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Alexa has become a household name in recent years, thanks to Amazon's beloved voice assistant and Echo smart speakers. With more and more seniors embracing tech, it makes sense that Amazon would create an Alexa product designed for older adults and their loved ones. That's where Alexa Together comes in.
Alexa Together is a subscription that offers all of Alexa's standard features, plus a 24/7 urgent- response center and alerts and tools for caregivers — all for $19.99 per month. Alexa Together offers robust features and peace of mind for seniors and their family members alike. You can set reminders, make video calls, send messages, check the weather, listen to music, view real-time activity alerts, and more. My grandma (who is always game to try the latest tech) and I tried Alexa Together for this year's review.
Read on to learn more about Alexa Together and our experience!
Alexa Together is a subscription-based service offered from Amazon. It is designed to protect your older loved ones and allow you to stay in the loop about their health and well-being. For $19.99 per month, older adults gain access to a 24/7 urgent-response center that can send the help they need, whether its first responders or a family member.
FYI: During an emergency, the user simply says, “Alexa, call for help.” As long as they're in range of their Echo device, they'll be connected to an urgent-response agent in a few seconds.
Older adult users will need an Alexa-enabled Echo device, but family members and caregivers need only the free Alexa mobile app. The Alexa app features an activity feed with real-time alerts, including emergency calls placed and the user's activity. You can use the app's Drop In feature to video-call your loved one. You can also opt in to Remote Assist, which allows you to change device settings and remotely set reminders that show up on your loved one's Alexa-enabled device.
You can purchase a compatible third-party fall-detection device. When these devices sense a fall or the emergency button is pressed, they will connect to Alexa and place a call to the response center. Fall detection systems are completely optional, and Alexa Together will still function without them.
My grandma and I set up our Alexa Together account in just a few minutes. Before starting, you'll need a few things:
My grandma didn't have an Alexa device, so we purchased an Echo Show 8, which you can bundle with Alexa Together. Once you have everything you need, you or the person receiving support can initiate the setup process. In our case, I initiated setup following the steps below:
Important Note: Alexa Together offers a Circle of Support feature, which allows up to 10 additional caregivers or loved ones to provide support. However, only one user can currently receive support.
Watch the video below for a hands-on look at Alexa Together setup!
After setup, I viewed the Alexa Together dashboard, which you can access from a smartphone. Think of the dashboard as the central hub of Alexa Together, where you can access features and adjust settings for your loved one. Here's how to view the Alexa Together dashboard:
Once on the dashboard, you can make video or voice calls and send messages to your loved one's Echo device. You can also view the user's recent Alexa-related activities and access Remote Assist if your family member chooses to enable this feature. My grandma and I tested everything, and we'll get into the details below.
You'll need an Alexa device to use Alexa Together. My grandma didn't own one, so we purchased an Echo Show 8. You can use any Alexa-enabled device, so you're all set if you already have one!
The Echo Show 8 looks like a tablet, featuring an 8-inch touchscreen, stereo speakers, and a 13-megapixel camera for video calls. Like all Alexa devices, it is voice-activated, so you can ask Alexa to perform any of the device's functions or simply use the touch screen. I'm a fan of voice control, especially for older adults like my grandma who have arthritis or other mobility issues. You can use all of Alexa Together's features on the Echo Show 8, but the tablet has many other features for entertainment, organization, and more.
You can access your favorite apps, including Netflix, Prime Video, Amazon Music, and Spotify to enjoy music or video content. While trying the system, my grandma said, “Alexa, play the Mamas and the Papas on Amazon Music.” One of her favorite songs started to play, and we were impressed by the clear and powerful speaker.
Quick Tip: If your older family member is not a fan of tech but they want to stay protected, you may want to consider a traditional medical alert system. Visit our list of the best medical alert systems for seniors to learn more.
