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I’ve written in the past about how smart home technology can help seniors with daily living. I’ve also discussed how I have not found a personal alert system that is worth the money. Well, that game has changed a little bit. Have you ever wondered what would happen if you were home alone and something happened and you needed help?
You could call 911, but if you can’t reach your phone it really doesn’t help. You might have one of those services where you can press a button, but if you can’t reach it or you’re not wearing it then it doesn’t help either!
What’s Your Alternative?
Well, fortunately, technology today has advanced enough to where there are voice interface devices out there like Alexa. This allows you to just ask for assistance if you need it. Ask my buddy is an application you can enable on Alexa that will allow you to ask for help when you need it simple to use.
How Does It Work?
You put in some contact information and then when you ask for help your friends, your loved ones, even neighbors will get a voice phone call they’ll get a text message an email letting them know you need assistance. It’s as simple as saying “Alexa, ask my buddy to send help”. Alexa will then respond saying “okay I sent an alert to Kevin and Brian”.
Alexa will then call the people you have assigned and say “Hello, Dorothy (or whatever the person’s name is) sent you an alert via askmybuddy.net. This alert is sent only if this person has asked for help, please check on them now.”
Set Up An Account
Now we’re going to set up our account on askmybuddy.net. When you go to the website you want to click on register, then fill out the registration information and click the register button. Now click on login and use the credentials that you just made when you did the registration. Once you login you will be on the settings page, then just make sure all of the fields are accurate and press Save Changes.
Let’s add some contacts by clicking on the contacts menu item and now enter in each one of your contacts. You enter the first name, last name and if you want to use a cell phone, voice number or an email then fill those fields out. When entering a phone number remember not to use special characters and you also don’t need to put a 1 in front of the number. Now just save changes after the information for each contact is completed.
Be sure to check out the welcome email that you would have received when you registered. If you don’t see it in your main email account then check your spam folder. This email covers all of the information that we’ve gone through here and a lot more.
Now we’re ready to link our ask my buddy account with the ask my buddy Alexa skill. Go to the Alexa companion application, click on skills and type in “my buddy” at the top. Click on my buddy and you’ll see an enable button that you click. Once you do that you’ll be taken to the account linking page where you’ll enter the email and password that you used for registration on the ask my buddy website. Once you’ve done this press “login” and you should see the account linking successful page.
Now you can test it out by attempting to send an alert. “Alexa ask my buddy to alert Kevin” or the contact name that you set up in your account. Alexa should respond by saying “Okay, I sent to Kevin” (or whatever contact name you used) now let’s test the check-in feature. All you have to do is say “Alexa ask my buddy to check in with Kevin” or of course use the name of your contact.
Check-ins will be delivered by email, a text message or even a voice phone call. Now you’re all done you can head back to the website if you’d like to make any edits or changes to your contact information or your settings. You can also click on the help tab on the website and go through the large amounts of help and they have an awesome youtube channel as well.
For years now I have struggled with finding something that made both myself and my mom happy. She hates carrying a phone with her all day long and the rising cost of some of these monthly personal alert systems is absolutely egregious! This is not a full replacement as it lacks fall detection, but outside of our normal check-in system this is the best alternative that I can find.
Best of all it doesn’t cost anything. However, please remember this service is not a substitute for dialing 9-1-1 in an emergency. But if you are looking for something that is low cost and get’s the job done as far as what we were looking for. Hopefully, this is useful for you and you’re loved ones as well!