Technology makes it easier for seniors to stay at home in Northeastern Minnesota

Thanks so much to Don Brunette from Access North Center for Independent Living of Northeastern Minnesota for collecting stories from two clients who have used technology (Echo Show) to make their lives easier…

G.G. is in her 90’s and her vision is fast failing. She was having a tough time even being able to use the phone. Her family found a phone with very large numbers, yet G.G. still had a tough time using it.  I set up Echo Show and with this device G.G. no  longer even needs to use the phone. She can just ask Alexa to call a person and the Show will do that for her.  I think this feature is one of G.G.’s favorite features–her smile was HUGE!

We added an Echo Spot now that lives in the Metro area in her family’s home. They are close however, do not get to see each other very often.  Now, with the 2 devices G.G. can just ask Alexa to drop in on (family) or (family) can drop in on her. We also set up G.G with the Philips Hue lighting for her living room and TV room.  This can be very helpful; G.G just asks Alexa to turn on requested light. She doesn’t need to get up to turn on anything and/or the lights can come on; also lights can be on before she even enters the room so that G.G does not walk into anything or trip.

We also set up the Alexa Fire for her TV. Now G.G can ask Alexa to turn on and off her TV, change channels and change volume as needed. No more multiple remotes with tape over some of the buttons so G.G. couldn’t hit the wrong button and switch the source instead of changing the channel. When that used to happen, a family member would need to go over and get the TV back to the correct source for watching TV.

Now we’re waiting for installation of Nest Thermostat and also Ring doorbell.  These devices will add extra security and safety to consumer home for her.

L.S. wanted some smarthome technology for leisure as well as to stay connected to family. We installed the Echo Show into her home. Now L.S. can listen to her music. She loves asking Show for some jokes and she loves getting the news rundown every morning.  She also enjoys being able to ask Show for the weather report and recipes.  L.S. even asked Show for some ideas to help her granddaughter with a school report. L.S is very close with her adult granddaughter now in Duluth for college. We equipped the granddaughter with the Spot so that the two can drop in on each other any time they like!

We also set up the Philips Hue so that L.S can turn the lights on and off without getting up. L.S is also going to be getting a Ring doorbell installed by Access North staff very soon.  L.S is very excited for this as living alone she cannot wait to be able to see who is at the door before she gets up to go and answer or yell – come in.

This entry was posted in Broadband Applications, Healthcare, MN by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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