Can Voice-First Speakers Change Caregiving?

Hey Siri — Can You Help Me, Help Her?

Would you believe it if I told you that we are just a few years away from having voice-first speakers such as Amazon Echo (Alexa), Google Home (Hey Google) or Apple HomePod (Hey Siri) in the majority of American households? Well, believe it, because according to Juniper Research, 55% of households (70 million) will have these smart devices by 2022.  And if you are a professional caregiver, helping an aging parent, or caring for someone that struggles with memory loss, mobility, or vision issues, this might be more exciting than you think. 

What If You Forgot How To…

At Generation Connect, we work with creative caregivers, and many of them care for people living with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. For those living with dementia, their memory loss often results in the inability to initiate enjoyable actives, such as listening to music. For many, they have completely forgotten how to turn on their favorite songs.

That does not mean they do not enjoy music; in fact, the opposite is typically true - familiar can be extremely comforting and enjoyable. However, it does mean that they are completely reliant on others to bring music into their lives. Most smart caregivers use music often because they know personally meaningful songs can easily lift spirits — and now it just got easier.

One Sentence Can Change Your Day

Voice-first Speakers Work with a Wide Variety of Music Services

With voice-activated speakers, caregivers can play music with their hands full, from across the room, and in one sentence. To find meaningful songs for someone, ask spouses, siblings, and children what they remember hearing in their home. You can start with just a few songs and build a playlist over time.

When you hear or are reminded of a song you know the care recipient will love, you can add it to the playlist from the connected smartphone or tablet app. Even better, with many services, you can simply tell your assistant (Alexa/Siri/Google) to add a song to a specific playlist. 

Effortlessly, play music with voice-first speakers.

Effortlessly, play music with voice-first speakers.

Helping with Post Acute Care

Recently, a 97-year-old mother we know broke her hip, right arm and was moved to a rehabilitation facility. Rehab was a strange new environment, and her son noticed she was feeling isolated and getting depressed.  With a cast on her arm, she could no longer hold her phone to speak with the family. The son brought her an Amazon Dot to help the communication issue. It gave her hands-free calling and a simple way to communicate with family.

Use voice-first speakers to make hands-free calls easy.

Use voice-first speakers to make hands-free calls easy.

The son, who had several voice-activated systems at home began to tap into many of the other fun things his mother and her care staff could try, games, jokes, and news. Here is what he told us, “I think the biggest takeaway is how much more her caregivers engage with her now. Bottom line, the speaker makes it more fun for carers too.”

Tech-Savvy Carers Are Already Spreading the Word…

Here is a creative solution from a tech-savvy caregiver: 

“Post a list of prompts on the wall behind their resident’s favorite chair. The prompts help other care staff, family and visitors enrich the resident’s day by saying one sentence to their device. It really is that simple.” 

A simple list of prompts can help caregivers make meaningful connections.

A simple list of prompts can help caregivers make meaningful connections.

Whether it is listening to music, communicating with family, relaxing, or playing games, when you make voice-first part of your care routine, we are pretty sure you will find that one sentence that will brighten your day.

Is your care organization interested in utilizing MP3 players, tablets, and voice-first speaker to make meaningful connections and enhance care?

Learn more about Generation Connect's services.

Debby Dodds