Voice assistants and the elderly: a study reveals the importance of Alexa to feel less alone

Voice assistants they have been a part of our lives for a long time and basically allow us to have great help in many daily activities. And it is interesting to see how, thanks to research from the project Voice4Healthconducted by the Catholic University’s EngageMinds HUB Research Center in collaboration with DataWizard and with the unconditional contribution of Amazon, we can discover that the use of these devices by the elderlyin addition to facilitating many daily activities, can also improve their quality of life.

Alexa helps seniors feel less alone

The results speak for themselves because the study shows that three out of four people see their well-being increase, both in general and from an emotional and relational point of view. Not only that: People who took part in the trial – guided by a scientifically validated research protocol that saw the use of voice assistant Alexa – reported a a significant reduction in psychological stress and an improvement in personal ability to use technology.

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These are aspects of great interest – emphasizes the teacher Guendalina Graffignaprofessor of health and consumer psychology at the Catholic University of Milan-Cremona and director of the EngageMinds HUB – just think of how the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated, if not imposed, a paradigm shift in family relationships through the use of remote connections, but also of the increasing digitization of public administration which involves , with the Spid, the creation of its own digital identity with which to access numerous services; for example the consultation of the health file or, still in this pandemic phase, the reservation of the vaccination”.

Research has seen protagonists 60 senior and elderly men and women (between 65 and 80 years old) specially recruited. People who – as required by the research protocol – received an Alexa device and were interviewed four times: two weeks before the start of the trial, just before the start, at the end of the two weeks of the trial and after another fifteen days.

In this case, 75% of the sample declared at the end of the experiment to have noticed an increase in their state of well-being: “I felt calm and relaxed” using a voice assistant sharply increased over the entire eight-week period. “emotionally – explains the researcher from Cattolica Serena Barello52% of respondents say they have maintained a high state of well-being even in the weeks following the trial. But the impact on social relations was also of great importance – continues Barello – why after the experimentGOOD 62% of respondents feel less alone and 98% express a greater willingness to communicate with others thanks to new technologies“.

This first experiment will have to be consolidated by randomized studies and on a larger sample, but in fact the entire sample of people who took part in the experiment declared that It has been fun to use this device and I would recommend it to my friends and family.

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Every day at Amazon, we work to create devices and services that make our customers’ lives easier and safer, thanks to increasingly inclusive technology, such as that offered by Alexa. – he stated Gianmaria ViscontiAlexa country manager. In this sense, the research results are undoubtedly very encouraging. Seeing that Alexa can represent concrete help for the elderly population, reducing their feeling of loneliness and facilitating certain actions in their daily lives, is an additional incentive to do better and to persevere in our daily commitment.“.