Autoimmune diseases affect more than 24 million Americans, according to National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Receiving a diagnosis of an autoimmune disease can often mean the beginning of a lifelong process of learning to adapt and change: new medication schedules, lifestyle changes, and shifts in the way someone interacts with the people and environments around them.

Grace was in her mid-20s when she was diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that can cause chronic pain, fatigue, and other serious complications. Her sister Emma, an Amazon employee, wanted to help Grace however she could, so she turned to Alexa to help find some solutions.

A young lady holding her dog in a tulip field.
Grace enjoying the outdoors with her dog.

In Emma’s words:

Out of the blue one year, my sister, Grace, was diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome. Sjogren’s is a condition that manifests in many different ways, but the one that affected Grace the most was the impact it had on her mobility.

Today, she has trouble maintaining balance without keeping her eyes on her hands and feet, so getting around her house, especially at night, has become really difficult. It felt like overnight she went from being a young, active park ranger, to needing a little extra support from us all, and I became really interested in exploring how I could best help.

An image of two women smiling for a photo in front of a Christmas tree in their living room.
Emma and Grace celebrating the holidays together.

Our journey with Alexa started because I was looking for a way to help Grace turn on the light beside her bed in the middle of the night. She told me that she was waking her husband every time she wanted to get up, and she found it frustrating to need that help. I thought it’d be cool if she could find a way to do it herself without needing to rely on her vision. I did some research, and it led me to Alexa. That year, I gave her an Echo Dot and some smart plugs and smart light bulbs to go along with it.

Now, our entire family has Echo devices in our homes. We all frequently use the Drop In feature, not only to check in on Grace, but also to stay in touch with one another. If Grace needs assistance while she’s home alone, she can call out to one of us and know that we can come and help.

I personally love the Echo devices, because not only are they really helpful in assisting my sister in keeping her home more accessible and safe, but they also have a lot of fun elements, like being able to listen to music and get the news just by asking Alexa. Alexa has given my sister the support she needs as she adjusts and learns to trust her own capabilities again.

Learn more about how you can use Alexa to connect with and look out for your loved ones, or explore how to set up smart devices to move more freely around your home, hands-free.

"An Alzheimer’s diagnosis is the beginning of a long and complicated journey, and I think Alexa has been a priceless tool in my toolkit in managing it."

If you have a story of your own about how you use Alexa, we'd love to hear it, and we will continue sharing some of our favorite #AlexaStories. You can email us or tag us on Twitter or Instagram @alexa99 or #AlexaStories. Additionally, to learn more about how Alexa is helping people in different ways, you can watch Alexa Stories videos.