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Amazon Echo Show 8 - a revolution in communicating with mum!

gogo321

Registered User
May 18, 2017
18
Hello,
I thought I'd share my recent experience just in case it helps anyone else in a similar position!

Mum has mixed picture dementia. She still lives in her flat - which is in a Flexicare building so there are carers on site. She is still able to look after herself and cook her Wiltshire dinners, etc, etc. but is completely unable to learn anything new. I recently bought her a toaster, as I'd noticed she was no longer making toast under the grill as she had always done. It is a lovely toaster, with a glass front so you can see if things are going wrong ... but sadly even though I showed it to her and left a list of instructions, she has never used it.

Her short term memory is non-existent and also she has terrible trouble with her hearing - even though she has a hearing aid.

It has been increasingly difficult to have telephone conversations with her recently, as most of the time she cannot hear me ... very frustrating. Also, I found that on the few times that she could hear me, our conversations had turned into more of her reeling off a list of things she had done that day (always the same!) and how she had just had or was about to have: breakfast, coffee time, lunchtime, cup of tea, supper, etc etc.

Once lockdown happened, I started looking at alternative ways of communicating with her, as I wasn't going to be able to do my weekly visits any more (she lives an hour away from me). I looked at a few gadgets and then decided to order a couple of Amazon Echo Show devices. I initially ordered one with a 5" screen, but after having it for a day or so I knew it would be too small, so I ordered an 8" one and that is the perfect size. I had originally planned to return the 5" one .. but as it turns out, I rather like it and have kept it!

I setup the 8" Echo Show for mum to use (and did an emergency visit to install it) - she has wifi in her flat so it's very easy. I added it to my Amazon account so it is part of my "household" and therefore I am able to use the "Drop-In" facility, which means I appear on the Echo Show screen in her flat without her having to press any buttons or interact with the device at all. When not being used to video call mum, the device displays a changing series of pictures, Nature, Art or Travel and they just scroll through all the time. It also has a small clock on the screen, so it's a nice thing to have sitting on the table next to mum all the time. At 6.30pm I have set it to go into Night Mode, the screen dims and the pictures no longer scroll, just a clock is shown on the screen (I discovered Night Mode after a couple of instances of mum unplugging the power cord before she went to bed ...although she said that someone else must have done it!).

I have to say that it has completely revolutionised how I can now communicate with mum - it is fantastic! Gone are the days of multiple phone calls where she can't hear me and changes her hearing aid battery 5 times a day! Gone are the short conversations with her just reeling off a list of meals/drinks she has had/about to have. It is nothing short of amazing! The first couple of times I "Dropped In" it took a while for her to notice me waving from inside the box ... but she soon got the hang of it! Her face lights up now when she sees me and we have a little bit of sign language going on if she can't hear me properly .. with the added advantage of that I can pull my hair back from over my ear and point to the bit of ear where her hearing aid isn't quite seated correctly - which more often than not results in her being able to put it right and be able to hear me! I can't tell you how wonderful it has been to be able to have almost proper conversations with her, and I think it has lifted her mood too ... as she almost feels as if she has had a visitor! We can sit and have a cup of tea together and she has now started talking to me as if I am in the room (the same old stories, but I don't mind!!).

So, if anyone is looking for a gadget that requires no intervention or learning how to use ... I would definitely recommend the Amazon Echo Show device. I only wish I'd bought it sooner!
 

Weasell

Registered User
Oct 21, 2019
575
I love the reminder feature.
Just saying please set a reminder for 10am on Friday morning ‘ Norman coming round Today’!
Also mum doesn’t like me reminding her about anything, but happily accepts it from Alexa!
 

gogo321

Registered User
May 18, 2017
18
I love the reminder feature.
Just saying please set a reminder for 10am on Friday morning ‘ Norman coming round Today’!
Also mum doesn’t like me reminding her about anything, but happily accepts it from Alexa!
Yes! I am planning on trying this out too, as we have a similar issue! I like the way that I can dismiss the reminder from the Alexa app, so Mum doesn't need to do it herself :)
 

Louise7

Registered User
Mar 25, 2016
2,397
The 'drop in' feature sounds really good but is this limited to just the person who has set up the account or is it possible for others from different households to 'drop in' too?
 

gogo321

Registered User
May 18, 2017
18
The 'drop in' feature sounds really good but is this limited to just the person who has set up the account or is it possible for others from different households to 'drop in' too?
We have set it up so it's part of our Amazon household and I share a Prime membership with my sister, so we are considered as a household ... so she is also able to drop-in. I haven't tried it with someone from outside the Household ... but I could give it a go and see if one of my friends can drop-in on my Echo Show.... watch this space!
 

gogo321

Registered User
May 18, 2017
18
That's brilliant @gogo321 - great advice for others 👍 👍
Thanks! I felt I had to share it, as I had been getting so upset recently about not being able to visit mum and the frustration of the "I can't hear you darling" phonecalls was sometimes just too much!

It is just so nice to be able to see her and for her to be able to see me - I think it makes her feel happy ... for that I have to say thank you Amazon as there aren't many things that can do that for her these days!