Royce Shook

6 months ago · 2 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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That is not Zoomerly

Many of my cohort (75+) are struggling with dementia, I have lost two friends to early-onset Alzheimer’s, and have one friend who is suffering from the early stages of Dementia. Today an increasing amount of people are willing to acknowledge their affliction and how it is affecting them. There are devices like the Echo devices, particularly the Echo Show have been the most useful in helping those who are suffering.

Jack in his discussions talks about how the Echo Show helps: He recounts the stories of how the device has helped several people One is very Bible-centric who likes listening to the Bible and to her favourite preachers. Another, also a woman, who has always been a reader enjoys listening to the latest bestsellers even though she doesn't remember them afterward and she is challenged to be able to discuss her reading. Still, it helps her to feel that she is still engaged, and she still matters.

A couple, who have been separated because he is memory confined and she is in independent living, used the Echo Drop In feature to preserve their relationship. He is well along into decline and is unable to answer a phone but when she "drops in" he recognizes her, and their daily connection has helped relieve the grief of separation and isolation that they both experience.

The attraction of the Echo Show is its ease of use after setup and the increasing effectiveness of its video connections. It is the video connection that allows the couple above to have their most emotional moments. The afflicted man has lost the ability of much verbal expression, but his body language continues to declare his love and devotion. That is very huge for those interacting with him.

The challenges of the Echo Show are many and are startling. It's surprising that Amazon doesn't just make it easier to use instead of trying to make it hip. But I suppose their market is for the young, not those suffering from chronic illness or dementia. A simple example shows how it can be frustrating to use. Set up requires a Smartphone which people in dementia care don't generally use. There's no reason why a video screen on an Echo Show can't be used to do the full set up process, including creating an automatic Amazon account with a simple password to get started. Later, if the account is to be actualized with a Credit Card and ordering capability, the password and security settings can be escalated. But people dealing with dementia or near dementia need simple.

Next, there's no reason why Zoom shouldn't be as easy to initiate and use on the Amazon Echo Show is it is on any Tablet device, but Zoom has linked it in the most confusing way to calendars, which are themselves confusing to synchronize, so the effect is that Zoom is not practically accessible on the Echo Show, though it may be for Zoom theoretical technicians.

Since many families use Zoom for family gatherings, this precludes those with dementia who could join through the Drop-In capability from being part of these larger family gatherings. Our hope is that someone at Zoom just gives a direction to the technical staff to get Zoom on Echo Show up and running pronto. My impression is that they (the Zoom technicians) have made the simple difficult. That's not Zoomerly.

Finally, wouldn't it be wonderful if the Echo Show had an HDMI out port, so that connection could be made to a large screen television, allowing the interactive experience to pop, and come to life big time. The availability of a web camera with effective microphone pickup for mounting on the TV would make family connections with those otherwise isolated by dementia a wonderful support force for these overlooked, forgotten, and unfortunate people.

Thanks to Jack for the idea for this post.

That is not Zoomerly
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