Numerous care homes in the UK have had their technology enhanced with the use of Amazon Alexa for their residents. Care homes such as Livability Brookside House stated that they believed it allows their residents to gain more independence, as with the help of Alexa, they are now able to control their television, play music and even control their lights. It is noted that some residents even use their gadgets to set reminders for them to take their medication, or have a drink of water.
Staff at Hampton Care home on the outskirts of London, said that this kind of technology allows their time to be free’d up in order for them to give extra assistance to those who need it more than others. 89-year old resident ruth states that “I’d be bored stiff without her” and in the recent months when her eyesight has started to deteriorate, she has used her Amazon Alexa to listen to audio books, she explains that she uses her Alexa “on a daily basis”.
A friend for life with new care home technology
Loneliness is highlighted as one of the curses of the elderly, however, with an Alexa at hand,
They will never be alone. Nursing staff have urged that an Alexa will never replace the involvement that they have with their residents, however, no matter the time of day, Alexa is a voice that can answer any questions – and that can be life changing for the elderly community. Balcombe Care Homes stated that “Industry experts are keen to exploit this aspect of the technology, and are creating programs designed to specifically help elderly users, including dementia sufferers, who could reap major benefits from this interactive speaker”
An Amazon Alexa simply works from saying the word “Alexa” within territory of the device and it will respond, offering you a huge range of services and answers. It is explained on the Balcombe Care Homes website that an Alexa can “look up facts on the internet, organise shopping lists, playa your favourite music and, if your home network is set up appropriately, Alexa can even turn off your lights and set your heating thermostat on demand.” They also explained that by introducing an Amazon Alexa in an elderly person’s home, this may even possibly delay the need of a patient to move into a care home. Hampton Care Home state that the “pros outweigh the cons” when it comes to introducing devices like this into their care homes, as people have warned that it may have the “Black Mirror effect” and residents may be getting listened to, however, Digital Line boss and project architect George Vaughn states that “We shouldn’t be afraid of using AI in care. It forces residents top be more articulate and engage their brains”. And he emphasises that “People are still needed for when residents need to be washed, dressed or hoisted out of bed. The speakers simply allow residents to make decisions without needing to ask.”
Care and Nursing Magazine previously covered ‘Smart Home Social Care’ click here to see how those changes that have been put in place, have worked and impacted the lives of residents