I am my mother’s technical support department.

Like a lot of technical people, I end up being the de facto IT support department for members of my family. Especially for my mother, who is getting on in years, and has trouble remembering how to use various bits of technology.

In another post, I’ll probably go on a long rant about the god-awful state of accessibility, and the lack of thought for the elderly in modern product and web design, but that’s for another day.

I bought her an Amazon Echo recently. Her husband passed away a little while ago, and I really like the idea of her being able to yell, “Alexa, call David” if she’s fallen over and can’t get up.

There’s another rant about how horrific it is to have an always-on surveillance device in your home, reporting your words back to an unaccountable, trillion-dollar corporation. Also for another day.

I want her to get used to using it, but initially she had trouble even remembering it’s name (i.e. “Alexa”), so I put together a large print cheatsheet of the commands I thought would be most useful for her, and easiest to remember. I’m going to print this out and keep it next to the Echo.

I’m hoping that it’ll help her get into the habit of using the device, which I think could be hugely helpful for her, and for elderly people in general.

Here’s a link, in case it provides a good starting point for other people in similar circumstances. Please leave a comment if you find it helpful, or if you have any other feedback.


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