What does it do?

  • Stay connected to family and social networks, and keep up to date with what’s happening in your area
  • Enjoy meaningful activities tailored to you, like listening to audio books and music playlists, or challenge Alexa to a game
  • Control smart home devices just by speaking.  Say things like:
    • "Alexa, what time is it?"
    • "Alexa, what's the weather like in Glasgow?"
    • "Alexa, read my book."
    • "Alexa, play radio 4."
    • "Alexa, tell me a joke." 
  • Drop in on trusted family and friends to have a conversation, just by saying, for example, "Alexa, drop in on Jennifer."
  • Create shopping lists and reminders to help you keep on top of things

This version is larger and has a more substantial speaker than the Dot. 

The "plus" version also contains a hub to allow you to control smart home devices without any additional pieces of equipment

The "show" versions have screens to allow you to see content as well

What’s the problem?

  • You want an easy way to find information, but don't want to, or don't know how to use a computer or tablet
  • Your vision isn't great, and looking at a screen is difficult
  • You want to stay connected to your family but find using the phone difficult
  • You want an easy way to listen to the radio, music or audiobooks
  • You want to be able to set timers and reminders

Manufacturer: Amazon

Approximate cost: £60

What to search for to buy online: amazon echo original


What I liked

Alexa is so easy to talk to and she understood me really well, which I was surprised about. I loved how I could set a reminder to wake me up at 4pm as I was falling asleep in the afternoon and missing the beginning of my programme starting. Then when I woke up later on in the evening I was confused and disorientated and not not sleeping so well in the evening.

I can call my son down south and speak to him so much easier now - the phone was becoming difficult for me to hear and use and I stopped calling him as it was all too much. I needed my daughter there to video call him on her phone but now I can do it myself.

I love music and the radio and once my family made up some playlists for me, I can ask Alexa to play me anything that I like. She is a lovely voice to have in the home, sometimes I just chat to her!

What I disliked

Learning to say the wake word Alexa can be difficult for some, but with the right encouragement and time most of our testers grasped how to interact with the device and found it very easy to use.

What is interesting

People living with dementia have embraced the Amazon Echo and it has become a very popular choice to supporting people to stay independent with day to day tasks, keeping connected and having something fun but useful to interact with.

People living with dementia CAN learn new things!

What I thought about it overall

"I can add food to the shopping list and my daughter gets it so she doesn't have to come round and check what I need. It gives us more time in her day to just sit and have a cuppa instead."

"I love chatting with Alexa, she holds quite a good conversation don't you know!"

"My favourite thing is that I now have one up on my grandson, who hasn't even set his up yet!.

Gillian Fyfe

Review date
17 July 2019

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