Caring for older adults can be challenging, particularly when loved ones live far away. Amazon is hoping to make it easier by providing support for older adults, their families and caregivers through a new elder subscription service, Alexa Together, available later this year in the U.S. Once launched, the subscription service can set up daily alerts, provide 24/7 urgent response support, offer remote assistance, fall detection services, and more, allowing older adults to remain independent longer.
“Alexa Together – introducing a new service to help you care for the ones you love.”
Customized alerts: Subscribers can get customized activity alerts and an activity feed, so they can stay up to date on what their loved ones are doing. This helps loved ones and caregivers to stay connected while allowing the older adults in their lives to remain independent.
Circle of support: Early next year, Alexa Together will add a “circle of support” in which a subscriber can add loved ones, caregivers and other family and friends.
24/7 urgent support and fall detection response: The elder subscription service will offer a 24/7 urgent response team that is staffed around the clock. The subscriber just needs to say “Alexa, call for help,” or if a compatible third-party fall detection device detects a fall, Alexa can check in with a loved one to see if help is needed and if any emergency contacts need to be notified.
Remote assist: Once activated, a subscriber can use their for phone to set reminders, manage shopping lists and adjust other settings on their Amazon Echo devices. The service will also allow loved ones to help set up remote assistance and reminders for their loved ones, like connecting a streaming music service. As the Alexa Together subscription evolves, other “remote assist” options will be available.
Privacy: Amazon says their new Alexa Together elder subscription service is designed with multiple layers of privacy protection. Each person in the circle of support needs to be granted access, which can be revoked at any time. Also, in the primary user’s activity feed, only “high-level information” will be shown, protecting the primary user’s privacy.
Alexa Together subscription
Amazon’s initial pricing for Alexa Together is $19.99 a month, billed monthly, or $199.00, billed annually, after a free, limited six-month trial. According to Amazon’s FAQs, only one active subscription is needed to use Alexa Together, and it can be purchased by the adult who needs a little extra help or a loved one who wants to provide additional support. At launch, the service is only available in the United States.
For now, potential subscribers can visit the Alexa Together page and click on “email me when released” to get notified when the elder subscription service is available. Once it has been launched, the primary user will need an Echo- or Alexa-enabled devices that support calling (e.g., Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Show), WiFi and the Alexa app on their phone. For video chat features like video “drop in” visits, Amazon recommends the Echo Show. For the best experience and reach, Amazon also recommends that the primary user has multiple devices throughout their home.
As someone with aging relatives thousands of miles away, I am excited to see this subscription service launch. This will be a great way for me to stay in touch with older adults in my family who want to remain independent, but who will take comfort in knowing that I am easily reachable should they have a fall or another medical emergency. The $20 a month price tag is nothing compared to the peace of mind it will give me and my family and the millions of others in similar situations.