From MD to Alexa Skills Developer: My Journey

Retired physician, Dr Bob Kolock, shares his new “hobby”: Alexa Skills Developer. He describes how he came to be interested in Alexa, and describes some of the 13 skills he has developed. Many of these skills are useful for older adults, and Dr. Kolock’s perspective from “both sides of the stethoscope” makes them especially intriguing.

Can Alexa Help Fight Loneliness and Isolation?

Alexa: Tool to fight loneliness

Perhaps it seems counterintuitive that an artificial intelligence(AI) might help combat loneliness and isolation. But as our Longevity Explorers evaluate the latest version of Alexa, paired with the Amazon Echo Show, which has an excellent video call capability, we are starting to see great potential for these products to do just that.

And while there are a variety of initiatives evaluating the potential of interactions between older adults and Alexa (Amazon’s artificial intelligence) as a way to reduce loneliness, we think the communication capabilities of the Echo Show may make possible deeper human to human interactions (with friends and family for example) as well.

Amazon Echo Show: Older Adults Explore

Alexa Calls, with Amazon Echo Show

  Our Longevity Explorers have been testing the Amazon Echo Show and exploring its capabilities.   With the ability to make phone calls and video calls on request, Alexa and the Amazon Echo Show have added important capabilities since our community of older adults (the Longevity Explorers) first explored Alexa back in 2017. Learn what these … Read more

What They Want vs What You Think They Need

Technology they want vs technology you think they need

I’ve said it before. Most of the products for older adults that we see are frankly not very good. This article is about two especially common pitfalls. I think of them as the “eat your broccoli” error, and the “I know how to market to 40 year olds” issue.

Artificial Intelligence and Robots: What Older Adults Want

Older adults, artificial intelligence, robots, and smart homes

  Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robots — and their potential future roles in aging — are topics of great interest to our community of Longevity Explorers. While there has been lots written by academics, companies, and futurists about the potential of robots and AI in aged care, the voice of the older adult is generally absent from these … Read more

Amazon Echo and Alexa for the Elderly

Amazon Echo (Alexa) for seniors and the elderly, brainstorming session by older adults

  The older adults in our explorer groups have recently become interested in a relatively new product: the Amazon Echo and its artificial intelligence Alexa. Here they explore Amazon Echo for the Elderly.   Amazon Echo & Alexa: What Older Adults Think Our community of older adult Longevity Explorers has had a number of group discussions about … Read more

Alzheimer’s Thermostat Design: Jeeves vs. Nurse Ratched

Dementia thermostat

Thoughts about thermostats and people with dementia. Remember Jeeves, and Nurse Ratched? Imagine they were in charge of designing products for older adults. I wish we had the sort of products I imagine Jeeves would have designed for Bertie Wooster. Unfortunately, we seem to get the products Nurse Ratched might have dreamed up for the unfortunate inmates of “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest”.

Forget to Turn the Stove Off

Forget to Turn the Stove Off

Once or twice a month I leave the stove on after fixing breakfast. Most of the time I realize that I have left the stove on but it may be an hour or two after breakfast. I worry about what might happen as a result of this forgetfulness.