Users can also search the internet, set calendar events and reminders, display photos on the home screen, and connect smart-home devices (such as a Ring doorbell camera). The Echo Show 8's features are seemingly endless, which may be a benefit or drawback. My grandma enjoyed the features, but she felt a bit overwhelmed navigating them even though she is pretty familiar with tech. If your older loved one is new to Alexa, it may take them some time to learn how the system works. With a little patience, I'm confident they can become Alexa pros!
Alexa Together customers have access to Amazon's 24/7 urgent-response center. During an emergency — whether it's a fall, injury, or other health issue — they can connect to an agent by saying, “Alexa, call for help.” The agent will assess the situation and send whatever help is needed.
My grandma tested this feature by asking Alexa to call for help. Her Echo Show 8 immediately placed a call, and we were connected to an agent in around 10 seconds. The agent was patient and kind, asking if help was needed. We let her know we were just making a test call, and that was it! I received both text and mobile-app notifications letting me know my grandma had made the call. I appreciated how fast we were able to reach a representative.
One thing to note: You'll need to be in range of the Echo device to make a call with your voice. If you're in the next room and Alexa can't hear you, the call won't be placed. Amazon recommends purchasing multiple devices to place throughout your home or purchasing a third-party fall-detection pendant or sensor (more on that later).
One of my favorite things about Alexa Together is the Drop In feature, which allows you to have video calls with the person receiving support. This feature is great for checking in on your loved one, especially if you live far away. To place a video call, tap the Drop In button at the top of the Alexa Together dashboard on the Alexa app. Your loved one's Echo device will ring and display your name on the screen. I tried this feature while I was with my parents, and we placed a video call to my grandma. My grandma liked the large screen and loud, adjustable speaker, which was perfect for family chats.
FYI: The person receiving support will need an Alexa device with a camera to make video calls. They can still make and receive voice calls even if their device doesn't have a camera.
You can send messages to the user's device in the Alexa app. I tapped the Message button at the top of the Alexa Together dashboard, typed a message, and pressed the blue arrow to send it. You can also send voice recordings, photos, or videos, which is great for family updates such as videos of the grandkids. A notification showed up on my grandma's Echo Show 8 with my name and a time stamp. She asked Alexa to read the message, and then she replied with a voice recording.
The Alexa Together dashboard has a feed called Today's Recent Activity. Each time your loved one uses Alexa, whether it's to reach the urgent-response center, send a message, or access an entertainment app, the activity will appear on the feed with a time stamp.
The person receiving support must opt in to Remote Assist, which helps protect their independence and privacy. If the user decides to enable Remote Assist, then you can adjust the settings on the user's Echo device, manage their contacts, and add reminders and shopping list items — all from the Alexa Together dashboard. This feature is useful for older adults who aren't as tech-savvy or need extra support for remembering important events and appointments.
Did You Know: 1 in 9 adults over 45 reported incidences of confusion or memory loss1. If your loved one struggles with memory loss, Remote Assist will be useful for helping them remember important information and daily tasks.
To access Remote Assist, I tapped the Remote Assist button at the top of the dashboard, which is represented by a gear icon. I added a reminder for my grandma's upcoming doctor's appointment. When the time for the reminder arrived, it popped up on the Echo Show 8's screen, and Alexa read the reminder aloud.
Next, I added a few items to my grandma's shopping list. My grandma said, “Alexa, show me my shopping list,” and Alexa pulled up the list. She asked Alexa to add a few more items. The shopping list also showed up in my grandma's Alexa app, so she had it with her when she headed to the store.
Check out our video review below to learn more about our experience testing out Alexa Together.
With 36 million older adults experiencing a fall each year,2 technology to detect falls and quickly send help are essential. This is a major concern for my family. My grandma is very independent and active, but she lives by herself and we worry she'll experience a fall while she's alone. We decided to test a third-party fall-detection pendant called SkyAngelCare that is compatible with Alexa Together.
