By: Frank Engelman | Posted: December 18, 2020 | Updated: April 5, 2023
After writing several “How To” articles, relating to Alexa and related products, I have been getting quite a few questions about things I neglected to cover in those articles. This page is to collect some of the common questions, together with detailed “how to” answers.
If you haven’t yet read the original articles, I would start there (see below). If you understand the big picture, but are stuck on some details, scroll down and see if your question is answered.
The Big Picture (start with one of these articles if you are just getting started)
- Amazon Echo and Alexa for the Elderly
- Amazon Echo Show: Older Adults Explore
- How to Set Up Alexa Calling for a Loved One
- Alexa Care Hub: “How To” Advice
- How to Set Up an Amazon Fire TV Cube
- Making TV “Useful” For My 94-yr-old Aunt
The Question Categories
Q&A’s on this page are grouped into these categories:
Q&A: Alexa Calling
If you are just getting started with Alexa Calling see “How to Set Up Alexa Calling for a Loved One”. Below are some additional pointers.
Should I add my Dad to my Alexa account or create one for him?
While it appears to be a simple solution to take an Echo device you have already setup in your home, running on your Wi-Fi and ship it to your Dad, there are some points you need to consider before doing that”.
- Any reminders and calendar events you set for him will also show up on your devices.
- Since this is on your Amazon Account, any commands that he misspeaks could turn on/off smart devices (if you have any) in your home or even order things by voice, if you have that enabled. I know that kids in families that have multiple echo devices enjoy pranking their parents with lighting or TV controls.
- Since he won’t have his own Alexa account, you can’t use the Alexa Care Hub features which can allow you to monitor his wake-up time, if that’s important.
- The lack of his own Alexa Account means you can’t set up Emergency Contact calling. This is not 911 calling, but it allows him to say a simple request for help and have it call your number.
- If other family members want to set reminders or post photos, they will need your account info to login.
- An incoming Alexa call to YOU will also ring your Dad’s device, causing confusion.
How can I setup Alexa Calling if my parents don’t have a mobile phone to receive the SMS setup message?
How can I troubleshoot my Dad’s Alexa Calling issues?
You can do this from your own home, on your own mobile device.
In the Alexa app
- Tap More
- Tap Settings
- Scroll down and sign out of your account
- Sign back in with your Dad’s account
The first thing to notice is if it asks you to add a mobile number to the account. If it does, it means that the Google voice number did not get in there and you will need to add it now.
- Continue to sign in as your Dad
You should NOT get challenged to verify Dad’s phone number. If it does, it means that the Google voice or TextNow number did not get in there and you will need to add it now.
- There is no need to teach Alexa your voice- skip
- Tap Communicate
- Tap the person icon in the upper right
- Tap on your Dad’s name
- It should show his Google Voice or TextNow number there
- It should also show “People who can drop in”
- If it doesn’t show anyone, use the back arrow in the upper left to add some contacts
Don’t forget to log out as you Dad and back in as yourself on the Alexa app to test.
How can I make drop-in work on Grandma’s Echo Show?
On your mobile device, delete and re-install the Alexa app
• Log in with your Grandmother’s Amazon account
• Tap Devices
• Tap Echo & Alexa
• Tap on her Echo Show 5 name
• Tap Communications
• Be sure “Drop In” is enabled
• Tap Communicate
• Tap on the “person” in upper right
• Tap on her name
• Under permissions- be sure “Allow Drop In” is on
• Under “People who can drop in”- be sure your name is in there
Why are calls that family members make to Mom’s Echo Show being sent to MY phone instead?
The reason that calls are going to your phone is most likely that your phone number was used when setting up your Mom’s Alexa and is now assigned in your Mom’s Alexa account. To verify this, log into your Mom’s Alexa account and see what phone number is assigned… see steps below. That is why I recommended using a free Google Voice number or TextNow number in the setup instructions.
Rather than doing a complete re-install, let’s try this as a workaround.
- Create a free Google Voice number using YOUR mobile number to accept it
- On your phone, delete the Alexa app and reinstall it
- Login with your MOM’s Alexa account
- Tap Communicate
- Tap the “person outline” in the upper right
- Tap on your Mom’s name
- Tap edit
- Tap on the mobile phone number and enter the Google Voice or TextNow number you created
- Accept the text you receive from Google or TextNow
You can now delete the Alexa app and reinstall as yourself.
If it still doesn’t work for your relatives, try logging into your MOM’s Amazon account (the one where you buy stuff) and change the mobile number to the Google Voice or TextNow number.
How to get rid of extra contacts in my Mom’s Echo Show?
The first thing to do is go into your MOM’s Amazon account and remove the mobile phone number that was assigned. I’m assuming that it is your phone number.
Then in your MOM’s Alexa account, you need to make some changes. You can access her account from you or your phone by deleting the Alexa app and re-installing it and logging in with your MOM’s Alexa account.
Once you are in there:
• Tap Communicate on the bottom
• Tap the “Person” outline in the upper right
• Tap on a contact that you want to delete
• Tap Edit
• Tap Delete Contact
• Tap Delete
How Do I Use Alexa Group Calling or Zoom
Q&A: Alexa Care Hub
To learn the basics of setting up and using the Alexa Care Hub, see Alexa Care Hub: “How To” Advice. Below are some additional pointers.
Why is the Alexa Care Hub setup failing?
Please see the setup article (above) for detailed setup instructions. If you are running into a problem during installation where you get the message that “You are already in a Care Hub Relationship”, be sure that you have logged out of ALL your Amazon accounts!
This is different than logging out of your Alexa Account. Amazon account logins seem to confuse the Alexa Care Hub installer.
What is an “emergency contact”?
This is an Alexa Calling feature that can be setup when configuring Alexa Care Hub.
The calling for help phrase becomes easier when you enable Emergency Contact.
He can just say any of these
Q&A: Configuring Echo Show for your remote parents
If you are new to the Echo Show, start with Amazon Echo Show: Older Adults Explore. For additional pointers, see below.
How to get a big screen clock on my Echo Show?
That is a great question and one where Amazon doesn’t provide a good answer. There is no “direct” setting for making the “date” available on the Echo Show in “Wallpaper & Clock”, except in the Echo Show 5… it has been a requested feature for years on Amazon forums.
The clock with date will show up as the screen “rotates” through displays of selections you have made in “Settings” (if you have Rotate Continuously enabled in Settings- Home Content).
For example, on the Echo Show Gen 2 & Echo Show 8 you should see the following rotating content: (Echo Show 5 is different)
- Time & Weather in upper left corner
- Time & Weather in upper left corner plus week’s weather on center of display (if weather forecast is enabled)
- Large Time & weather & date in lower left (It should actually spend most of it’s time on this screen)
You might check for software updates under Settings- Device Options- Check for Software Updates. Mine is running Fire OS 22.214.171.124 (658657020)
One other thing that you could do if you just want this display-> * Large Time & weather & date in lower left , is to turn on “Do Not Disturb”.
This is available in “swipe down from the top”. You can still talk to Alexa, but others won’t be able to call you.
Or, A Dementia Clock “Skill”
Reader Carol T. has suggested that the Alexa Skill “Screensaver” makes a significant dementia calendar-clock display. After doing some testing, I agree. However this skill has now been discontinued.
Stay tuned for other options.
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