Rhiannon was inspired after reading one of our past Alexa Stories about Robert, who uses Echo devices to help care for his wife. The story resonated with Rhiannon, so she decided to tell us about how her grandmother has embraced the technology—and about a moment earlier this year when she couldn’t reach her grandmother over the phone during a snowstorm. With some quick thinking, she realized Alexa could help.
Rhiannon’s story, in her own words:
“I gave my 80+-year-old grandmother, Marjorie, an Echo Spot a couple years ago. She lives independently about 45 minutes from me and our other relatives. At the time, she was undergoing chemotherapy and I wanted to make sure we could have an easy, voice-activated, and visual way to stay connected. I never could've anticipated the unintended benefits.
“Pre-pandemic, Marjorie started using Alexa to keep track of shopping lists, to set an alarm or reminder, and to keep her entertained, asking Alexa to tell her a joke. Additionally, since it can be difficult to easily find a tape or record with her favorite music by Webb Pierce, she can easily ask Alexa to play it on demand... not to mention, she can ask Alexa to quickly define a word or get information for her.
“Then, in these unprecedented times, and given her high-risk status, Marjorie discovered she could send me her lists, which arrive in my Alexa app, so I can make grocery runs for her and deliver them (fully masked, of course!). Additionally, given her high-risk status, she can’t have people in her home, so she uses Alexa to stay in touch with friends and family from afar.
"Earlier this year, Kansas City was hard hit with snow, ice, and below-zero temperatures. At the same time, Marjorie’s cellphone stopped charging. I was already worried about her and didn’t want that lack of broad communication to our other relatives get in the way. Combined with rolling electrical blackouts to prevent a full power grid collapse, I let my work teams know I would be offline to make the multi-hour round-trip to troubleshoot and help her. Thankfully, before leaving, I thought to try using Drop In via my Echo Show to have her ‘show’ me how the charger was connected. I was able to walk her through testing and switching out the charging plate's plug and cable. We were able to get the phone charging, preventing a dangerous drive, time off work, and most importantly, ensuring my grandmother’s safety.
“Alexa opened up a whole new world for my grandmother, Marjorie, and has given me peace of mind. My grandmother has told me that when she feels alone and isolated, Alexa is always right there for her. Alexa provides company, can get her the help she needs, and ensures we can easily stay in touch.”
If you have a story of your own to share about how you use Alexa, we’d love to hear it and will continue sharing some of our favorite #AlexaStories. You can email us or tag us on Twitter or Instagram @alexa99 or #AlexaStories.