Caregiving and Alexa

This blog details the journey of how caregivers are using Alexa to make their lives easier.

Setting Up Your Alexa device

The Set Up Overview:


  1. Download the Alexa app on the phone or get the Alexa app on a computer at
  2. Make sure your phone or computer is connected to the wifi network where the Amazon device is going to reside. (If you are on your phone, make sure you aren't on data and take note of the wifi password. You will need it later.)
  3. Log in with the Amazon account that you want the device to be connected to using an email address and Amazon password. (This could be an existing account or a new account.)
  4. Plug in the Alexa device and the ring should be flashing orange.
  5. Go into the app and follow the instructions. (Go to Settings, Set Up New Device, and follow from there. You will have to put in the wifi password so the Amazon Alexa device has permission to use the wifi. For phones, you will have to go into your phone wifi settings and "choose" the Amazon device to give it access first.)
  6. Make decisions about the account.


The Detailed Steps (if needed):



Have a smartphone, a computer, or a tablet available to download the Alexa App. You will need this to activate your Amazon Alexa device.

  1. On an iPhone, go to the Apple Store and download the app. (You will most likely need your Apple ID.)
  2. On an Android, go to the Google Play store and download the app. (You will most likely need your Google password.)
  3. On a computer, go to



Make sure you on are on the wifi network where the Amazon Alexa device will be staying. So, if you are at your house, make sure your phone is not using your data plan but is using the wifi connection in the house. If you are setting it up somewhere else, make sure you are on the wifi network of wherever it is you are, it could be your mother's house, or even a nursing home guest network.

  1. You will need the wifi password of the network you are joining. You can get the password a multiple of ways.
    1. Ask someone.
    2. Find the router and look on the back of the router.
    3. If you have Verizon or Comcast, if you go to the customer support screens on your TV, you can find the password.
  2. Capitalization matters for wifi passwords! And look out for the letter "O"s that look like the number "0"s. Numbers are usually thinner than letters or the numbers could have a slash through them.



Log in with the Amazon account that you want the device to be connected to. (As a caregiver, if you use your account, you can "see" what your care partner asks for when interacting with Alexa if you look on the Alexa app. Also, if you have a prime account, your care partner will have access to your Prime music offerings and free Prime Audible offerings.)



  1. Go into the Amazon Alexa app, go to Settings, and then choose "Set Up New Device."
  2. Follow the instructions to connect the device and your wifiand put in the wifi password so the Amazon Alexa device has permission to use the wifi. You may have to go into your phone wifi settings and "choose" the Amazon device to give it access first.



  1. Decide whether you want to download contacts. (Please note that if you do download contacts, it downloads ALL the contacts from your phone. You can use the intercom "drop in" function and use Alexa to talk between two devices that are connected on the same Amazon account without downloading contacts. You can also change this later.)
  2. Change the name of the Alexa device. (You can change it to Mom, or bedroom, or office, or your name, whatever makes sense.) You do this by choosing the device that you just set up in Settings.
  3. Change the physical mailing address of the device to the address of where the device resides. (Good for weather.)
  4. Set up a pin code so people can't order Amazon items just by asking.



  1. Start practicing and having fun!
  2. Start all commands with "Alexa."
  3. If she doesn't do what you ask, say "Alexa, stop."

What the Echo buttons mean.

(Video coming soon.)

Here is a schematic of what the buttons mean on the Echo Dot.

Echo Dot schematic of the buttons.

The plus and minus buttons increase and decrease the volume.

(You can also say, Alexa:

  • volume up, volume down,
  • volume 10, volume 2

to increase and decrease the volume.)

The button with the microphone turns the microphone off and on. In other words, if you don't want Alexa to hear you, then you turn off the microphone. (If you do, there will be a red ring so you know that she can't take input.)

The action button, the small dot, enables Wi-Fi set up mode after you press and hold until the light turns orange. You can also turn off a timer or alarm, but you can also just say, "Alexa, stop" to turn off anything.

The Light Ring flashes different colors. I'll just focus on the important colors right now:

Light Ring Explanation
Light Ring Status Description
Solid blue with spinning cyan lights The device is starting up.
All lights off The device is active and waiting for your request.
Solid blue with cyan pointing in direction of person speaking Alexa is busy processing your request.
Solid red light You have turned off the microphones on your device. Press the Microphone button to turn on the microphones.
White light You are adjusting the volume level on your device.
Pulsing yellow light A message or notification is waiting for you. Say, "Play my messages" or "What did I miss?" To learn more go to About Alexa Messaging.
Pulsing green light You are receiving a call or Drop In on your device. To learn more go to Answer or Ignore Calls on Your Echo Device.


The Micro usb port is where you connect the power plug.

The Aux audio output is where you can plug in a speaker. (Or you can use a modern bluetooth speaker or a bluetooth cable to hook up to an older stereo system to get more sound. We will have a separate post on audio.)



What you need to set up Alexa

There are a few basic things you need to hook up an Alexa device.

(Please note that there are lots of devices that "house" Alexa. Alexa is the genie in the bottle, the companion, the sidekick, the fairy, the artificial intelligence "inside" the device.)

The most inexpensive Echo device is the Dot.

The difference between the Echo Dot and the other devices that are currently available is that:

  • the Dot doesn't have a powerful speaker system inside the device, although it can connect to a powerful speaker system, which we have done for some consumers. I connect to an old 1990's surround sound speaker system in my own home.
  • the Dot doesn't have a screen like the Echo Show or Echo Spot. If you want to see what Alexa says in written form, you can look on your smart phone, your tablet, or a computer to read or see pictures of what Alexa shows you rather than seeing it right on the Echo Show - Black or Echo Spot - White .

To hook up ANY Alexa Device*, you need:

  • A device (in this case, a Dot, a Dot houses Alexa)
  • Wi-Fi 
  • Your Wi-Fi network name (and your Wi-Fi password)
  • Access to the Alexa App (a smart phone, tablet, OR a computer) (and your password to the Google Play Store or the Apple Store to download the app for your tablet or smart phone.)
  • Power
  • An Amazon account (can be a free account) (and your Amazon password)


Filling out this form and saving it (or taking a picture on your phone where you will always have it)  will help immensely when you are setting up an Alexa. I also have a printable PDF Alexa password form that you can open, fill out on your computer, and then save. You can also click the picture to download the fillable pdf.

We'll have a later post on how you can find this information if you don't know how to get it.

Picture of a pdf fillable form for passwords.

If you didn't get your device from us but got it as a gift, please be aware that when the person purchased it from Amazon, if they didn't say it was a gift, then the device may be tied to the original purchaser's account. If it is, then the original purchaser must go into their Amazon account and "release" that device so it can be hooked up to your Amazon account.

If you have any questions, please feel free to post in the comments.

(*Disclaimer: Shopping links are provided by Amazon, which makes it easy to see the type of product that we are talking about. Clicking any of the links will take you to Amazon. Please note that the Caregiver Program collects fees from Amazon for referring users if they purchase there. We use 100% of these fees to fund our Caregiver Program, including this website and our caregiver apps. You also can purchase any of these products at local shops as well.)