Disclaimer: The Lewis Mason Thurston Area Agency on Aging is providing this information for general purposes only. We encourage anyone who is interested in these technology solutions to do more research to determine whether these tools are right for them. We also encourage people to look into each tool’s user agreements and any privacy concerns. We are not endorsing the use of any one of these products nor are we financially benefitting from our mention of them.
Alexa, Siri, and Google Assist
Let Alexa and Siri help you remember with a verbal prompt, which you set up, to remind you about the “10 am medications.” They will not stop reminding you until you call to confirm you heard it. Many mechanical medication reminders are great, but after their one alarm, they do not repeat the reminder. What happens if you are helping in the bathroom and did not hear it?
The Alexa app and their corresponding products like the Echo and Echo Dot are now in their 4th generation. (Remember when a generation was 20 or 30 years?). These Smart Apps have become famous as people ask them what the temperature is outside, will it rain today, or tell me a joke. Very handy. They also have calendars which you can set up to remind you about appointments next week, next month or things which happen twice a year.
Another great Alexa feature is Blueprint, but it may take some assistance to use. Blueprint helps you customize calendars for chores, for multiple caregivers’ schedules, AND even map or ‘remember’ where you put things in your home! Yes, you can record where, and in which box, you put the old baby photos or that really great fabric left over from a baby quilt you made in 2001.
Siri has many similar features and works with Apple devices. Google Assist works with their very own speakers like the Google Home and works with your phone, TV, or tablet.
Another category of helpful tech items are trackers which work with your smartphone. Tile and Apple Air Tags are two such trackers that are small plastic squares you attach to something you would like to know where it is. Attach one to your phone, keep one in your purse, or toss one in your suitcase for your next plane trip. Some caregivers have placed or sewn them into clothing for their family member during the wandering phase.
Evernote is another great tech caregiving tool. It is an eStorage app. You can scan documents and organize them just like a filing cabinet. You can keep important papers as paper documents, but it is a great digital back up and storage for wills, advanced directives, or insurance papers. There is a learning curve, but it is a great task to delegate to a family member. They may learn a new skill to help organize themselves.