal assistant is essentially a speaker with a microphone that is sophisticated enough to distinguish between multiple voices so if you ask to play your favourite song it will play your song list not your spouses. Depending on which device you purchase, you speak commands after saying a wake word such as; "OK Google" or "Alexa" followed by the question or command you have. "Alexa what days is it?".
Setting up the digital assistants is super easy, they simply plug into the wall in an area of your home you frequent the most, download the app on your smartphone and follow the easy steps to connect to wifi and if you want more integration, connect to your other devices such, lighting, security systems, thermostats etc.
Smart screens and smart speakers will grow in popularity as they integrate with more appliances and products for your home. Google assistant is already available in a few TV's. They have a great amount of potential for the senior demographic and can make life easier for those wishing to remain at home as well as those with Alzheimer's and related dementia's.