Amazon is introducing two new features for its “Alexa Together” elder care subscription service. The subscription expands on Amazon’s existing product Alexa Care Hub and includes an emergency helpline, fall detection response features, a remote assist option that allows family members to manage settings on the elderly person’s device and an activity feed for family members that notifies them when their loved one is active or if there has been a lag in usual activity.
With a new “Circle of Support” feature, aging loved ones can now have up to 10 caregivers on their subscription. Both the aging person and the primary caregiver can now add additional caregivers, or “circle members,” to care for an aging loved one. Amazon notes that circle members can be siblings, cousins, friends or close neighbors. Circle members can also include the spouse of the primary caregiver so each spouse receives alerts on their smartphone. Additional caregivers will get access to things like daily alerts and quick check-ins through the activity feed. The new feature is now available to all Alexa Together users.
In addition, the service’s remote assist functionality will soon allow primary caregivers to remotely set up Alexa Routines, which are designed to group together actions seamlessly. For example, if a primary caregiver’s loved one starts every morning by turning off their alarm, turning on their bedroom light, asking about the weather and then the news, the primary caregiver can set up a personalized routine that does all of these actions automatically. By bundling actions together in a routine, aging loved ones don’t have to ask Alexa to do each action separately.
“Primary caregivers will be able to set up Routines for their aging loved ones just like they do on their own accounts, like turning on all of the household’s smart lights at sunset or setting up a goodnight Routine where Alexa will turn off smart lights and play sleep sounds,” the company outlined in a blog post. “Amazon will automatically send an email about the newest Routine to the aging loved one so they are informed whenever a new Routine is set up.”
Amazon has been invested in using Alexa to care for the elderly and infirm. In addition to Care Hub and Alexa Together, the company announced last year that it was bringing Alexa to hospitals and senior living centers, like Atria and Eskaton living centers and hospitals including Cedars-Sinai, BayCare and Houston Methodist. The company has also said it would work with partners who can tap into Alexa Smart Properties tools and APIs that allow them to develop specialized solutions for the elderly care market. Although these elderly care solutions are designed to be sold in a business-to-business (B2B) environment, Alexa Together targets the consumer market.
Alexa Together works with supported Alexa devices, like the Echo, Echo Dot or Echo Show, and is available either as an add-on service or in a device bundle. The subscription service costs $19.99 per month or $199 per year.