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Ohio Living, Amazon, Aiva Health, Partners To Install Echo Dots for 500 Local Seniors

The Ohio Living Foundation has teamed up with Amazon and other partners to install Echo Dot smart speakers free of charge in the homes of 500 qualifying senior citizens in the Mahoning Valley. 


The Echo Dots, which can relay audio announcements and reminders and support some two-way interaction, are intended to improve communication, health and safety for senior citizens.


"Smart speakers can dramatically enhance communication and peace of mind for senior citizens and their families, and we’re very excited about serving these 500 individuals,” said Wendy Price-Kiser, divisional executive, Ohio Living Home Health & Hospice, which provides supportive services that help seniors stay independent. 


“We're viewing this rollout as a learning experience that could help Ohio Living provide smart speaker technology to hundreds of senior citizens who live in our communities across Ohio." 


The program is designed to serve low-income senior citizens. Amazon is donating the 500 Echo Dots and Aiva Health, a voice technology provider, is discounting its work to program the devices. Ohio Living is donating funds for the remaining installation expense and Family and Community Services, a Ravenna-based nonprofit, is coordinating the rollout and enrolling eligible senior citizens, along with the Senior Support Action Group, which assists seniors in the Mahoning Valley.


The first 13 Echo Dots were recently installed, and representatives of SSAG and Aiva are supporting the rollout to ensure a smooth onboarding experience and providing technical support. The remainder of the devices will roll out in the upcoming months.


"The initial reaction from the recipients has been very positive,” said Jillian Maynard, the AmeriCorps VISTA who is coordinating the program for the SSAG. “This is a golden opportunity to help seniors feel more secure while aging in place.”  


The Echo Dot is a voice-controlled smart speaker that provides music, news, information and more. Through Amazon’s Alexa Smart Properties senior living solution, the Echo Dots distributed through this initiative can also relay announcements about food assistance delivery, provide community information and call up to five specific phone numbers on request. The capabilities of the devices can also be further customized by residents. For example, one participant’s Echo Dot delivers daily Bible readings.


“We believe the intuitive and accessible nature of voice and Alexa has the potential to help and delight customers in many scenarios, in and outside of the home,” said Liron Torres, head of Alexa Smart Properties, Amazon.


“We build devices and services that help make customers’ lives better, and the senior living solution from Alexa Smart Properties enables organizations like the Ohio Living Foundation to do exactly that, while helping associates focus on important tasks and high-value care.”


Initial recipients of the Echo Dots were identified through the SSAG. Those interested in receiving an Echo Dot through this program or enrolling a qualifying senior can call the group at 330.424.7877 or visit its page on Facebook. 


The Senior Support Action Group provides homebound seniors with access to food, transportation, and companionship in Trumbull, Mahoning, and Columbiana counties.


Family and Community Services, Inc. is one of the largest, most diverse social service agencies in Northeastern Ohio. The agency began in 1941 as the Catholic Charities Bureau of the Ravenna Deanery with two programs and two staff members. Today, FCS operates over 70 programs with nearly 600 dedicated staff, and extends to 23 counties in Ohio and 4 counties in Michigan. Last year, FCS served almost 200,000 children and adults.


Founded in 1922, Ohio Living is one of the nation’s largest and most experienced not-for-profit, multi-site senior living organizations. With 12 life plan communities, Ohio Living Home Health & Hospice, Physician Services and Palliative Care, our service area covers over 10 million Ohioans. Our services range from independent living, assisted living, skilled rehabilitation and long-term nursing care in one of our communities; to home health, physician services, palliative care and hospice support for adults, wherever they live. Additionally, the Ohio Living Foundation raises several million dollars annually to support charity care, special programs, capital expansion and endowment.