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

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.


Make Alexa Information Displays Useful

While an Amazon Echo Show provides a great deal of useful information to you, it may be overwhelming to your loved one. In this article, I’ll suggest some best practices for keeping your loved one informed while reducing confusion.


Alexa Video Calling on Mom's Big-screen TV?

How to set your parent up to be able to have video calling on a big screen TV, using Alexa Calling and the Fire TV Cube.


Make Alexa Proactive: Create Routines

Alexa Routines are small pieces of software that you can easily create, and which can make an Echo active rather than passive.

In other words, instead of requiring your parent to initiate an interaction with Alexa, you can automatically trigger an interaction in response to some predetermined stimulus — for example, a motion, a time of day, or a spoken phrase of your choice.


How to Use Zoom on Echo Show

If you like using an Alexa device like the Echo Show, and want to join with others on a Zoom call using that device, now you can.


How to Use Alexa for Group Calls

On December 18, 2020, Amazon released an Alexa Group calling feature that allows up to seven (7) callers to be on the same Alexa call. Here is how to set it up and use it.



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