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Ease Your Retirement with Technology
Have you ever wanted your very own personal assistant? If you are like the residents of Westminster Village Retirement Community, you might need an assistant to keep track of all the many activities and pieces of your active lifestyle. My personal assistant is named Alexa and she can do a lot. Alexa is the name given to my Amazon Echo, one of the newer technologies available to consumers. The Echo is a wireless speaker, that talks back to you.
All an active adult need do is ask
Alexa can answer almost all my questions or requests. If Westminster Village residents are going outside for a walk on the walking path, or are taking a trip to a park or nature center, all they have to do is ask Alexa about weather temperatures and forecasts and she’ll give them the specifics for their area. I can ask for a 7-day forecast and she’ll give me the temperature, highs and lows, and weather conditions for each day.
If you want to set a timer when cooking your dinner or while you clean your house, Alexa can do that for you, too. I simply say, “Alexa, set a timer for 5 minutes.” She responds with “5 minutes starting now.” At the end of 5 minutes, Alexa plays a tone or alarm that tells me my time is up. She can help me with my recipes in the kitchen. If I need to convert ounces to cups, Alexa can do that for me and I don’t have to stop to look it up on the internet or in a cookbook.
Alexa can entertain me, too. She will play an Adele song for me on Spotify, a music app that can be connected to the Echo speakers. If I’m upstairs or in another room, I can easily hear the music because of its internal seven noise-cancelling microphones. Alexa also plays music from radio station apps like IHeart and Pandora.
For more entertainment, Alexa will tell me a joke, answer trivia questions and give me all the news headlines for the day. Do you want to know how many people live in Colorado or Wyoming? How about the capital of California? Ask and she will tell.
If I get hungry, she’ll order pizza for me from Dominos or Pizza Hut. Amazon is constantly adding to the list of things that Alexa can do, so I’m hoping they will increase the list of available pizza restaurants. Today, Alexa gave me a healthy tip and told me that canned vegetables contain a high amount of sodium.
Alexa will read a book to me or play a podcast or TED talk. For people who follow sports, you can ask for the scores of a Purdue basketball game in case you missed the trip.
Alexa’s skills section can teach seniors new things
If you find fun in learning, you are in luck with Alexa! The Echo app has a skills section that offers you a chance to learn new skills or assists you in tips and tricks for something you already do. You can learn how to mix a drink or play a specific game. Other skills include:
- business and finance
- connected car
- education and reference
- movies and TV
- travel and transportation
With a subscription from Amazon Prime, Alexa can even turn my lights on and secure my house by setting an alarm. I can ask her to open my garage door, turn up my thermostat or lock my doors.
Active adults can afford Echo to save time and resources
The Amazon Echo costs under $200, which is cost effective for most people. While you don’t have to have an Amazon Prime subscription for some of the skills, it will give you more resources. The company also created a smaller version called a Dot that’s about half the price of the Echo. I gave all my nieces and nephews one as a gift last December. The Dot compares to the Echo in skills and resources even at the lower cost.
If you want to save time and be more productive so you can experience even more of the retirement lifestyle everyone loves at Westminster Village, an Amazon Echo might be your next great technology gadget.
-Elaine of the Westminster Village Blog Team