Siri and Alexa are two of the most commonly used voice assistants in the world, though there are others that are available. We had previously highlighted why Google Home is a great tech item for seniors. This time, we’re shifting the focus onto Amazon Alexa and Apple’s Siri and how these smart devices and voice assistants can also benefit seniors!
In her book on brain aging, the University of Arizona’s Elizabeth L. Glisky points out that cognitive changes come naturally with old age but can be managed. This is why it’s important for seniors to make lifestyle changes that will help keep their minds sharp throughout their golden years. Fortunately, advancements in today’s smart technology can help them do just that.
With more and more smart home devices and voice assistants being launched every so often, it’s easier for seniors to become more independent and have higher social engagement, both of which can help slow down brain aging. Keeping the mind sharp is vital, with Maryville University noting that the aging population is requiring more and more complex healthcare, but the shortage in primary care physicians may make meeting those needs a challenge. That said, with the use of voice assistants slowly becoming the norm, we can see how these do not just add convenience to the lives of seniors, but they can also help keep their minds active and healthy.
Here is a closer look with the German company that discovered and designed an application for Amazon’s smart speaker, Alexa, could help address some emergency situations in the home. Their ultimate goal was to include seniors and their family members, iterate and improve the solution to keep seniors safe at home and provide all with peace of mind.
Listed below are the ways voice assistants, like Siri and Alexa, can help seniors keep their minds sharp through their different features!
Makes Staying Connected Easier
Researchers from Northwestern University highlight a notable link between brain health and positive relationships, showing how maintaining high social engagement helps protect the aging brain. As a person grows older, socializing with others may get harder. Although nothing beats face-to-face interaction, Siri and Alexa make it easier for seniors to connect and interact instantly with family and friends — especially if mobility has become an issue.
Seniors can send messages and make calls hands-free through Siri and Alexa. They simply just need to say, “Alexa, send a message” or “Siri, call my son” to start.
Provides More Learning Opportunities
To keep an aging mind healthy, it’s important to keep it active by learning about new things or skills. One way to do that is by listening to audiobooks. Seniors can easily tell Alexa to read an Audible or Kindle book by saying, “Alexa, read (Title of the book)”. Thankfully for Apple users, Siri now supports third-party applications such as Audible, which seniors can use to listen to audiobooks through Siri.
Siri and Alexa can also help seniors stay informed and up to date with current news. They only need to say, “Siri, can you give me the news?” or “Alexa, tell me the news” to hear about the day’s top headlines and news stories. What’s more, Amazon also launched a new feature that allows Alexa users to get more in-depth news from their preferred news provider earlier this year.
Aside from audiobooks and current news, Siri and Alexa can also play lectures, podcasts, and tutorials. Seniors can also easily search for general knowledge questions about history, science, and math through these two voice assistants.
Can Help With Mental Stimulation
Another way to improve brain health is through activities that stimulate it. Listening to music may seem like a passive activity, but Thrive Global shares how it can activate every known part of the brain, while improving cognition and memory. It doesn’t matter what musical genre a senior prefers, as Siri and Alexa can easily play whatever song he or she wants to listen to.
Seniors can also ask Siri and Alexa for some brainteasers like riddles and simple math questions to help with memory and brain processing speed. But when it comes to actually playing brain training games, Alexa has more “skills” compared to Siri. Seniors can play a bunch of random games through Alexa, such as Jeopardy, Crazy Math, Magoosh Vocabulary Builder, and Song Quiz.
Alongside Amazon Alexa or Siri, our Caregivers can provide excellent companionship services and keep seniors happy and safe at home!
Guest blog contributor: Esther Sheppard
Esther Sheppard is a stay-at-home mom with a background in psychology. On top of packing school lunches, braiding hair, and maintaining a functioning home for her husband and three daughters, Esther enjoys writing and yoga.