How to use the Alexa Care Hub to care for aging loved ones

Amazon balances privacy and access for activity monitoring at a distance.

David Priest Former editor
David Priest is an award-winning writer and editor who formerly covered home security for CNET.
David Priest
2 min read
Chris Monroe/CNET

Caring for aging family members can be difficult, especially during a pandemic. Helping elders maintain independence and also safety is an important balancing act that can easily lead to conflict and disagreement. Amazon hopes to address this perennial problem with its new Alexa Care Hub feature, which allows caretakers to monitor activity and receive alerts about their aging loved ones without having to constantly bother them with anxiety-driven "check-ins" -- leaving more time, in theory, to call simply because you want to connect.

The Care Hub is a clever system, and it's easy to set up. All you need are two phones (the caregiver's and the care receiver's) and a single Amazon Echo smart speaker or display.

1. Set up the Echo speaker or display

If the person receiving care already owns an Echo speaker or display, you can skip this step. Otherwise, set up the speaker as usual. If you're unable to install the speaker at the house of the family member receiving care, you can always set it up in your own home, using the Wi-Fi credentials for the house it will end up at. Then, when you deliver it to your loved one, they can plug it in and the Echo will connect to the internet right away.

2. Send or request an invitation

Go to the Alexa app and tap More in the bottom right corner. Then tap See More, directly underneath Skills & Games. Finally, tap Care Hub.


You can use either an Echo speaker or display to monitor the activity of aging loved ones.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Tap through the instructions and indicate that you are either giving or receiving care. You will then be prompted to send an email to the other account.

3. Accept the invitation

Whoever sent the request in step 2 will then need to wait for the other family member to accept that request via email. This can be done on a phone or computer. Once you accept, Amazon will guide you through a series of steps -- signing into your account and accepting terms and conditions. Finally, the caregiver will be prompted to set up a four-digit security code, and the setup will be complete.

4. Login and setup

At this point, the family member receiving care will simply go about their business, using their Echo speaker or display as usual. The caregiver will be able to log into the Care Hub as before: More->See More->Care Hub. Once they enter their four-digit PIN, they will be able to see general activity on the Echo device. In addition, they will be able to set alerts (if for instance the Echo speaker hasn't been used in the first six hours of the day). They can also easily Drop In on their loved one for a quick conversation, or read tips for using the Care Hub more effectively.

For more Alexa tips, here are four Amazon Echo features that still work when the mic is turned offhow to use Amazon Echo's new privacy settings and the four best things you can do with multiple Amazon Echos.