Ask Laura: How Laura Set Up Alexa for Her Parents

How Alexa Changed My Parent’s Quality of Life

Meet My Parents

Technology seemed to scare my father more and more as he aged. Learning how to use an iPhone was a major challenge until he was comfortable with it. My father is a very kind and patient man. However, the rapid speed of technological advances and my aging mother led him to be extremely hesitant to learn new technology because it invoked fear. Nonetheless, I felt it necessary to try to set up Alexa for my parents.

I was very excited the day I brought and set up an Amazon Alexa in his house. I came over explaining how he could send and receive messages from other family members and me, with no buttons to press or screens to swipe. Was my dad as enthusiastic as I was to set this up in his home? Definitely not. He said the telephone and a cell phone were enough for him. Despite this, I responded, “let’s just give it a try.”

First Reaction: My Dad Yelling at Alexa

After I plugged in the device and logged into the Amazon Alexa app on my phone, we were ready to go. Alexa started to tell my father all the things he could ask. My dad listened, but as she continued to speak, I saw his face change. He seemed perplexed. At that moment, I felt fearful. She asked him to answer a few questions and repeat certain phrases to learn his voice. Well, my dad grew frustrated and told Alexa, “Shut up,” which is completely out of character for him. Yes, my family and I chuckled, but ultimately, I was scared he wouldn’t see the great benefits of this device and what Speak2 Family could offer him.

I informed him that Alexa could do many things, but I wanted him to realize Speak2 Family could connect him to the family daily without hassle. I said to him, “Let’s get this piece down, and if you want to try the other stuff with Alexa, we can.” He said ok but still seemed uncertain. I wanted him to see the positive additions this app could make to his everyday life.

We took a break after that and had a nice dinner. After my dad finished his espresso at the end of the meal, my dad was very calm. That is when I slowly proceeded to talk about Alexa again. I decided to show him a real example of how much easier his life would be. So, I opened my Speak2 Family app and showed him how I could type out a message on my phone and send it to him. He thought that was interesting, but because we were there together, I didn’t know if he was getting the true feeling of Speak2 Family.

My Dad: Grandchildren

After I went home that evening, I invited my kids to join Speak2 Family. The following night my son sent my father a message, but I had no idea. That same night my father called me, and I could immediately tell he was happy, but I didn’t know why. He said, “Charles [his grandson] left me a message!” My dad was excited about it!!! He was happy because he got to hear his grandkid’s voice, and it was a wonderful, unexpected surprise. My dad showed feelings of happiness and excitement, which were exactly the feelings I had hoped he would experience when he got a message.

To date, he now appreciates Speak2 Family and Alexa because he is hearing from family and most of all, his grandchildren. He can stay engaged in their lives because of the addition of voice technology. He no longer tells Alexa to be quiet and looks forward to hearing messages. It took some time and patience, but now my father truly understands the meaning behind Speak2 Family and its positive intentions.

Setting Up Alexa for My In-laws

My mother-in-law is an upbeat person who is always willing to try new things, especially with technology. She has an iPhone, a computer, and she even added up a printer. Did she mess up a lot as she navigated and set up the devices? Absolutely. Did she always seek help when she was confused or when something went wrong? Certainly. On the other hand, my father-in-law was a technology no-no. He was content not knowing about the world of technology and was happy his wife was the person learning it.

I went to my mother-in-law’s house one afternoon, and we set up the Alexa. I told her all about Speak2 Family, and she was happy to give this a try as she sometimes feels she would like to hear from her family more often, especially her grandchildren. Just like when I set up Alexa for my parents, she listened to all of Alexa’s instructions and options. My mother-in-law repeated what Alexa instructed her to say. Whenever she restated them incorrectly, she laughed. She would then look at me and ask me, “What was I supposed to say?” She was patient with the process because she wanted this. The idea of hearing from family made her smile. My mother-in-law dislikes the feeling that she may be missing out on exciting events in her grandchildren’s lives. Furthermore, she knew Speak2 Family was her ticket to stay connected.

My Mother-In Law’s Reaction

I sent a message from the Speak2 Family app as she sat right next to me and my mother-in-law was amazed. I told her that my kids would send messages in the next few days, and she gave me a big smile. For a few nights in a row, my children would take turns leaving messages. Later that week, she would ask Alexa if she had messages and was elated when she did. She called me after she heard the messages and said, “Laura, they called me!!!”

That is the great thing about Speak2 Family. Even though family members are not actually speaking to her at that present moment, when she receives the message, my mother in law felt like she was.

How I Set Up Alexa for My Parents with the Help of Speak2

With a little time and patience, the Speak2 Family app gave comfort to my parents and my in-laws. Aging is a tricky thing because seniors realize they cannot be everywhere all the time as they once did. However, when Alexa reads the messages my family sends with Speak2 Family, feelings of isolation and separation lessen. Speak2 Family enables my parents and my in-laws to now feel that they are a part of moments, whether they are special occasions or just daily activity highlights. It makes them feel wanted, needed and appreciated. I am glad I set up Alexa for my parents. Speak2 Family did that for the seniors in my family, and I promise it will do the same for yours.

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