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(Pocket-lint) - Amazon offers an Alexa feature - called Alexa Care Hub - that lets you leverage a relative's Echo device to remotely check in on them.

What is Alexa Care Hub?

Alexa Care Hub, according to Amazon, is a free way to feel closer to your elderly parents or grandparents - especially during the pandemic.

With it, Alexa can send you alerts when your relative uses their Echo device in the morning or if they don’t use it by a certain time. You can then access an activity feed to see their Alexa activity by type (but not the specific thing they've asked Alexa or what they're doing).

The idea is, you'll see your loved one is alive and interacting with their Echo. Care Hub also lets your relative set your Amazon account as an emergency contact, so if they say, "Alexa, call for help," Alexa will call, text, or send you a notification. You can also use Drop In to check in on them.

"With an Echo device at your loved one's home and the Alexa app on your phone, you’ll know they’re up and active. You can also get notified if they ask Alexa for help. It’s a simple way to feel close even when you're apart," Amazon explained in a blog post announcing Care Hub.

How to set up Alexa Care Hub

Both you and your loved one must approve setup for the Care Hub to create a connection between the two of you.

To get started with Care Hub from the web:

  1. Go to Amazon’s Care Hub homepage.
  2. Click "Create a Relationship" and confirm your identity. 
  3. Alexa will ask whether you want to provide or receive support
    • Let it know you want to provide support.
  4. You’ll get a setup invitation link to send to your relative.
    • Tell them to follow the instructions.
    • They will be asked to sign in with their Amazon account.
    • They will also need to create a profile.
    • If they get lost, Amazon has this guide to help.
  5. When they're done, you’ll receive an invitation email from your loved one.
    • It'll go to the address associated with your Amazon account.
  6. Click the "Get Started" link in that email, and that's it.

To get started with Care Hub from the Alexa app:

  1. Open the Alexa app.
  2. Open More (three-line menu button).
  3. Select See More.
  4. Select Care Hub.
  5. Follow the on-screen steps to provide support or receive support from a loved one.
    • You can send the invitation to any email address.
    • Your loved one needs to sign up with the same account registered to their Alexa device.

Be sure to also use the Alexa app to update the emergency contact in your Care Hub connection. Just open the Alexa app, then go to the More menu, and select See More. From there, select Care Hub > Emergency contact > then Change Emergency Contact.

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What can you do with Alexa Care Hub?

With Alexa Care Hub, you can see an activity feed of your loved one's Alexa and smart home interactions. You can also set up alerts to notify you when your loved one uses Alexa. You can even have Alexa call and message your phone when your loved one asks Alexa for help.

Finally, you can get quick access to call or Drop In on your loved one from the Alexa Care Hub.

How to view activity with Alexa Care Hub

Once Alexa Care Hub is set up, you can use the Alexa app to see an overview of your loved one's Alexa activity:

  1. Open the Alexa app.
  2. Open More (three-line menu button).
  3. Select See More.
  4. Select Care Hub.
  5. Select View All Activity.

How to get notifications about your loved one

To get alerts, first enable notification permissions for the Alexa app.

  1. Open the Alexa app.
  2. Open More (three-line menu button).   
  3. Select See More.
  4. Select Care Hub.
  5. Select Alerts.
  6. Choose to get notified when:
    • There is no activity
    • Or when your loved one first interacts with Alexa in a time period.
  7. Then, click Save.
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How is Alexa Care Hub different from Alexa Together?

Amazon also offers an Alexa Together premium subscription service that expands on its existing Alexa Care Hub. For a fee, Alexa Together makes it easier to use Alexa and Echo speakers to both assist and check in on elderly loved ones or those who need a caregiver.

While Alexa Care Hub lets you remotely check in on a loved one and get alerts when they first use Alexa or Echo devices, Alexa Together adds a professional monitoring service to the mix. It can call emergency services for your loved one and offers fall detection via third-party hardware.

Pocket-lint has an entire guide on Alexa Together here: What is Alexa Together, how much does it cost, and how does it work?

Which Echo devices support Alexa Care Hub?

All of Amazon's latest Echo devices support Alexa Care Hub, though a model with a camera is probably best so you can Drop In or video chat with your loved ones. Amazon is offering a six-month free trial of Alexa Together as a bundle with the newest Echo Show 8, which you can buy here.

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Also check out: Which Echo device is best for you?

Want to know more?

Check out Amazon's Care Hub website and support guide for more details.

Writing by Maggie Tillman.