Amazon has rolled out the Care Hub, a set of Alexa features you can use to remotely check in on older relatives in their homes. That could be especially useful during COVID-19, when many folks aren’t able to visit their relatives as often as they usually do. Care Hub is free and easy to set up — your relative just needs an Alexa device.
Through Care Hub, Alexa can send you alerts when your relative first uses their Echo device each morning or if they don’t use the device by a certain time. You’ll also have access to an activity feed where you can see an overview of their Alexa activity. (Amazon emphasized that this was designed with privacy in mind — you can see the types of activities your relative is doing, but you can’t see things like the instructions they’re giving Alexa or the specific songs or podcasts they’re listening to.)
In addition, Care Hub gives your relative an easy way to set your Amazon account as their emergency contact. That means that if they say “Alexa, call for help,” Alexa will call you, text you, and send you a push notification. If you see anything concerning yourself, you can also use the Drop In feature (which temporarily leverages their Echo device as a two-way intercom) to check in.
To get started with Care Hub, go to Amazon’s Care Hub homepage and click “Get Started,” or the “Care Hub” section in the Alexa app. Alexa will ask whether you want to provide or receive support; let it know you want to provide support.
You’ll see an invitation link; send that link to your relative, and tell them to follow the instructions. (The process involves signing in with their Amazon account, creating a profile, and filling out a short form. If they get lost, Amazon has a guide you can use to walk them through it.)
Eventually, you’ll receive an invitation email from your loved one — it’ll go to the address associated with your Amazon account. Click the “Get Started” link in that email, and you’re in.