(Pocket-lint) - Amazon has announced a new Alexa feature, called Care Hub, which lets you leverage a relative's Echo device to remotely check in on them.

What is Alexa Care Hub?

  • See an activity feed of your loved one's Alexa and smart home interactions.
  • Set up alerts to notify you when your loved one uses Alexa.
  • Have Alexa call and message your phone when your loved one asks Alexa for help.
  • Get quick access to call or Drop In on your loved one from the Care Hub.

Amazon is pitching Care Hub as a free way to feel closer to your elderly parents or grandparents during the pandemic. It lets Alexa 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.

"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. 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 push notification. You can also use Drop In to check in the relative.

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:

  1. Go to Amazon’s Care Hub homepage or the “Care Hub” section in the Alexa app.
  2. Click “Get Started".
  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.

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.

Want to know more?

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

Writing by Maggie Tillman.