Need Help Making Alexa Useful

By: Frank Engelman.  Updated: September 17, 2021.


Problem description

I am setting up Alexa for my parent who lives at a distance. I am unsure what features to include, or how to set it up so it is as useful as possible.


Collection of "How To" Articles about Alexa on Tech-enhanced Life

There are a number of "How To" articles on Tech-enhanced Life relating to Alexa.

  • Scroll down for some specific "solutions".

See these additional articles elsewhere on this website.

More Like This

This is part of a series of "Problems" and DIY Technology "Solutions" to the challenges faced by older adults, by Frank Engelman. 



Suggested Solutions

Alexa Helps Me Recover My Memories

As we age, we tend to forget not only where we leave physical items or upcoming events, but also important memories such as names, past events, and locations. I found ways Alexa can help with that.


Add Reminders to Parent's Echo Show

Here is a simple way to add reminders to Alexa in an Echo Show.


Button to Trigger Alexa Routine

In my DIY solutions to the challenges of my older relatives, I often use a "Button" to trigger an Alexa Routine. It keeps things simple, and avoids them needing to remember a specific "phrase" to speak. However, it is not so easy to find the right button. This solution explains the options, and which buttons I prefer.


Inadvertent Screen Touches and Button Pushes

One of the Longevity Explorers found a problem when her mother (in a nursing home) kept inadvertebtly touching the screen of her Echo Show, disrupting the video call. Here is my solution to that problem.


Use Alexa to Send a Text on a Flip Phone

Here is how to use an Alexa routine to send texts using only your voice, on a Jitterbug Flip2 "senior-friendly" phone.


Making It Easier to Command Alexa

Remembering the specific name of lights in each room can prove difficult, even when we use them daily! Here are solutions to that issue.


Add a Calendar to Alexa for Your Parent

This solution is for people who want to be able to help a parent with appointments; or possibly enter joint appointments into a calendar that they are able to see; or generally facilitate them being able to use Alexa for calendaring issues.


How to Share Photos on Echo Show

We have recently been exploring ways to leverage "shared photos" as another way to encourage remote interactions among family members, and we wanted to find ways that an Echo Show could be used for photo sharing. The good news: there are several ways to do that, and this solution explains how.


Automate Joining a Zoom Meeting with Alexa

In a previous article, I described how to set up a Zoom meeting in your loved one's calendar for their Echo Show. Using that setup, they can say "Alexa, join the meeting" and later "Yes" to confirm that they want to join.


How to Use an Echo Show that Moves

Amazon recently came out with a version of an Echo Show that you can "move" from a remote place. In other words, you can cause it to rotate its screen under your control while you are elsewhere. I wondered if this might be a feature I could use to help my mother — for whom I am a distant "caregiver" and tech-support person. I got one of the new Echo Show's (called a Echo Show 10 Gen 3) and tried it out. This solution is about what I learned.



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