SkyAngelCare is a simple pendant, featuring a help button and automatic fall detection. The pendant costs $169.77 and can be purchased on Amazon. As long as your Alexa Together subscription is active, the SkyAngelCare pendant will work. When the user presses the help button or the pendant detects a fall automatically, it connects to the user's Alexa device and calls the urgent-response center. The pendant relies on an internet connection, just like Alexa-enabled devices, so it works only inside the home.
Our SkyAngelCare system came with a pendant, charger, and instruction manual. The manual included detailed step-by-step instructions. We charged the pendant for a few hours, followed the directions, and the system was ready to go. To place a call, press and hold the gray help button until the pendant buzzes and its in-unit lights flash red. This will trigger a call to the urgent-response center, which will show up on your Alexa device so you can communicate with the representative.
Compared to popular medical alert systems with fall detection, SkyAngelCare's setup was a bit complicated. My grandma and I also had some trouble getting the system to connect to Alexa's urgent-response center, but that was likely a problem with my grandma's internet. I would recommend SkyAngelCare only to tech-savvy seniors with a strong internet connection or people with loved ones who can help with setup.
Alexa Together is also compatible with two other fall detection systems: Vayyar Care and AltumView. Both systems will connect to Alexa Together's monitoring center when a fall is detected. Vayyar Care is a touchless fall-detection system that sticks to the wall and detects falls using motion sensors, perfect for high-risk areas of the home such as the bathroom.
AltumView is a camera system that detects falls and monitors activity. As the system learns the user's behavior over time, it can show health trends, send alerts to caregivers, and perform fall risk assessments to help reduce the risk of future falls. AltumView even features facial recognition to distinguish users and provide accurate alerts. To protect user security and privacy, AltumView only transmits stick-figure video footage.
An Alexa Together subscription costs $19.99 per month or $199 per year, which breaks down to less than $17 per month. Amazon currently offers a free 30-day trial, so you can try the system without risk.
Along with a subscription, the user will need to purchase an Echo device for a one-time fee. There are Alexa devices to fit most budgets, costing anywhere from $24.99 for the Echo Dot to $249.99 for the Echo Show 10. Systems with more advanced features such as cameras and touch screens cost more, while simple systems that feature only a smart speaker cost less.
Money-Saving Tip: Amazon runs deals throughout the year to help you save, so be on the lookout as you shop. When my grandma and I purchased her Echo Show 8, it was on sale for $99.99 (normally priced at $129.99).
If you decide to add a third-party automatic fall-detection system, that's another cost to consider. The SkyAngelCare pendant costs $169.77, while the wall-mounted Vayyar Care system costs $247.75. AltumView's camera system costs $199.99. There are no additional monthly fees with these systems.
Alexa Together provides a simple way to stay connected and protected for just $19.99 per month. My grandma and I enjoyed trying Alexa Together's features, and we were impressed by the efficient 24/7 urgent-response center. The subscription service provides real-time alerts and Drop In calls, which are perfect for friends and family who live far away. Alexa Together currently allows only one person to receive support, but the Circle of Support feature allows multiple loved ones and caregivers to provide support to that user.
There will be a learning curve for older adults who have never used Alexa or a smart speaker, but, thanks to Alexa Together's 30-day free trial, you can give the service a thorough test before you decide if it's right for you.
Alexa Together costs $19.99 per month, or $199.99 per year. You will also need an Echo device to use Alexa Together, so that’s another cost to consider.
Using an Echo device, Alexa Together provides access to a 24/7 monitoring center, real-time activity alerts, and features such as Drop In calls and messaging to keep older adults and their families connected.
You can add fall detection to Alexa Together by purchasing a compatible third-party system from Vayyar, AltumView, or SkyAngelCare.
Yes, Alexa Together currently allows up to 10 additional friends or family members to provide support to one older adult.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Alzheimer's Disease and Healthy Aging – Know Someone with Memory Loss?
CDC. (2022). Injury Prevention & Control.