Alexa to the rescue: Elderly people can now summon voice-activated help
Elderly people who suffer a fall at home can now summon help – by calling out to Amazon’s voice-activated Alexa service.
My SOS Family was launched earlier this year to turn any mobile phone into a personal alarm system for the vulnerable.
But now the service is available on Amazon’s Echo gadget, which carries out commands when the user shouts the name ‘Alexa’ to activate it.
Anyone who suffers a fall simply has to shout “Alexa, start My Family SOS” and the system will alert a series of pre-set phone numbers and email addresses.
The service is the brainchild of Moony Victoire-Nijjar, who started working on the idea two years ago when his mother-in-law was diagnosed with dementia.
He said: “As soon as we saw what Alexa could do, and that the Echo Dot was less than £50 to buy, we thought it was perfect for our system.
“It makes it easy for the elderly to use technology just by talking, so it’s the perfect extension to the My SOS Family alert assistant.”
Moony, a married father-of-two from Bromley, Kent, devised the original SOS service to save families money on the traditional call-centre based monitoring systems which can cost up to £300 a year.
These work by pendants alerting a call centre, which then makes contact with relatives who can come to the aid of a loved-one.
But My SOS Family costs just £30-a-year and can be used from any existing mobile phone.
It allows pensioners to alert relatives by touching a single button on a mobile phone if they suffer a fall or health emergency.
The system then auto-dials, texts and emails relatives, who can then respond accordingly.
Amazon’s Echo system can be purchased for as little as £49.99 and can carry out hundreds of voice-activated commands such as playing music or reading the news.
Users can then link their My Family SOS account to their Echo device in as little as five minutes.