Last Christmas my home was blessed with two new additions, two little Echo Dots (these are the small versions of Amazon Alexa). If you aren’t familiar with these little devices, you’ve probably been hiding under a rock.
Chances are you already have one in your home, got one for Christmas, or ordered one for yourself. After all they had them on sale for the entire month of December for just $30/each.
Being a huge tech fiend I was quick to set them up and upgrade my house to a slightly smart house with smart plugs and smart light bulbs. My living room and bedroom lights are now controlled by Alexa. And, when my thermostat needed replaced I upgraded it to one that can also be controlled with Alexa – “Alexa set the temperature to 70 degrees.”
I got a smart thermostat as well because my house is split-level and no two areas are ever the same temperature. I started with an Ecobee and recently switched to a Nest (which I’ve found gives me better control and has significantly lowered my utility bills).
I set up Alexa to give me a daily briefing and one of the things she shares in that briefing is tips and tricks on what she can do. One of her updates was my first view into how she might be really helpful for those with chronic illness.Do you have an Alexa? What skills have you found invaluable? How are you using it to help make your life easier? Click To Tweet
How can Alexa help those with chronic illness?
1. Remind you about meds
If you take medications at certain times of the day you can ask Alexa to remind you to take your meds. Reminders can be set for a single time or daily.
This can also be great if you are helping to care for someone who is ill. You may not be able to be there to remind them to take their meds, but you can ask Alexa to do it for you.
2. Remind you of what you need to take
The “Remind Me” skill is great for those who find they always forget something.
You can set up places like “work”, “school”, “doctor” or just “out” and then tell Alexa what you need to take with you when you got to those places, then before you leave you ask Alexa to “remind me what do I need to take to ____” and she will.
3. Keep up with your shopping list
How many times have you gotten to the store only to realize you left your list on the fridge?
Now, instead of having the family write items on that magnetic notepad, you can have them asked Alexa to add items to your list. Then when you get to the store just open the Alexa app in your phone and the list will be right there.
4. It’s an intercom
You can use Alexa as an intercom either within your own home (if you have multiple devices) or between homes (if you and your friends/family allow for it).
This could be great if you live alone (or have a family member who does) and need help. Set it up to allow intercom with a trusted family member and if something happens you can ask Alexa to connect to that friend and let them know you need help.
5. Confirm your schedule
How many times have you completely forgotten about a doctor’s appointment? Alexa can help.
Alexa can be linked to your Google calendar and once done all you have to do is ask “Alexa What’s Up?” and she’ll tell give you your agenda for the day.
6. Stay Entertained
Sometimes you just don’t have the focus to watch TV or read a book, but Alexa will keep you entertained. She can read to you from whatever Kindle book you are currently enjoying, play your favorite podcasts or music, and there are even options for interactive stories.
7. Laugh a Little
Laughter is the best medicine, but sometimes there’s no one around to make you smile let alone laugh. But, Alexa always has a joke ready for you.
8. Meditate –
Meditation is a great way to relieve chronic pain and stress. There are several Alexa skills (aka apps) that will play a variety of meditations, allowing you get centered and focused throughout the day.
9. Order Meals
So many times when we live with chronic illness we find ourselves without the energy to cook a meal. When we are stuck at home alone this can be a problem. But, Alexa can help.
Your options depend upon where you live, but at minimum you can order Dominos pizza with nothing but the sound of your voice. (Now, if Alexa could just open the door, pay the pizza guy, and bring the pizza to your bed…)
10. Track Your Symptoms
With the “My Nurse Bot” skill enabled you can track your symptoms, get medication reminders, and track your appointments. It will even email you your health summary so that you can print it out and take it to the doctor.
11. Get a Ride
You can easily use Alexa to call for an Uber or a Lyft to get you to your Dr appointment, or well… anywhere you need to go. No need to be stuck at home.
12. Pay Your Bills
If you bank at Capitol One you can set up a skill to have Alexa pay bills for you. So, if you are like me and prefer not to have bills paid on the set schedule that banks typically want to set up, now you can just ask Alexa to pay your rent.
No one around to play games with? Alexa can do that, too. Enable Jeopardy and you can play along or play alone. There’s also a Spelling Bee skill to keep your spelling skills sharp.
Want to relax to the sound of rain on the rooftop, a summer storm, or ocean waves? Just tell Alexa to play the sound and she will turn it on so that you can tune the world out.
You need to exercise but you don’t know what to do and you don’t want to spend a lot of time doing it? The 7-minute work-out skill is just one of the skills that will get you moving.
I love my Echo Dots. Those mornings when I wake up and don’t want to move. I can just ask Alexa to play music, to read me a book, or to give me the latest news updates. Now when I’m laying in bed freezing I no longer have to get up and go downstairs to adjust the thermostat I just ask Alexa to do it.
Do you have an Alexa? What skills have you found invaluable? How are you using it to help make your life easier?
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